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With: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Houseman, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Tom Atkins
Written by: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Directed by: John Carpenter
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90
Date: 12/31/1979

The Fog (1980)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pea Soup

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Carpenter's The Fog is a beautifully-made, atmospheric chiller with top-notch performances by an amazing cast. Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook and Tom Atkins star in this tale of ghost pirates who return to a small California town 100 years later to avenge their deaths and recover a stolen cache of gold.

Better still, John Houseman appears in the film's prologue narrating the tale over a campfire! Barbeau steals the film though, as the throaty-sexy late-night DJ Stevie Wayne, who does her best to warn the citizens of Antonio Bay away from the evil beasties.

Janet Leigh's presence clearly references Carpenter's love for Hitchcock, but she manages a couple of very good scenes, proving that she's more than the sum of Psycho. Carpenter's excellent use of widescreen comes in handy here, perfectly capturing the empty spaces of small town life. When the fog, backlit in an eerie green, enters the frame, you see the way it moves, filling the scene from back to front. And, as usual, Carpenter provides the movie's creepy score, similar to his classic Halloween music.

The Fog is one of the only films in Carpenter's long career that I hadn't seen, and I'm glad I waited for MGM's impressive new widescreen DVD to do it. It's The 2002 DVD release comes with a new commentary track by Carpenter and Hill, the original promotional documentary, a brand-new featurette, outtakes, storyboards and a trailer. The expected remake came and went in 2005.

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