Well, if you guessed “The Fog” as the answer to the quiz in my previous post, then you’re right. Congrats to those who knew the answer. You certainly know your horror films!
Oddly, I’m not a big horror movie fan. Even though I enjoy writing in the horror and mystery genres, when it comes to film my personal movie collection is heavy with science fiction, fantasy, adventure and comedy rather than horror. But, The Fog is one of my all time favorite horror movies (the original 1980 film directed by John Carpenter). The plot is simple, yet effective and harkens back to a nostalgic time of storytelling when ghost stories didn’t have to be gory or excessively violent to be frightening. Sure, there is some violence in the film, but it isn’t very bloody or overt like many of the horror films and TV shows of today. Although, the film is loaded with lots of “shocks” and “stingers” that definitely get your attention. They are the kind of scares that happen really quick, that make you scream or jump, and then make you laugh at yourself afterward. I won’t go into detail about the story because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone reading this who has never seen the film before. I will mention, though, that it inspires me and encourages me to write scary stories that emphasize the old cliché, “Less is more.”
The Fog is pretty tame by current standards. After all, it’s almost forty years old! If you prefer your horror served up with gratuitous amounts of blood, gore and sex, then The Fog may not be for you. However, if you enjoy clever, old school, spooky, sit-around-the-campfire ghost stories, then you might find it entertaining. It’s a fun film to watch while curled up on the sofa with your favorite snack.
There are also a couple of personal reasons why I like The Fog. I was a radio DJ/announcer for a few years when I lived in Louisiana, and briefly when I later lived in Florida. So, the “Stevie Wayne” connection is something I can relate to. Stevie Wayne is basically the main character of the film. She is portrayed by Adrienne Barbeau. She’s a single mom raising her son in a sleepy, yet somewhat charming little seaside town (Antonio Bay, California). Stevie recently bought a radio station atop the town lighthouse that overlooks the Pacific. A good portion of the film takes place in and around the lighthouse/radio station. I can relate to the tasks and responsibilities that Stevie has to contend with like the ever watchful and unforgiving demands of the clock, and time, that dictate a DJ’s every move and word while “on the air.”
Another personal connection I have with the film is the fact that I also lived in a small town in Florida on the ocean (Atlantic) that has a lighthouse. In fact, for a very brief time, I even worked at that town’s local radio station, but unlike the movie, the station where I worked was not atop the town lighthouse. Having been born and raised in southeast Louisiana, into a recreational fishing and boating family, I’m fond of nautical and maritime themes. Perhaps that’s another reason why The Fog appeals to me.
As for the cast, everyone does a great job. The foreboding sense of dread is always present in the film and the cast does justice to this, each in their own way. The movie has several film veterans like Janet Leigh (of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” fame), who also acts alongside her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, in the film. The Fog was filmed early on in Curtis’ career, but just after her famous performance in “Halloween” (also directed by John Carpenter). Hal Holbrook portrays “Father Malone,” the emotionally tortured priest who is the first to discover Antonio Bay’s one hundred year old dark secret. Holbrook does a fabulous job and carries a lot of the film’s mood throughout. John Houseman rounds out the veteran cast with a creepy, but fun, cameo at the beginning of the film as he gives us the back story.
Tom Atkins does well as one of the local sailors in the “leading man” role. The scene where he tells a story from his childhood to Jamie Leigh Curtis aboard the Seagrass is particularly chilling.
I can’t forget to mention the music and score of the film. As with all John Carpenter films, the music is front and center. Carpenter scored the film himself, which is something he’s known for. The music is beautiful and truly haunting, no pun intended, and it fits the theme of the film perfectly. It’s not overstated and doesn’t take away from the film. It merely adds that extra sense of foreboding and creepiness at the right moments.
The Fog was rated “R” when released in theaters in 1980. I was too young to see it at the time, but when I finally was able to see it, it certainly left its impression upon me. Even after all these years, it still entertains me. If you’re looking for a scary, fun and not overly violent horror film/ghost story, then I highly recommend The Fog. Watch it with the lights out, if you’re brave enough!
I would like to thank everyone who follows and reads my blog. I welcome your comments and feedback.
So the next time you see a misty fog lurking around the hills or mountainside, or if you see it gliding in from the ocean…..look out, there just might be something in it! “Look for The Fog!”