Back in the day before we had Blockbuster, I remember going into my local
video store and seeing John Carpenter's The Fog on display. Being that I was still a child, I didn't eventually see the film until many years later, and whilst I remembered the basic plot and the fact that I had been scared, I decided to watch the film again recently and I have to say I was genuinely unsettled.
The film is set in the sleepy little coastal town of Antonio Bay, where
nothing ever happens, that is until the eve of the town's centenary when things begin to get a little bit spooky, culminating in a night of carnage as the residents celebrate their town's birthday.
The excellent cast of genre favourites including Jamie lee Curtis, Janet
Leigh, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, Charles Cyphers and Nancy Loomis must work together to solve the mystery of the strange fog that has been appearing since the church bells rang on the eve of Antonio Bay's centenary. However their biggest threat is the ghostly figures that appear with the fog. Who are these people, and what could they possibly want from the residents of the town?
Whilst not as blatantly terrifying as Halloween, The Fog relies on chills
rather than thrills to spook it's audience, as once again the master of suspense (other than Hitchcock of course) creates a wonderfully chilling atmosphere and has fun playing with shadows and light to achieve a few frights, which are highlighted by Carpenter's wonderful score.
It still amazes me that Carpenter can re-use so many old tricks of the
genre and provide treats. At least of the main scares are variations on the best scares in Halloween.
Also interesting to note is the fact that whilst The Fog is not as highly
regarded as Halloween, It appears to have influenced such films as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, Darkness Falls and the recent Wrong Turn.
If you like Scream type slashers then you may not like this as the film relies heavily on mood and atmosphere to create terror, and therefore this film delivers when you the audience create mood and atmosphere. Wait until midnight, close the curtains, light some candles and watch it alone to achieve the best results. In all I recommend that you check this one out again as it is severly neglected by fans and critics alike.