Brian’s Review – John Carpenter’s “The Fog” (1980)


Hello, Gang! Here is another older review from my bud, Brian Volke. It has been re-edited and I have added New Images!  Hope you all enjoy it and thanks for checking in on my re-vamped reviews during my hiatus! Thanks for checking into Vic’s Movie Den.

– Vic

What’s it About?

A Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over an ancient leper colony, becomes shrouded by a killer fog containing zombie-like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths.

“The Fog”

Directed by John Carpenter

8 out of 10

By Brian

All of John Carpenter’s best films take simple ideas and he expand upon them by the use of creative and atmospheric worlds and scenarios. Halloween” took a normal neighborhood and made it terrifying, “The Thing” created a sense of gloom within the snow and cold of Antarctica, and The Fog” uses darkness and shadows to create one of my favorite ghost stories ever put to screen. His movies are also more dependent on the setting, suspenseful dynamics and locations than most filmmakers use to create immersive mood.

The opening of the film really sets the stage with the legendary John Houseman telling a scary story around a campfire and then dropping us right into the island where we’ll spend the next 90 minutes. “The Fog” is a classic sleepover ghost story similar to the one we’ve all hear a million times about the murderer coming back for revenge and scratching the car with his hook(ironically, the ghosts have hooks here too).


The script is really simplistic and silly. Supposedly, pirates were screwed over by the Church and now they’re back to re-claim their treasure. Now, before you start to get flashbacks of a Scooby-Doo episode, understand that this is a John Carpenter film and he is a master at creating suspense, mood and dread. Along with a healthy dose of fear and mysticism.

Director of Photography Dean Cundey (Jurassic Park, The Thing, Back to the Future, Escape from New York)was at the top of his game here too. The small, and almost Lovecraftian, coastal village of Antonio Bay is an absolutely perfect setting and his camera work, lighting and compositions are nothing short of stunning. He makes low budget films look a lot more expensive by his use of excellent framing as well as his use of darkness and shadows.

The performances are nothing to really write home about. But they are very adequate for this material. Jamie Lee Curtis is a bit bland at times, Tom Atkins is sometimes blah but nicely stoic enough. The wholesome Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing, Escape from New York, Maude)is nice to look at but offers little else but being a stereotypical scrappy and lonely Mom who takes up the mantle of protecting Antonio Bay as a kind of monster watcher who issues warnings. So, why am I rating this an 8 with a simplistic story, somewhat bland acting, and a silly mystery? Because “The Fog” is all about atmosphere and suspense. And in that line of thinking, it delivers in spades.

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New Images Below!


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  1. ‘atmosphere and suspense’ you said it! The title sequence has barely a human actor in it, but builds dread as you see strange occurrences all across the town. Good review. Love the pics, too!

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