After making one of the most popular and acclaimed horror films of all time with 1978’s Halloween, John Carpenter and his producer-cowriter Debra Hill were determined to take advantage of their newfound Hollywood clout rather than coasting. Butr the market—and the financiers—had other ideas. Carpenter and Hill’s 1980 ghost story The Fog was originally intended to show off the duo’s range, via an atmospheric suspense film about a creeping mist that unleashes vengeful ghosts on a picturesque California coastal community. But Halloween had changed the public’s expectations for horror. Worried that their film was too tame, Carpenter and Hill shot new, gorier footage; and prior to The Fog’s release they cut together a jarring mix of quietly moody scenes and bloody jump-scares. The two Fogs don’t play all that well together, but from scene to scene, the movie is highly effective—beautifully lush at times, and horrifically violent at others. The cast is terrific, too, with Jamie Lee Curtis, her mother Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Hal Holbrook, and the breathy Adrienne Barbeau as one the movies’ all-time great radio DJs. The Fog airs on Turner Classic Movies at 2:15 a.m. Eastern.
October 22, 2014 newsreel