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The Fog

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John Carpenter's supernatural horror flick is an interesting take on the old fashioned ghost story and concerns the shadowy past of a fictional American Seaside town, Antonio Bay.

The film opens with John Houseman telling ghost stories to a bunch of kids late one night on the beach. The eerie story he relays tells of a terrible mistake involving the community and in particular the lighthouse which had directed a ship to its watery grave.

Enter Jamie Lee Curtis, who hitchhikes into the bay following an opening credit sequence worthy of Carpenter's best, car lights go on and petrol pumps begin flowing with the whole place held in the grip of an evil force dead on 12.00 midnight. From here on in, we are presented with the characters who will make up the terrified and perplexed community...

Adrienne Barbeau is the resident radio DJ who's laconic voice is aired from a remote lighthouse, she updates the weather and notices the malevolent fog bank that rolls in from the ocean. A trawler out at sea listens to her warning, fog envelopes their vessel and once out on deck they witness what appears to be an old ship complete with huge masts and weathered sails... Apparitions appear, and the crew are slaughtered in rather horrifying fashion.

This lays the ground for the rest of the picture with these maritime phantoms taking their revenge on anyone in their path, the blanket of fog always preceding these attacks.

The reason for this remains a relative mystery early on, yet as the story unfolds the motive links a colony of lepers shunned by the townsfolk in years gone past, tragically driven to their deaths via this negligence. A priest played by Hal Holbrook discovers a journal that outlines the injustice, as he reads the pages, the burden of guilt falls on his shoulders, vengeance has arrived in the form of the undead.

The leper pirates led by malevolant frontman Blake, have not only come to spread havoc and gain revenge, they are back for their gold treasure and in the vaults of eventual safe haven, the local church, we see a huge gold cross fall from its crumbling walls. The delivered token has Holbrook believing this a message from God, possibly divine intervention to quell the spirits.

Meanwhile, the chaos continues as the mummified merchants appear, descending on the church and simultaneously closing in on Barbeau in the lighthouse.

When Holbrook confronts the apparition of the neon eyed Blake, the two are illuminated by the glowing cross as an attempt is made to reimburse and repent, the fire icon of the holy artifice acts as the gesture that could end the onslaught and clear the town finally of any guilt thus bringing about the end of the Fog...

Verdict?

Carpenter's horror outings have always been far more enjoyable than other projects (with the exception of Escape from New York), with The Fog he has returned to the shocks that made Halloween an all time classic in Horror movie lore.

This movie has more than enough suspense to go around, with an impressive cast to compliment the trademark style of the director, this is a film that deserves to be seen as among the best of his work.

Jamie Lee Curtis is excellent, as is her mother Janet, a nice touch from Carpenter, bringing together Mother and Daughter, both playing their part here as they did in Halloween and Psycho respectively.

The film works as a Horror picture and remains effective when seen as the retro drive in movie it actually is, almost a B movie of sorts, seemingly out of time but still able to deliver dramatic horror cinema with the right shock at the right time.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Very atmospheric and "jumpy" ghost story.

Weaknesses? Needs to be remastered.

Our rating: 9 out of 10


Review Written by Nik Allen:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Nik Allen
The Fog