31 Days of Horror Movies: The Fog (1980) - Mania.com

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  • Rated: R
  • Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins, John Houseman, Hal Holbrook
  • Written By: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
  • Directed By: John Carpenter
  • Genre: Ghost Story
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Series:

31 Days of Horror Movies: The Fog (1980)

Day 5

By Robert T. Trate     October 05, 2013
Source: Mania.com

The Fog (1980)
© MGM Home Entertainment
Halloween is a special time. It is the one time of year when everyone gives of themselves. What they give can be anything from candy to a scare. We thought this October, we here at Mania would give you 31 Horror Films for the 31 days of October. Now, many of you will know these films. Some of you, may not. Get ready for 31 days of Horror Films that will run gauntlet from scary to campy, from horrific to down right ridiculous. Happy Halloween from Mania!

The Fog (1980), starring Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, and directed by John Carpenter (The Thing) was one of those horror films that Ted Turner reran the hell out of.  I am not sure why it is rated R.  There is no nudity, swearing, or blood. Maybe people getting whacked with meat hooks is enough for an R rating?   

Anyway, The Fog starts with a campfire ghost story told by the immortal John Houseman. It deals with a town, Antonio Bay, that double crosses a few lepers, who were just looking for a peaceful off shore island, and then steals all their gold.  The town’s people do a few other nasty things to these unfortunate souls, but one hundred years later, these Lepers return to take revenge on the town’s decedents.

This is a “less is more” movie.  The fog, itself, is creepy. Plus, it is how these ghastly killers travel.  So their faces and bodies are always distorted or covered, leaving your imagination to fill in the gaps, thus creating a horrific image in your own mind, this technique is now long since forgotten. Today audiences want to see the monsters and Hollywood wants to show off how much money they spent. In my opinion, it makes for a better movie, the “less is more” technique. More often than not, your imagination is better than what some make-up can make real.

The music is incredible. John Carpenter is one of the few directors who has scored his own movies.  His themes for Halloween (1978) are world renown, but it is The Fog’s music that might be, by far, his greatest piece of music.  It sets a tone for the movie and keeps a pace that is relentless and unforgiving.

This film was introduced to me several years ago via a friend, a friend who actually dressed up like Captain Blake, The Fog’s main bad guy, for Halloween. Kudos to my friend for the great recommendation. Now, turn off all the lights and sit down and be scared by The Fog.

Historical side note:  this is the first time that Jamie Lee Curtis appeared with her scream queen mother Janet Leigh (Psycho) in a film. They would later co-star in Halloween H20.

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slayerfaith 10/5/2013 6:32:45 AM

 This has been my most favorite film since I was 15 years old. I am now 36 and it remains a cult classic for me. I loved the spooky feel and its really an awesome Halloween flick to watch on a crisp Saturday afternoon along with a medley of other classics. 

blankczech 10/5/2013 8:05:28 AM

Strange but I've never seen The Fog.  I thought I saw it but when I read you're review I realized I haven't.  I was confusing it with The Mist.  Your review certainly makes it sound interesting...I'll see if I can stream it on Netflix or Amazon.

mellowdoux 10/5/2013 7:31:21 PM

 One of the all time greats. For some reason I enjoy this at Christmas time too. Maybe because it's a good chiller of a ghost story.

A word to the wise... avoid the 2005 remake. It's beyond wretched.


MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 10/5/2013 10:22:31 PM

 I think the less is more technique is better is BS. It's not like that was their intentions. It's just that the SFX were crappy. They'd have shown more if could. I feel the same way about people saying the less they know about a villain the better or scarier.

redhairs99 10/7/2013 8:52:35 AM

Bob, my guess for the R rating was because it was 1980.  They didn't have PG-13, so it was probably too much of the "scary" for PG, so they had to give it an R.  That's my guess anyway.

RobertTrate 10/7/2013 11:41:18 AM

 True Redhairs... did you know the Wizard of OZ now has a PG rating?

redhairs99 10/7/2013 12:48:35 PM

Missed that bit of news, Bob.  That's just dumb.  You shouldn't be able to go back and re-rate movie.  Okay, I could see re-rating something from NC-17 to R or maybe even R to PG-13, but don't think it's really necessary.  Honestly though, I don't really see much difference between G and PG.  Can't even remember the last time I saw a movie being advertised as G.

And of course, we know that the ratings really don't seem to matter.  If you have a cartoon or a movie about a talking teddy bear and things like that, parents think it's okay to take the kids too despite the R rating.



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