Wherein I attempt to watch 31 horror films over the course of October. 31 horror films that I have never seen before, from obscure to acclaimed classics. We'll see how well I go in actually finding the time to watch and then write about them in some way.
When finding films to watch this October, I scoured some friends' collections (as well as my own - a former habit of buying stuff sight unseen finally comes in handy!) and public libraries for some doozy titles. Along the way I became frightfully disappointed in myself that it had taken me so long to see some of these films (one upcoming title, however, I have deliberately been putting off, but I think maybe the time has come for it). In the case of The Fog I was triply upset with myself since a) I love Halloween, b) I've heard a lot of great things about it, and c) while I'd never seen the original I had in fact seen the dreadful remake from a few years back. I don't remember anything from it other that its complete awfulness and that it starred... I'm going to say Tom Welling, but I may be wrong.
Okay, a quick bit of research informs me that it was indeed Tom Welling. More research informs me that it was a disappointingly shirt-covered Tom Welling at that. What a jip.
The story is particularly silly, but novel. Coming on the heals of the streamlined Halloween, The Fog actually does still feel like it's come from the mind of the same man. His way with a widescreen camera at the time for this genre was rather genius and gives the film such a grand scope when it otherwise mightn't have really warranted it. As a result, the beachside locals are gloriously filmed and I particularly adored that one shot of the lighthouse that I like to call a "Reverse Psycho" (below). Those opening shots - that seemingly go on for minutes - of the Californian coastal town of Antonio Bay look fabulous and do a wonderful job of setting up the story of a town that would justifiably be terrified of a rolling fog and who would spend their evenings listening to music that is best described as "smooth jazz muzak".
The original trailer doesn't make anything of a fuss about the film starring both Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh (something receated nearly 20 years later in Halloween H20), but I think it's pretty nifty. Curtis doesn't particularly do much, although hearing that famous scream again is wild, but Leigh is actually very impressive as a townslady intent on honouring a pack of murderous "patriots". Most impressive of all though is certainly Adrienne Barbeau as Stevie Wayne, Antonio Bay's answer to Rick Dees. She's a single mother (unexplained, thankfully, apart from a very minor reference to Antonio Bay being "better than Chicago") who uses her cosy radio-station-in-a-lighthouse set up to help her adopted town and especially her son. Although she foolishly sends the principal characters right up to the church on the edge of town where the fog is quite obviously heading. Silly Stevie!
The Fog is certainly fun, and it has a fairly constant chilly vibe, although it is rarely SCARY in the way that, say, Halloween was and is, despite how many times I watch it. Several scenes have a palpable sense of dread, and the leprous ghost pirates look nifty so I consider it a big win. B+