Often a very underrated Carpenter flick The Fog was the first movie he made after the huge success of Halloween. Most horror fans were still screaming for a Myers sequel ( how times change huh? ) but instead got a ghost revenge story. Thus the first nail In The Fogs coffin was set before it was even released. Why? Because no matter what Carpenter pumped out after Halloween was inevitably going to be compared to it. How do you live up to a movie as good as Halloween. Easy you make a better one, unfortunately The Fog was not and Carpenter living in Mikes shadow till the released of The Thing which really set him apart from other horror director.
So lets take a look at the plot shall we. Antonio Bay is a scenic little town on the coast, which not unlike many horror movies small towns seems to be the most mind numbing place on earth to live. However the town does have a dark past. It seems that 100 years ago there was a bit of a disagreement over the placement of a lepers colony. The town people were non to happy to hear that a bunch of Michael Jackson look-alikes were moving in next door and sought to remedy things In their own way. Using a false beacon they signal the leper ship into the bay where it crashes on the rocks and sinks, killing all on board. As if this wasn’t bad enough the towns people then stole all the ships gold and used it to found.….you guessed it the town itself. Now 100 years later the lepers are back and man are they PISSED!!!
The Fog is no different really from any other ghost/pirate movie, but it’s the little things that John adds in that makes it seem original. However its not all good, remember we are dealing with a young John Carpenter at this time and he is still trying out new stuff to do in his direction. In this movie for some reason he though it would be a bad idea to focus on any one character as a main. So he tends to jump back and forth constantly between the radio station DJ and Jamie Lee and her man Tom Atkins. It does get annoying around the middle of the movie because there is still no set led in the cast. Thus making it difficult for the audience to actually care about any of them.
Aside from the totally lack of character substance as a result of Johns scene hopping the cast actually come across as quite professional and do a good job. Along side Jamie Lee also returning from Halloween are Charles Cyphers and Nancy Loomis, throw in the first real scream queen in Janet Leigh and you have a pretty decent work force. Ever notice how Carpenter stays loyal to his cast members from previous movies.
The film flows nicely with only a few slow moving parts, as with all of his early films the script, score and cinematography is top notch. Turning a standard ghost story into a little gem. Also for the first time Carpenter went liberal on the gore front. Making up where he felt that Halloween lacked. Gone are the bloodless quick stab cut away deaths we saw in Halloween. In come the long writhing hook stabbings, sickle chopping and even an eyeball popping. The new age mutants will love it if they see the uncut version.
So what makes The Fog stand out as a great horror movie. Nothing really it just all fits well together and is ever so slightly different from other ghost movies to make it refreshing. Good cast, solid acting, great score, some awesome camera work and a young and still hungry John Carpenter earns this movie a solid and definitely recommended. 7 out of 10.