Saturday, July 20, 2013

John Carpenter's The Fog (1980) or Who Stole Tom Atkins' Moustache? (Blu-ray Review)

As I've said before, the quality of the Scream Factory transfers are truly great. There's not much you can nitpick if nitpicking is your thing. The way you judge a Scream Factory disc is by the editions that came before it. John Carpenter's The Fog is a shining example of how a fan favorite can be brought back to life even in the face of a fairly good looking predecessor. How do you take a movie so beloved as The Fog and make it new again? That's what Scream Factory does exceptionally well, but it's not a purely aesthetic change, and this isn't a disc filled with old hat features with nothing new to offer a viewer. This is a real reason to upgrade to the Blu-ray disc.

Whether you're a cover hound or not, you can always appreciate the Factory's offering of two covers on their limited edition Blu-ray releases. The Fog is no different sporting Justin Osborn's rich, spooky cover with focus on the whole cast and not just Jamie Lee Curtis. It's nice to get a fresh dose of the Atkins, Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau and, yes, even JLC on the cover. You still have the option to enjoy the original artwork on the reverse side. My understanding is that the artwork on some of the Scream Factory discs is a bit divisive. Either you love and respect a new take on a classic film or nostalgia winds its gnarled hand around your brain steam and prevents all new opinions or perceptions from coalescing. I for one am a fan of both covers and will stick with the Osbourn art; the infamous JLC/Door picture is burned into my retina just fine.

If you are unfamiliar with The Fog you've certainly got a treat in front of you. The Fog is the story of a small town with a filthy past, a nasty case of ghostly marauders and some fairly pea soup atmospheric conditions. The Fog is a ghostly revenge story that takes an unsuspecting town and murders it slowly at the end of a swashbuckle and without the courtesy of a Yo He Ho. Oh yeah, and there's lots of fog. Not sure if the title gave that away. When I was a kid I remember the TV commercials with billowing vats of fog dumping through ever sequence. Quite honestly I thought it obscured the visual something fierce, but we've come along way since that piece of furniture television set, remoteless and screaming of ozone. Truth be told, the seafairers are terrifying and they must be stopped.

Trailer Not from the Blu-ray

What you look for when you watch The Fog... if you're a newbie that is. Well the first thing I urge you to do is listen. This a John Carpenter score that is more complex than the ever popular Halloween score. Operating purely on gorgeous 80's synth riffs with pounding bass and high pitched melodic interludes, you're in for the experience of a movie that wants to creep you out. Make sure to enjoy, appreciate and love Jamie Lee Curtis, still a Scream Queen and in the loving arms of an un-moustached Tom Atkins. Also appreciate Scream Queen Adrienne Barbeau as Stevie Wayne, one of the premiere horror DJ's of the modern age. Could Caroline Williams have been the vinyl vixen of Texas Chainsaw Massacre II if it were not for the pioneering efforts of Barbeau?

Fans of the film who have seen it countless time have something to look forward to as well. The transfer is stunning. Colors that melt through your screen with a vivid pulse. An audio track that is rich, undampened and bold. Of course there's a pile of extras; that's standard issue with the Scream Factory releases. Enjoy a trip down memory lane with Dean Cundey, cinematographer on many a John Carpenter film.  It's an educational feature for any rookie filmmaker and a solid retrospective on much of his work with Carpenter. The Jamie Lee Curtis interview is shocking... Well, not so much shocking but it's definitely provides insight as to why she took a left turn at the 80's horror craze in the early 80's. The making of special is brief but thorough and really a  pile of interviews with the old familiars. My favorite segment on any Factory release is the Horror's Hallowed Grounds that takes a look at the locations where each scene in a movie was filmed. It's like proof that movies are made in the real world and terrify us only in our mind.  There are two separate commentary tracks; one features John Carpenter and Debra Hill and the other Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and Tommy Lee Wallace. The usual still galleries, trailers and even an effects feature also accompany some of the more robust additional material (an hour plus of entertainment and horror education).

This release is a love note to the fans. It brings attention to a movie that is considered high up on the Carpenter hierarchy but generally disavowed as a movie not as terrifying as Halloween or as groundbreaking as Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China. This disc respects the movie, elates the viewer and still scares the piss out of me. If you watched this movie as a kid and haven't given it a thought since, now is the time to give it a second go. Also, if you've only seen the remake... no one is looking... it's time to slip it into your shopping cart with shame.

You can pick up John Carpenter's The Fog from DiabolikDVD HERE or visit the Scream Factory site to pre-order your copy.

Tell 'em Stevie sent ya!



  1. jervaise brooke hamsterJuly 20, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Jimmy, would you agree that when Pauline Hickey was 17 in 1985 she was THE most gorgeous bird of all-time ! ?.

  2. jervaise brooke hamsterJuly 20, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Jimmy, what kind of porn do you like ?, i prefer the Windows Vista Media Centre clips, the same 5 or 6 thrusts of the dick in and out of the birds bum over and over again or the same 5 or 6 squirts of spunk into the birds gob over and over again, somehow i find it easier to jerk-off to the repetition of those clips rather than watching the entire movies.

  3. I'm leaving these comments. I'm going to think of them as obscene phone calls. Something out of The Telephone Book or Black Christmas.