Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jason revisits John Carpenter's The Fog

What to do on a cool, moonlit night at a cabin on a lake with a roaring fire in the wood stove and waves crashing on the shore? Plug one of the best ghost stories ever put on film into the DVD player, that's what!

A Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over an old leper colony, is the target for revenge by a killer fog containing zombie-like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths. 

It's interesting to note director/co-writer John Carpenter has gone on record as saying the original cut of this film, his follow up to the smash hit Halloween, didn't work. He had to feverishly go back and re-shoot and add scenes to heighten the scares and increase the threat to human life.

Watching it for the bazillionth time, it's hard to place where those scenes are without listening to the audio commentary. The film works, and works well. It's scary and fun stuff with a decent cast, simple story and spooky atmosphere. Every frame justifies its existence as a horror classic. 'Nuff said.

The first act alone, with its chilling sequence where the town is overtaken by poltergeist activity, is one of my all-time favourites. Also a standout is Adrienne Barbeau's standoff with the ghosts on top of her lighthouse-turned-radio station. Hell, there's not one moment in this movie that I don't like. John Houseman telling ghost stories by the campfire? Sign me up!

This is my favourite Carpenter movie after Halloween. And that's saying something given that 80s John Carpenter could do no wrong. It's a Good, and one I enjoy watching once or twice a year without fail. 

PS: The remake is festering dogshit!

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