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  • Gareth Crook

The Fog (1980) - 8/10

The Fog begins with campfire ghost stories about fog stricken shipwrecks. Telling of spirits that return whenever the fog returns to Antonio Bay. That’s where we are, in small town coastal America. It’s the 100 year anniversary of the town and things right away are getting weird. Wine loving Father Malone (Hal Holbrook) finding his grandfathers prophetic diary, pay-phones ringing in the dead of night, gas pumping itself, general eerie poltergeist behaviour. New in town is hitchhiker Elizabeth (Jamie Lee Curtis), who gets an eerie welcome too. So far, so spooky. Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau) is the voice of Antonio Bay. She’s the AM radio host broadcasting from a lighthouse who we hear throughout The Fog.  Despite the big names in this film, she’s what I remember from this, having first watched it some 30 years ago. It’s not a comedy, but it’s not without its comic moments, which maybe make it a better rounded film than most of this genre in this era. It’s brilliantly put together too, with pretty much perfect pacing and a thrifty runtime meaning it never misses a beat. The first to encounter The Fog are a bunch of drunken day sailors just off the coast, who come to a grizzly end. It’s a brave move to show your cards so soon. John Carpenter knows what he’s doing though. His trademarks are all over this, including a haunting signature score. The boat and its passengers soon missed, everyone’s on the look out. From Jamie Lee Curtis’ mum, Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh), the local community organiser who pays a visit to Father Malone, to the guy Elizabeth’s hooked up with, Nick (Tom Atkins). They’re slowly piecing a weird story together, the exposition is solid… but it’s unbelievable. Leprosy riddled ghosts exacting revenge on a town founded by its murderers. The Fog is a much more visceral film than I recall. It’s not terrifying, but it’s a gripping thriller with some genuinely fun and creepy scenes. Plus the fog looks cool. I’m not usually a fan of horror that deals with the supernatural, but The Fog is a brilliant example of how to do it right.



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