The Fog (1980)

the fog poster 1980 movie john carpenter jamie lee curtis
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good concept, nice looking, fun cast

Not a fan of the ending

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Fog

Studio:  AVCO Embassy Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  February 1, 1980

MPAA Rating:  R

the fog ghost pirate hd

Don’t worry…everything is ok

Antonio Bay is about to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of its founding.  The founders of Antonio Bay however hid a secret that could come back to destroy it.  When Father Malone (Hal Holbrook) uncovers this secret, he realizes that Antonio Bay’s history is a fraud.  As a hitchhiker named Elizabeth Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis) and a local named Nick Castle (Tom Atkins) begin to realize that something is wrong when the crew of a fishing boat are found dead, DJ Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau) is also uncovering part of the mystery.  Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh) tries to organize the whole centennial celebration…but the fog is coming and there is something in it.

Directed by John Carpenter as his big-screen follow-up to the wildly successful Halloween, The Fog was met with mixed reviews but has since become a cult classic.  The movie was tapped for a remake in 2005 which was universally panned by critics and fans.

the fog 1980 adrianne barbeau dj

I’m not going to relax you this evening

I was actually excited when The Fog remake was announced because I like The Fog, but always felt something was missing…the remake was a bust, but I still feel that way about the original film.  The idea of The Fog is great…if you’ve ever been caught in a big fog bank (especially an ocean fog bank) there easily could be something right in front of you and you’d never know it.  To me, the pirate-leper tie is also interesting, but the story feels like it could be pushed a bit further.

There are some great tense moments in The Fog and a great cast to experience it.  The boy trapped in the house and Adrienne Barbeau desperately clinging to the rooftop of the lighthouse come to mind.  The reason is Carpenter does a great job with the direction of the film.  He shoots The Fog with style and what scares the movie does have probably can be contributed to that….but there aren’t enough of the tense moments.  Ghost stories often aren’t a jump a minute, but The Fog needs more jumps.

The ending of The Fog is also a build-up for nothing.  Yes, the Adrienne Barbeau part is tense, but the whole church segment is a waste.  The characters all drive from the fog for about fifteen minutes, but then just hide in a room, present a giant cross, and it is essentially over.  The last minute jump isn’t very shocking or surprising, and it doesn’t help that it feels the story needs more.

the fog 1980 ending hal holbrook ghost pirate

They’re coming for you!

The cast and the visuals do help the movie.  The style of the fog rolling in and the realization that it was done pre-computers is a token of success for Carpenter’s film.  Add to the movie a number of scream queens (Adrianne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Curtis’s mother Janet Leigh), plus solid actors like Tom Atkins, John Houseman, and Hal Holbrook, and you have a good combination.

The Fog despite its flaws is a watchable movie.  It just has a nice style to it that almost makes you forget the story (almost…not quite).  Take The Fog for what it is…a creepy ghost story that isn’t scary enough.  There is a bit of a fun precursor to John Carpenter’s future in Barbeau’s warning at the end of the film, she tells the sailors to watch for the fog…which echoes The Thing from Another WorldThe Thing from Another World was remade as The Thing by Carpenter in 1982.

Related Links:

The Fog (2005)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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