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The Fog (1980)- Original

Directed by John Carpenter Written by John Carpenter & Debra Hill

Beginning their partnership with the greatly acclaimed Halloween, an unseen success for its time, though completed as a labor of love in Debra Hill and John Carpenters eyes. It wasn’t until vacationing out in Stonehenge that the two would get the idea for their next project together. Having noticed a fog bank out in the distance, it was Carpenter that begged the question, “What do you think could be out there?” Plotting out a story of revenge believing that ghost, above anything else, would have cause to come back for such a trait. Working in a story found from the past, occurring out in California in the 1800’s of a town “reeling in” ships of which they’d hijack, but not before watching them parish in the rubble.

John, who had recently married Adrienne Barbeau, wrote the lead role especially for her as for Jaime Lee Curtis, who hadn’t fared so well after completing Halloween. Not even necessarily a principal Actor, simply obtaining a small part in which we deal more with her co-conspirator rather than herself. Yet having such a presence, a away about her, that it was no wonder that a majority of the promotional stills may make you believe the film to be about her. When in actuality it lies behind the character of Stevie Wayne (Barbeau) and the local radio station she owned in Antonio Bay, California. The town coming up on their 100th anniversary that April 21st. But hearing from the past as it really happened from ‘ol Mr. Machen (John Houseman) as he sat out by a campfire with some of the local children. Detailing the events of how a small clipper ship had sailed in some time ago as a fog rolled in over. Following a light guiding them to shore yet not noticing the trap it had been. Deceived and left for dead, they promised to return as soon as the fog did.

When the actual truth dealt in much dirtier deeds done. A diary found within the church’s wall by Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), having belonged to his grandfather (one of the founding fathers). Explained how they were visited by a man named Blake, who asked to settle with a leper colony not too far off from their location. Though unsettled by such a thought, the men instead planned for his death during what would be the first hour marking their anniversary, took the Gold on ship and planned to use it for the greater good in their soon to be new town. Because that should ease off some of the guilt for ya. With the first sign of fog already claiming its first three victims, the town is unaware of what the days events would bring, the witching hour bringing about strange occurrences all through town. Yet splitting the film up a bit as we begin to follow Stevie on one end with Nick Castle (Tom Atkins), the “weird” stranger that picks up Elizabeth (Curtis) and kin to one of the original six, on the other. Eventually conjoining the two as they work together to rid the town of the unearthly fog. Adding in the idea of the character of Elizabeth, with her arrival and claims of bad things happening to her, for the possibility of her involvement in all of this, if even at all. Leading to a final confrontation at the church where Father Malone tries to fix the error of his relatives ways, though marked all along and unable to remove the past deeds done.

Deciding to finance a couple hundred thousand more after an initial viewing of the film showed little promise from what held big expectations. Adding a majority of the “cheap thrills” as well as better sound effects and score. Compared to the nearly twenty million dollar budget wasted for the remake. Which stank up the screen with too many digital effects and crappy music as they could muster. Hearing how filmmakers from each version felt towards their script, despite John and Debra coming back to produce for the remake (before her untimely demise). Clear in that there were certainly two very different expectations for their finished product. Not just telling a different story all together but the remake taking away all the good originated from its forerunner. Adding a small effort of having Adrienne Barbea’s son used to no doubt motivate for the fear brought upon herself towards the end. Having to make an ultimate sacrifice in pleading for help for her son, though unable to leave the station. As the telephone lines had been cut and if not for her direction, then the townsfolk wouldn’t have any idea of where to run. Her son far better as his curiosity was out of boredom as opposed to any self-indulgence, as displayed in the remake. Just, so much taken from here and blown out proportion. Achieving an ominous way about taking those linked to the originals that later turned into a charade of effects.

A rather quiet film in comparison as it doesn’t quite border the Horror line, but rather, prances in the realm of the supernatural. However seen as a classic for anyone familiar with John Carpenters work. Having a display of familiar characters that weren’t added for comedic effect or as a notion from deteriorating at the original story-line. Janet Leigh and Nancy Loomis were nice to see roaming about as they further learned from Father Malone of their town’s heinous beginning; in charge of putting together the ceremony for their town. The subtlety of the film, its slow creep of progression as certain things begin to unveil themselves. Even something as simply as when one of the men of the Sea Grass gets up (in the morgue) and slowly approaches Elizabeth. It was knowing what she couldn’t see, what we could only anticipate, that gave the original that much more flair and overall likeability.