US movie (1979). Avco-Embassy/EDI. Pr Debra Hill. Exec pr Charles B Bloch. Dir John Carpenter. Spfx A&A Special Effects, Richard Albain Jr, Rob Bottin, Dean Cundey. Mufx Bottin. Vfx James F Liles. Screenplay Carpenter, Hill. Novelization The Fog * (1979) by Dennis Etchison. Starring Tom Atkins (Nick Castle), Adrienne Barbeau (Stevie Wayne), Bottin (Blake), Jamie Lee Curtis (Elizabeth Solley), Charles Cyphers (Dan O'Bannon), Hal Holbrook (Father Malone), John Houseman (Mr Machen), Janet Leigh (Kathy Williams), Nancy Loomis (Sandy Fadel), Ty Mitchell (Andy Wayne). 91 mins. Colour.
The small Californian town of Antonio Bay was founded in 1880 using gold stolen from a shipful of lepers, lured onto the rocks by six conspirators. In 1980, as the citizens, ignorant of this, prepare for the centenary celebrations, the Ghosts/Zombies of the lepers seek vengeance in the form of six sacrificed lives and the return of their gold. For two nights the town is invaded by a mysterious Fog, from which death strikes in a series of chilling vignettes. Thanks to Carpenter's direction, notably his cross-cutting, the movie is substantially better than its plot and screenplay, which tend to oscillate between Horror-Movie and Airport-style-disaster mode. Included are some Recursive jokes: reference to nearby Bodega Bay (see The Birds ), and a bit-part for a doctor called Phibes. There is one moment of real power: trapped in the lighthouse from which she operates her local radio station, focal character Stevie Wayne sees – as do we – the Fog spilling over a hillcrest before washing inexorably down towards her. It is a memorable image. [JG]