A Love Letter to John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980)

the fog 1980 film

Updated April 2023

Hey movie fans, let’s talk about a great filmmaker, John Carpenter. He’s famous for horror and sci-fi movies. Some of his best works are ‘Halloween,’ ‘Assault on Precinct 13’, ‘Escape from New York,’ and ‘The Thing.’ If you like these movies, you know Carpenter’s style. They’re full of chilling suspense and action.

John Carpenter has been making movies for many years. His movies mix excitement, action, and humor. If you want a scary movie or an action-packed film, try one of his movies. ‘The Fog,’ which came out in 1980, is a good one to start with. After the success of ‘Halloween,’ people expected a lot from Carpenter. After all, there was no Michael Myers or Nick Castle chasing after babysitters.

What to do next?

‘The Fog’ was his next movie, and it was a big hit.

the fog 1980 scene

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Curtis. It really showed how good John Carpenter is at making horror movies. Remember, when you feel a little scared by foggy sea air, it’s because of ‘The Fog.’ This movie made Carpenter a big name in horror.

If you’re reading this, you probably love movies as much as I do. If scary movies are your thing, you might know about ‘The Fog.’ It’s a really popular scary movie. What you might not know is that there are lots of interesting stories about how this movie was made.

Let’s learn more about this great ghost movie. I’ll tell you some cool facts that movie fans will love. So, get ready, grab some snacks, and let’s explore the spooky story of ‘The Fog’ together!

“11:55…almost midnight. Enough time for one more story.”

Introducing The Fog

In 1978, John Carpenter and Debra Hill took a bare-bones budget and crafted a masterpiece called Halloween. In 1980, the world found out what Carpenter could do with a bigger budget at his disposal.

The result is one of the best horror movies to emerge from the golden era, which was the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carpenter and Hill brought back a few stars from Halloween, including Jamie Lee Curtis and Nancy Kyes, and augmented the cast with talented heavy hitters, such as Janet Leigh, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, and Hal Holbrook. Together, these talented actors and storytellers tell the tale of mariners betrayed by a town.

the fog film scene

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The Eerie Premise: Antonio Bay’s Sinister Secret

Meet Antonio Bay, a small California coastal town which could just as easily be located in New England, North Carolina, or along any slice of the United States coastline. And maybe that’s part of the film’s allure, that you can easily imagine the locale as Cape Cod or any other coastal location.

The opening of The Fog is one of the most brilliant in horror history. The story begins with the late John Houseman spinning a yarn about betrayal and shipwrecks to terrified young people seated around a campfire. Never before nor since has the stage been so well set for what was to come in a horror movie. The tale alone is worth the price of admission.

The coastal town has a dastardly past that is chronicled inside a diary hidden within a church’s walls. Shortly after the diary is rediscovered, the wronged return to enact their revenge, coming and going with a ghostly fog.

The Fog is equal parts horror and mystery, with a sprinkling of EC comic inspiration and HP Lovecraft vibes. But let’s not forget the cherry on top: Carpenter’s signature directorial style. From the spine-chilling score to the moody lighting, it remains a timeless masterpiece that will leave you feeling spooked long after the credits roll.

The Creative Minds behind The Fog

This scary movie, made by a famous director, is really good. The acting is great, and the direction is top-notch. The story is about a scary fog and the monsters that come with it. You might start to feel scared for the people in the movie and scared of the monsters too. The special effects make the fog look very real as it moves through the town.

Forget about the newer version with computer effects. The fog in this original movie looks like it’s actually there. It’s very scary. The music in the movie is simple but does a great job. It’s like the music in ‘Halloween’ – it sets a spooky mood without being too much.

The director, John Carpenter, is really good at making scary scenes. He knows just how to write and direct them to make you feel scared.

adrienne barbeau john carpenter in the fog film

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In Halloween, Carpenter brought us some of the most memorable moments in horror history (think of P.J. Soles’ character, Lynda, looking up at her boyfriend, Bob, wearing a ghost sheet over his head. Only that isn’t really Bob…). Carpenter does not disappoint here, either. Much of the terror plays out in front of Stevie Wayne (Barbeau), a late-night disc jockey with a God’s-eye view of Antonio Bay’s coastal borders.

The “Dan the Weather Man” scene is unforgettable. Particularly gripping is the elderly babysitter answering the knocks upon the door as Wayne’s young son sheepishly watches from within the house. Wayne can see the horror spreading before her eyes but is helpless to do anything other than shout warnings to anyone who might be listening.

The final “chase” between the ghostly fog and the fleeing residents of Antonio Bay is heart-pounding suspense at its finest. John Carpenter knows how to end his stories and the importance of good story endings. The Fog has a satisfying conclusion that ties together the story’s various threads and provides a resolution to the supernatural terror haunting Antonio Bay. 

Without giving away any spoilers, the climax of the horror film effectively resolves the conflict between the vengeful spirits and the townspeople while offering some surprises along the way. The conclusion is a fitting end to the eerie atmosphere and compelling story, creating one of the most iconic ghost stories that has captivated audiences for decades.

The Inspiration behind The Fog

Did you hear that a visit to Stonehenge led to an amazing horror movie? John Carpenter got the idea for his film after going to this old stone circle in South West England. But that’s not all. He also got ideas from a British movie named ‘The Trollenberg Terror.’ That movie had monsters hiding in the clouds.

With these two influences, Carpenter crafted a spooky tale about a mysterious fog that rolls into a small town, bringing with it vengeful ghosts seeking revenge. So if you ever find yourself lost in a fog, just remember that John Carpenter may be lurking around the corner, ready to scare the pants off you with his British-inspired horror.

The Filming Problems 

After they first watched the movie, the director and the people who made it thought it wasn’t scary enough. So, they filmed more scenes. They added more scary parts, like close-ups of people getting hurt. They also filmed a scene where Jamie Lee Curtis finds a scary body in the morgue, and a big scene at the end with Adrienne Barbeau at a lighthouse.

Even though they didn’t spend a lot of money making the movie (just a little over $1 million), they spent three times that amount to tell people about it. They made TV and radio ads, put ads in newspapers, and even put special fog machines (which cost $350 each!) in some movie theaters to make it feel more real.

The Fog was made with a small budget, but it did really well, especially compared to Carpenter’s earlier movie, Halloween, which cost even less. That’s why it’s so impressive that this movie did so well in the horror world.

There were some problems with choosing the actors too. They wanted Christopher Lee, who was famous for his roles in older horror movies, to play Father Malone. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be in the movie.

christopher lee waving

The character was intended to be a spiritual guide for the frightened townspeople. However, when Lee was unavailable, seasoned character actor Hal Holbrook stepped in. This wasn’t the only time Lee declined a role in a Carpenter film. He also rejected the part of Dr. Loomis in the original Halloween due to the low pay. Lee later admitted that passing on Halloween was one of his career’s most significant missteps.

The Brilliance of the Music

John Carpenter has a special way of adding music to his movies. He uses simple, spooky tunes that make his movies more suspenseful. This music makes everything feel more intense and keeps people really focused on the movie.

In the movie, they chose jazz music for Stevie Wayne’s radio station because it didn’t cost much. Jazz music was cheaper to use than rock music. This helped them stay within their budget. The jazz music also gave the movie a special feel and helped set the mood.

Fun Facts about The Fog

Now that we’ve delved into the captivating world of one of the best old-school horrors ever made let’s explore some lesser-known tidbits and amusing anecdotes from behind the scenes.

The Fog Cast: Scream Queen Connection

This film features a trio of cinema’s most renowned horror scream queens: Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, and Jamie Lee Curtis. If you’re a horror buff, then you probably know that Adrienne Barbeau and Jamie Lee Curtis are both scream queens in their own right. But did you know that they never appear together in any scenes in The Fog? It’s true! While they both play lead roles, they never share any screen time. Who says you have to be in the same room to make a great horror movie?

And let’s not forget Nancy Loomis, who rejoined Curtis after their roles as stalked babysitters in Halloween.

Adrienne Barbeau, John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh, While Filming "The Fog" 1980

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Carpenter’s Band!

If you listen carefully to the radio at the start of the movie, you might catch a cool detail from the director, John Carpenter. The band mentioned on the radio is ‘The Coupe DeVilles,’ and Carpenter is actually in the band!

They also made a fun song for another one of Carpenter’s movies, ‘Big Trouble in Little China.’ I always think it’s fun to find these hidden surprises in movies, and this one is really cool.

Carpenter as an Actor

In ‘The Fog,’ Carpenter plays a small part as a church janitor who talks to Hal Holbrook’s priest. But Carpenter was really nervous about acting with such a famous actor. He even said it was one of the scariest things he’s ever done. He didn’t think he did a good job in that scene.

After that, he decided to focus on making movies, not acting in them. Sometimes he would just do small parts or be a helicopter pilot. But that’s okay, because Carpenter is an amazing director, even if he doesn’t think he’s a great actor.

A Surprise Actor!

The film’s main specter, Captain Blake, is portrayed by renowned makeup and special effects artist Rob Bottin. This marks his second of three on-screen appearances and his only credited role. When 20-year-old Bottin asked to play the leprous ghost, Carpenter assessed his height instead of dismissing him. At nearly 6’5”, Bottin’s imposing stature was perfect for the character, landing him the part.

The Horror of the Remake

In the 1990s, John Carpenter mentioned during an interview with Fangoria magazine that he was interested in producing an anthology series based on The Fog. However, the proposed series would initially not have featured any of the characters from Antonio Bay. 

Originally, the fog in the movie was going to be part of a bigger story about different spooky things. The director also said that the story would connect more to his 1980 movie as it went on.

But, they never made this bigger story. Instead, in 2005, they made a new version of ‘The Fog.’ If you only know the 2005 movie, which wasn’t very good, you should really see the original from 1980. It’s a lot better.

The two movies are very different. The original by Carpenter is way better in how it looks and feels.

So, don’t bother with the new version. Get the 1980 movie and get ready for a really good scary movie. It’s a classic that people still love. When you watch it, you’ll see why so many people like it and think it’s important for horror fans to see.”

This version simplifies and shortens the text to make it more suitable for a 7th grade reading level.

The Impact and Influence

The Fog remains popular with horror fans, even many years after it first came out. People who like scary movies are drawn to its mysterious and spooky feeling, and its ghosts are really memorable.

Its lasting popularity shows how good Carpenter is at making scary movies that people want to watch again and again. So, if you like horror movies, you should definitely watch The Fog with your friends.

This movie has really changed how horror movies are made. It mixes ghosts, mystery, and a spooky feeling in a way that has inspired other movie makers. They use some of the same ideas in their movies now.

One of the coolest things about The Fog is the scary fog itself. It slowly gets scarier and scarier, which has influenced other horror movies. They use this kind of slow, spooky build-up to make people feel more scared.

The ghosts in the movie are also really good villains. They show that having a good story behind the bad guys can make a scary movie even better. Also, the way the movie uses simple music to make things feel more tense has influenced a lot of other scary movies. Filmmakers have learned from this movie how to use music to make their movies scarier.

This spine-tingling flick has left its mark on the genre by inspiring countless other films with its unforgettable storytelling, eerie atmosphere, and unforgettable characters. If you’re a horror genre fan, you can’t miss this timeless gem that helped establish horror cinema as we know it today. So, pull on your bravest pair of socks and get ready for a wild ride. The Fog is a must-watch for any self-respecting horror addict.

Go Enjoy!

John Carpenter’s movies are really special and unique. I’m so glad he’s made movies like The Fog. This movie has been around for 40 years, but it’s still great compared to newer movies. Even though it wasn’t made with a lot of money, Carpenter made it look big and fancy. He used a special widescreen way of filming.

Even now, it’s still a good scary story. It has great actors like John Hausman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Tom Atkins. If you like scary movies, you’ll see it has things in common with Carpenter’s other famous movie, Halloween.

Jamie Lee Curtis is in both movies, and there’s even a small part for a character from Halloween. There are lots of fun little things in the movie for fans to find.

So, if you like scary movies or just want to see a good one, you should really watch The Fog again. It’s really spooky and has a great story. It takes you to a mysterious place called Antonio Bay.

Whether you’re watching it for the first time or you’ve seen it before, this movie is sure to give you chills. It’s a classic in scary movies. So, get some popcorn, turn off the lights, and let The Fog scare you in a really good way.

The Blu-ray collector’s edition of The Fog 1980 is available on Amazon.

Want to read more reviews of my favorite scary movies? Check out all of my film reviews here!

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