Jessica's March Pick
When I started my full journey into the genre of horror about three years ago, it was the first time I would actually watch a film by John Carpenter. I had always heard about the infamous horror director and the legacy he left with Halloween. But I had yet to actually watch the film, which I ended up doing to rectify that grave mistake. From there, I went down a rabbit hole of watching films by Carpenter and listening to his movie scores. I have pretty much seen almost all of his horror films and it is hard to narrow down to my favourite. However, for this month’s pick, I am choosing to talk about his 1980 film, The Fog.
This film stars some horror regulars such as Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins. It is a supernatural revenge film combined with a ghostly tale of mariners lost in a tragic accident while at sea 100 years ago. Despite the many production issues and negative critical reception upon its release, it was another commercial success for Carpenter after the success of Halloween. Over the years it has garnered a cult following and is considered a minor horror classic. I am talking about the 1980 film, not that tragedy of a remake from 2005.
I have a special place in my heart for this movie. When I am looking for a nice classic ghost scare, The Fog is one of the many films I turn to. It has the perfect atmosphere to set the viewer up in anticipation of the strange events that are to occur that night. The story of the Mariners lost at sea, who return once a year to seek revenge on the town that betrayed them is reminiscent to me of all the old ghost stories I would read in my youth. I would spend hours reading about strange occurrences at old lighthouses and stories from people seeing ghost ships at sea or interacting with the spirit of a sailor on the shore or dock. So when I watch this film and see the lighthouse Stevie Wayne broadcasts her radio show from, rocky shoreline with a mysterious fog rolling in around her, it just brings me back to those days of scaring myself with these type of ghost stories. Memoires like this I hold fondly and I love movies that remind me of those times.
It is interesting to find out that this film almost did not happen. It was shot on a one million dollar budget for two months in Hollywood, California and at various outdoor locations throughout California. However, when it came to viewing the rough cut of the film, Carpenter was quite dissatisfied with the results and refused to subject other people to such a poor quality film. It was also a ghost story film that needed to compete with the more gory and frightening films that were coming out in the 80s. Over one-third of the movie was reshot and had new scenes added to give the film the complete feeling Carpenter was looking for. As well, as for being a film that could stand on its own on its own among the Jason’s and Freddy’s of the 80s.
I am glad that Carpenter decided not to scrape this film and make the additional changes to add to the storyline. Because this is one of my 80’s favourites and a horror classic that has made me appreciate Carpenter’s work in the horror genre.