HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Piranhas
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
   
 
Newest Articles
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
   
 
  Fog, The Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside
Year: 1980
Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Nancy Loomis, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Ty Mitchell, George 'Buck' Flower, John Houseman
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: It's five minutes to midnight... there's still time for one more story. What about the one where a whole community was menaced by something strange that rolled in from far out on the ocean? The small seaside town of Antonio Bay was celebrating its centenary, but at the stroke of midnight on that fateful day, strange things start to happen, like car alarms going off or clocks stopping - even windows shattering for no apparent reason. And as the day draws on, a bank of glowing fog creeps in from the sea, spelling doom for the town's inhabitants...

Nothing to do with the James Herbert novel of a few years previous which featured a toxic airborne event borne of a leak at a top secret testing facility that turned everyone murderous, the 1980 The Fog was written by director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill. Basically a zombie movie dressed up as a ghost story of the sort that Carpenter admired as a fan of classic horror literature, it features the return of a long dead leper colony whose ship was guided to destruction on the rocks off the coast of Antonio Bay - they are now looking for revenge on the descendants of the townsfolk who sent them to their death.

After revitalising genres in the late nineteen-seventies with groundbreaking slasher Halloween, and before that wacky science fictionDark Star and siege thriller Assault on Precinct 13 (which was not dissimilar to The Fog in places), Carpenter's next film may have looked like a disappointment, even ordinary, compared to those previous heights. It takes a long time for anything much to happen, and you find yourself way ahead of the characters as far as the story goes, especially local minister Hal Holbrook who pores through old documents assembling the backstory, though you could argue you don't settle down with a chiller called The Fog without being at least halfway aware of what you were letting yourself in for.

If the plot is unimaginative, even surprisingly basic verging on the hokey, compensation can be found in the handling. The eerie atmosphere is nicely sustained, what with that fog rolling off the ocean into the town in menacing fashion (the budget for dry ice must have been astronomical), carrying the undead armed with hooks, swords and scythes, though we never get a good look at them otherwise, a neat touch of visual mystery. Dean Cundey's photography was superb, one of his finest exercises with picturesque, windswept landscapes bordering the coastline and deep shadows for the villains to emerge from creating a sense of a chilly smalltown under threat from something that genuinely feels beyond the limits of their control.

Carpenter cuts skillfully between his dependable cast, although Adrienne Barbeau, supposedly the star, doesn't do much but sit on her lonesome in her lighthouse radio station while broadcasting warnings - it's everyone else who does the hard work of figuring out how to beat the supernatural attackers. And why isn't she wearing headphones if she's a DJ? And why doesn't she play anything slightly recognisable? Presumably listeners were tuning in for the company of her late night smoky voice. Anyway, The Fog is well enough made, but feels insubsantial and oddly bloodless - despite extensive reshoots imposed by the studio on Carpenter and Hill to extend the originally too-skimpy running time and make it more aggressive in its scares, we never saw a single drop of the red stuff, which lends the proceedings a curiously artificial mood in themselves. Not to its detriment, exactly, but it was not quite of a piece with its contemporaries in this mini-Golden age for horror. Mind you, compared to the 2005 remake, this looked like a real gem of rare quality. Music by Carpenter himself, as expected.

[The two-disk special edition DVD features an audio commentary by Carpenter and producer Debra Hill which goes into detail about how they basically had to shoot the film twice, two documentaries - one new and one vintage, amusing outtakes and more.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 8849 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Carpenter  (1948 - )

Skillful American writer-director of supense movies, often in the science fiction or horror genres. Comedy Dark Star and thriller Assault on Precinct 13 were low budget favourites, but mega-hit Halloween kick-started the slasher boom and Carpenter never looked back.

The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, the underrated Christine, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live and Prince of Darkness all gained cult standing, but his movies from the nineties onwards have been disappointing: Escape from L.A., Vampires and Ghosts of Mars all sound better than they really are, although The Ward was a fair attempt at a return, if not widely seen. Has a habit of putting his name in the title. In 2018, after branching off into music, he returned to produce another Halloween sequel. He should direct a western sometime.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: