into the Fog"
Celebrating its centenary, the sleepy town of Antonio Bay
is about to find out the foundations the town was built upon are nothing
like they expected. Father Malone (Holbrook) discovers that the gold used
to build the town was stolen and the men transporting it were murdered.
As the clock ticks onto midnight a glowing fog appears out to sea and starts
heading in land. While this might not sound too unusual, radio station owner
Stevie Wayne (Barbeau) realises that the Fog is moving against the wind.
After the phenomenal success of their first collaboration
Halloween, John Carpenter and Debra Hill return to the horror genre but
this time it is a more ghostly affair.
In what was the start of a run of cult classics in the early
1980s, John Carpenter and his writing partner Debra Hill's second coloration
stayed in the horror genre but took a more supernatural approach than the
masked serial killer that had served them so well in Halloween. The Fog
is an old fashioned ghost story with a gory, blood-curdling touch. At its
base level is a revenge tale that has been festering for 100 years, a legend
that salty old sea dogs regale to kids around the campfire, never expecting
it to be true. What Carpenter and Hill do well is make this old-fashioned
ghost story but also quench the 1980s thirst for gore.
Director John Carpenter had a gift, back in the early 1980s,
of taking a small budget from the studio and producing a movie that looked
like a lot more money had been spent on it. The Fog is another fine example
of this. These movies invented the special effects that would be utilised
for most of the decade, until the emergence of CG and some would argue that
they still look better, if more realistic that a lot of the modern movies.
The sight of the Fog rolling into Antonio Bay is as dramatic now as it was
back in 1980. Makeup effects still look better than any CG created creature.
The killers in the fog are extremely creepy, zombie looking creations by
makeup wizard Rob Bottin who kill anyone that dares to enter rolling mist.
For the budget, the cast is very good and makes situation
all the more believable. Adrienne Barbeau is excellent as local radio host
Stevie Wayne, who witnesses the onslaught of the fog from her studio in
the lighthouse. Broadcasting warnings over the airwaves as her friends and
family meet their grizzly ends, Barbeau says the lines with passion making
the situation all the more dramatic. Jamie Lee Curtis continued to enhance
her scream-queen reputation, reacting as only she could to the horrors happening
around her. The legendary Janet Leigh brings some class to the proceedings
as local major Kathy Williams and Hal Holbrook typifies the priest whose
faith is severely tested by the events unfolding before him.
The Fog is a good, old-fashioned ghost story that looks a
lot better than its limited budget suggested. With some genuine scares,
good performances and excellent special effects, this is a fright fest that
lives up to its cult status.
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital
5.1 surround sound, this digitally remastered transfer is very good. When
you realise that the movie was made in 1980 with a micro budget you will
be surprised how good the picture and sound quality actually are. The picture
is sharp throughout, even as the movie is shot mainly at night. The sound
quality is also very good, with John Carpenter's haunting score echoing
around the room.
Audio Commentary by Director John Carpenter and producer
This informative and chatty commentary reunites the co-writers of the movie
to talk about The Fog. The pair reveals how they had to virtually remake
the movie because the studio wanted to up the gore content and the scares.
They talk about the influences behind the story and how a trip to the UK
inspired John Carpenter to come up with the story. The technical aspects
of the movie are also discussed, like how the fog was produced, Rob Bottin's
makeup effects and his role in the movie and why they had to make the Stevie
Wayne's radio programme a Jazz show. This is a good commentary from the
two people who feel the most passionate about the movie.
Documentary: Tales from the Mist (27.57 mins)
Co-writer/director John Carpenter, co-writer/producer Debra Hill, production
designer/editor Tommy Lee Wallace and stars Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh
and Jamie Lee Curtis (recorded in 1980) talk about bringing The Fog to the
sliver screen. Carpenter and Hill discuss the pressures of following up
the mammoth hit they had with Halloween and how they came up with the story
while visiting Stonehenge in the UK. The secrets behind the movie are revealed
as the cast and crew talk about casting, having a slightly bigger budget,
the special effects techniques employed to create the fog and John Carpenter's
visual style. This is a fascinating insight into small budget filmmaking
back in the 1980s.
Original 1980 Documentary (7.41 mins)
Co-writer/director John Carpenter, co-writer/producer Debra Hill and stars
Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis appear in a promotional
featurette from 1980. Carpenter and Hill reveal their thoughts about what
is really frightening in cinema. Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis talk about
working together. This is a frank and honest look at the movie that is very
different to the usual self-promotion and backslapping we associate with
modern promotional material.
Storyboard to film comparison (1.22 mins)
Your chance to compare "The Ship in the Fog" footage alongside the original
storyboards from the production
Outtakes (4.10 mins)
A montage of clips shows various cast members and crew mucking up their
lines and making fools of themselves. Trailers and Teasers Watch the original
theatrical trailer, two teasers and three TV spots that were used to promote
A collection of behind the scenes and promotional images
A classic, low budget horror flick gets a good DVD treatment
that should make fans come out of the mist. The film is extremely well presented
and is back up by some very good extras. The commentary track is first rate
and documentary is very informative. This is a good example of how a special
edition DVD of a classic low-budget feature should be approached as it will
delight the fans and introduce new viewers to John Carpenter's ghost story.
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