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The Fog (1980)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Special Edition)
Movie Connections:
The Fog
> The Fog (1980)
> The Fog (2005)
Genres:
Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
John Carpenter John Carpenter
Starring:
Adrienne Barbeau Adrienne Barbeau
Jamie Lee Curtis Jamie Lee Curtis
Janet Leigh Janet Leigh
John Houseman John Houseman
Tom Atkins Tom Atkins

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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As the centennial of the small town of Antonio Bay, California approaches, paranormal activity begins to occur at midnight. 100 years ago, the wealthy leper Blake bought the clipper ship Elizabeth Dane and sailed with his people to form a leper colony. However, while sailing through a thick fog, they were deliberately misguided by a campfire onshore, steering the course of the ship toward the light and crashing it against the rocks. While the town's residents prepare to celebrate, the victims of this heinous crime that the town's founders committed rise from the sea to claim retribution. Under cover of the ominous glowing fog, they carry out their vicious attacks, searching for what is rightly theirs. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: July 21, 2004
We start out seeing Mr. Machen, an old sea-captain, telling a ghost story to some kids around a campfire. He tells the story of the Elizabeth Dane, a ship which crashed due to a large amount of fog and a misplaced campfire which the crew erroneously thought was a lighthouse. This all happened one hundred years ago on April 21st, and according to local legend, the people who died that night will return to Antonio Bay when the fog rolls back in, in search of the people who had that campfire going that cost them their lives. Meanwhile, Nick Castle is driving down the back roads of the town when he spots a hitchhiker named Elizabeth Solley. He picks her up and they do a bit of conversating, when suddenly, all of the windows on his truck shatter. We then see some other things around town, and similar things are happening everywhere. The recent events aren't helped much by the fact that Stevie Wayne, the DJ of the local radio station, has just reported that a huge fog bank is headed towards the town...

There's a lot of mixed feelings on this movie amongst horror fans. Some claim it to be one of the better films in the genre, while others tend to hate it. I happen to fall in the middle of that debate; this movie wasn't one of the classics by far, but it certainly wasn't as wretched as some may have you believe. The main problem with this movie wasn't the storyline, as that was rock-solid and was quite interesting; no sir, the problem here was the pacing of the film. The first hour of the film is spent telling all of the back story and what happened to cause all this. Now, I'm not one to piss and moan about a storyline taking time to be presented, especially when it's as good as this one, but things were drug out far too much. They could have had the entire storyline covered in a quarter of the time it took onscreen, but it seemed as though they were just trying to kill time to hit the obligatory ninety minute mark. Hell, I would have even settled for some mindless killing thrown in to keep things interesting, but that was slacked on as well; we get a grand total of two back-to-back kills in the entire first hour. When the kills do start to happen, we get absolutely zero bloodshed. None, at all. Anywhere. The deceased all meet their fate with various stabbing / slicing methods, but not a drop of blood is to be found anywhere. That certainly was a bit disappointing.

<Spoiler>
Also, a chunk of the storyline that was presented here made no sense in the grand scheme of the film. One of the seamen (those jokes are older than dirt, save it) that was killed on the boat is shown on an operating table, with a doctor and Nick trying to figure up how he met his death. The dead man then gets up and tries to kill Elizabeth, but falls to the ground when she screams. How was he able to get up and walk around after being killed? Does being killed by the ghosts / zombies / creatures turn the victims into zombies as well? Why didn't anyone else get hit with the zombie syndrome? This definitely should have either been explained better, shown more often, or dropped from the script. Showing one scene with it and having the witnessing cast seem unphased by it and then not mentioning it again for the rest of the film seemed a bit stupid, in my opinion.
</Spoiler>

The cast involved with this film were great in their roles for the most part, though there's only so much that good acting can do when the storyline itself is being stretched as tight as it was here. Tom Atkins plays Nick, and does decent enough in his co-leading-role as the local hero. Adrienne Barbeau (DJ Stevie Wayne) is great in her role, though the only thing she does is sit in a lighthouse talking on the radio and phone. While this made sense with the way her character was presented, she definitely should have had more of an active role in things. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Elizabeth, the hitchhiker that Nick picks up in the beginning of the film. She's not flat-out bad in her role here, but she just seemed out of place... almost as if she was drugged up or drunk for the majority of her scenes with no sense of what she was doing. This obviously wasn't the case, as she did deliver her lines fine enough, but she just seemed out of it with her actions and expressions. Someone else could have definitely done a better job with that role.

Overall, some good story is presented here, and the cast do their best with the material... but things just move too slowly to be entertaining, in my view. Maybe if this had been cut down to forty-five minutes or so, things would have been better... but alas, that's not how it worked out. 4/10.
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