Fog, The (1980)

Fog, The (1980)

“There’s something in the fog!”

As a small coastal town celebrates its 100th birthday, a killer fog rolls in which contains the ghosts of vengeful sailors.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ghosts
  • Horror
  • Janet Leigh Films
  • John Carpenter Films
  • Radio
  • Revenge

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that the “first half” of this horror flick — about a “mysterious fog [which] rolls in” to “a small seaside town… contain[ing] the ghosts of the sailors for whose murders the town was founded” — is “terrifically atmospheric, at times almost poetic”. He points out that writer-director John Carpenter “deftly juxtaposes several storylines… and presents several characters we care for”. However, he argues that while “Carpenter builds the suspense to a high level”, the film eventually “deteriorates into conventional and too brutal horror fare”. Nonetheless, the rolling fog of the film is effectively spooky, and thus makes it enjoyable to watch from a purely cinematic perspective.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Adrienne Barbeau as the “cool-talking deejay” who tries to warn the town through her radio messages
  • Effectively eerie cinematography

Must See?
Yes, once, simply to see Carpenter’s follow-up to his wildly successful debut film Halloween (1978).


  • Important Director


One thought on “Fog, The (1980)

  1. I’ll concede this made-for-popcorn-munching ghost story is often “effectively spooky” and “enjoyable to watch from a cinematic perspective”. Which is why I’ll go with a once-and-done must. However, on a second viewing, its sillier aspect becomes apparent.

    The story follows a simple rule – so you basically know where it has to go. But co-writer/director Carpenter is not all that interested in the people populating his script, so we don’t get much depth in that area.

    We get a tense opener.

    We get some sprightly dialogue:

    “She’s crazy; there’s no fog bank out there. …’Fog bank out there.’ …Hey, there’s a fog bank out there.”

    “Sandy, you’re the only person I know who can make ‘Yes, ma’am’ sound like ‘Screw you.'”

    I also like when Janet Leigh speaks to the entire town – which seems all of 40 people: “We have a vital, thriving community…” (…OK.)

    Carpenter relies on some old scare tactics, but one of the hokiest of set-ups results in one of the film’s best moments.

    We also get very menacing use of fog (always a plus for a film called ‘The Fog’) which serves the climax well. The actual ending (imo) is, though effective, something of a cheat. But, as a once-and-done, you may not notice.

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