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Thursday, February 17, 2011

John Carpenter's The Fog

1980 saw the town of Antonio Bay, California celebrating it's 100th birthday, and some uninvited guests showing up to wish them a "Happy Deathday" in John Carpenter's "The Fog"...

After the success of "Halloween" Carpenter was given a budget of one million dollars, and filmed "The Fog".  after creating a rough cut, he realized that as it was, the movie didn't work- so he added and reshot many scenes to highten the gore and horror elements.  In fact, one third of the movie comprises of the added and reshot material.

As with "Halloween", John Carpenter showed great skill in directing.  He deftly builds up tension and suspense to a good level before releasing the audience from Death's cold grip.  His use of sound and visual effects, enables the fog itself to become as much a menacing character as it is a mood setter.  I also like John Carpenter's brief cameo as well.

The characters are well developed and engaging, and the actors brought credibility to the roles.  The story gives each character a chance to show the audience who they are, and to connect with the viewers.  Even the antagonist is developed to where you understand them and their motivation.

The story is well written, and moves at a steady pace that keeps you interested.  Since ghost stories are best when told late at night while around a flickering camp fire, the prologue scene of the old fisherman telling a ghost story to the kids turned the movie from just a "horror movie" into a campfire story, and set the mood nicely.

There is gore in this movie, but like "Halloween," is not heaped on you in a scarlet rain of blood.  In fact, the fact that all you see is a ragged, seaweed draped arm coming out of the pulsating fog to drag a victim into its misty depths is errie and lets your imagination wonder exactly WHAT does the rest of the thing in the fog look like.  The gore that is shown is almost an after thought in order to satisfy the trend of movies having more graphic carnage.

As part of "The Good", I'll be watching this movie when the fog rolls in... and wondering if that knocking was from a seaweed draped arm...

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