Review by Michael Jacobson
Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Houseman, Janet Leigh, Hal
Director: John Carpenter
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Pan & Scan 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 90 Minutes
Release Date: August 27, 2002
town is cursed…we’re all cursed…”
Carpenter is a director who knows how to scare, and he proved it solidly by
following up his wildly successful Halloween, a movie about an
unstoppable serial killer, with The Fog, a good old fashioned ghost story
and revenge tale. The fact that
it’s not quite as good as Halloween is hardly a critique…you could
say that about most horror films.
Carpenter re-team with producer and writing partner Debra Hill, who both earned
the chance to make more movies on the success of the film that would become
forever synonymous with the holiday it was named after.
Wanting to scare audiences even more, but not wanting to repeat their
formula, they turned their attention to telling a tale of the supernatural.
story takes place in a little coastal town called Antonio Bay, which is about to
celebrate its 100 anniversary. As
the clock strikes midnight on that historic date, a strange, luminous fog rolls
close to land, seemingly defying the wind, and leaving a fishing boat’s
passengers inexplicably dead.
solution to the mystery is revealed in the form of an ancient diary discovered
in a church. It turns out, the
founding of the town was not a festive occasion at all.
It originated with a terrible murder, in which a rich but sick man and
some of his companions were killed by conspirators who used a firelight to wreck
their boat in the fog. The sick
man’s money was used to establish Antonio Bay.
Now, a century later, there’s something in the fog that’s come back
to exact revenge.
is a simple tale told with vigor and style.
Carpenter is a man who has used special effects to great advantage over
the course of his career, but he also knows how to create terror with a few
simple strokes. A little blast from
a fog machine, a few well placed lights, and voila…something menacing is
cast is fine for what is expected of them…the most notable aspect is the
appearance of mother and daughter scream queens Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh
in the same film. Adrienne Barbeau
is fine as the disc jockey in the lighthouse who ends up with a great view of
the fog and what it does. Hal
Holbrook offers a nice turn as the priest who discovers the truth.
None of the roles are particularly deep or demanding, but Carpenter’s
professionals are able to deliver what is expected of them and service the
the success of The Fog and Halloween, John Carpenter’s place was
secure in horror history. He would
go on to make a string of sleek and scary pictures…some great, like The
Thing, some not so great, like They Live, but as with his earlier
films, he proved himself a director with imagination and a willingness to take
chances in order to entertain his audience, for better or worse.
definitely one for the better.
is a quality anamorphic offering from MGM…not perfect, but still impressive
given how much of the movie takes place in low-light settings.
To maintain a watchable definition through it all is an achievement.
There is some softness here and there, but surprisingly little grain
despite the blackness and the good definition.
The print is in generally fine shape, colors come across well, and detail
level is as good as can be hoped for. A
fine effort overall.
the disc offers an enhanced 5.1 soundtrack in addition to the original mono,
it’s not a particularly noteworthy mix…I don’t think the subwoofer kicked
in until the final stretch, and I think it may have been the same for the rear
stage…if it was active, I didn’t really notice it until then.
Dialogue is clean and clear, and dynamic range is fair.
For a film of its age, this is a better than serviceable offering, but
hazy about the extras package, which includes a solid commentary track by
Carpenter and Hill, which is an enjoyable and interesting listen.
Even better is a brand new half hour documentary on the fog, which
includes interviews with them, plus cast members Barbeau and Curtis and other
crew members. There is an original
1980 short featurette as well, which is enjoyable…amazing how young they all
look in it! Rounding out are an outtake reel (good for a chuckle or two),
storyboards, a gallery of trailers and TV spots, and at least one hidden Easter
egg that’s easy to find, and grants you a couple of minutes of
behind-the-scenes footage showing how the fog was produced.
All in all, an excellent collection of extras.