February the 8th, 1980, opening day, & I was a senior in high school. I was just driving in my first car, had a job and a pocket full of freedom to go to the movies just about anytime I could squeeze them in. I was pretty new to the rated “R” world of films, and the ones I saw were so vastly different from Star Wars, Bambie, and the Jungle Book which were what filled my movie time just prior to my first “R” rated film, “Alien”!!!! I really had to pick carefully and work up a lot of courage to go because the territory was uncharted and unrestricted to what amazing or terrifying things it could show me…the gritty reality of more mature movies was horrifyingly wonderful and really captured my attention and imagination.
“The Fog” was my theatrical introduction to John Carpenter, and man was it a wicked little tale!!! I went alone to this one between school and work, and it thrilled and scared me for quite sometime after. From the film’s opening with the Ghost Story on the beach, to the revelation of the wicked story of how the town of Antonio Bay was founded, to all the horror that Mr. Carpenter so eloquently fashioned throughout this dark tale, I was drawn in. Thirty years later, I have seen this movie countless times and love it more every time I see it. “The Fog” is a great film to see John’s talent in the early days. He has a gift for storytelling, and I love that his talents are so broad, from writing, composing & performing, directing, editing and finally he’s especially gifted at scaring your socks off!!! John’s work with Debra Hill make for some awesome productions and are amongst my very favorites of both of their early career films!!!
Lots of fun in-movie jokes in this one as well. John Carpenter plays a young church worker named Bennet in the opening moments of the show; Bill Taylor plays the bar tender. Bill Taylor, for those that don’t know, was the VFX supervisor on, and wrote the song “Benson, Arizona” from, Dark Star. He later went on to be one of the founders of Illusion Arts ( the optical and matte Painting facility) that just recently closed. Four of the characters in the film are named after friends and inspirations of John’s, Charles Cyphers plays “Dan OBannon” (Co Writer of Dark Star), George “Buck” Flower plays “Tommy Wallace” (One of the Coup De Villes and the film’s production designer), Tom Atkins plays “Nick Castle” (the third member of the Coup De Villes, and film buddy of JC), and finally Darwin Joston plays “Dr. Phibes” (a horror movie character played by Vincent Price).
This one is a must see for Carpenter fans new and old. The film takes place in a coastal town and is told over about a 26 hour period of time on the 21st of April, 1980. The under story, as told through a diary read by Hal Holbrook, really sets the pace, combined with some excellent roles played by John Houseman, Janet Leigh & Jamie Lee Curtis (mother and daughter in real life), Adrienne Barbeau and, of course, Hal Holbrook. Rob Bottin is the creator of the special make up and also plays the lead dead settler, “Blake”. One awesome ride from start to finish, and the commentary on the DVD by John and Debra Hill really makes for a great movie both in front of and behind the scenes!! Enjoy, and Happy 30th to John Carpenter and one of his many masterpieces, “The Fog”!