Directed and Co-Written by John Carpenter
The quiet coastal town of Antonio Bay confronts its dark past 100 years to the day as a mysterious fog rolls in and dark forces begin to exact revenge.
The legendary opening narration by the Mr. Machen (John Houseman) helps to lift up the movie. Originally not part of the movie, it was added after Carpenter realized what he had just did not work. And it was a good decision on his part. That scene just sets the tone for everything to come by opening the film with creepiness and a vibe of fear.
There are lots of good actors to be found here. Aside from Houseman there is Adrienne Barbeau (DJ Stevie Wayne), Jamie Lee Curtis (hitchhiker Elizabeth Solley), Hal Holbrook (Father Malone) and Janet Leigh of Psycho fame (Kathy Williams).
The kills we see in the movie are in my opinion a softer version of what you find in your standard 70s slasher film or 80s horror excursion. It’s where Carpenter made his mark, so I guess there’s no harm in that.
That truck that Nick (Tom Atkins) drove always kind of bothered me. It was way too noisy and bouncy for that smooth road. Either that truck had enough problems that it should never have been on the road or when they were focused on inside the vehicle it was going over some of the worst paved roadway in North America.
Why is Father Malone an alcoholic? You get the feeling its because he knows the truth but there is no indication that he really does until he reads the book from the church wall. I have seen this movie several times and I am not sure which it is. The diary from the wall reveals that the town celebration will be honoring murderers and that the town was founded by wrecking a ship and robbing a wealthy leprosy-afflicted who wished to found a leper colony nearby. And his ultimate demise was unnecessary. Everything was over. It was just gratuitous and did not serve the story.
Truthfully there is not much story. Spectral fog rolls in and people die. That is it but you are not looking for too much if you watch this movie. You are here for good atmosphere, a few chills and some cool kills. You get all that.
While it has little story it has great atmosphere. It makes you want to watch. Somehow it continually convinces you to see what comes next and what comes next manages to entertain. And Carpenter even at his worst (which IS better than most director’s best) still manages to entertain.
The Fog is not without its flaws and it is one of John Carpenter’s weaker efforts in my opinion. That might be blasphemous to some, but it is my honest opinion here. I think the man is an unappreciated genius, but even a genius has lesser work and I would say this is one of them. Not terrible but not perfect. If you are a fan of Carpenter, you will like it. If you like supernatural movies in general, you might like it. It is not bad, but it is not for everybody.