Saturday, November 11, 2006

[1980] THE FOG: Like Inferno, this one's big on creating a sense of dread but lower on providing a payoff--like, one corpse falls out of a closet and one Hal Holbrook jumps out of the darkness as far as jump scares go. Apparently all the scary stuff--the ghosts themselves, the muders in the boat, the opening scenes when the fog takes over the town--was added in afterwards after the suits complained the movie wasn't scary enough. And you know what, it still isn't that scary? But it's still a really complete movie--for being a horror picture where the monster is basically a giant fog bank it does very well for itself. I was actually less frightened when the ghost pirates arrived, because then I was on familiar slasher/zombie ground. Apparently the intention here was to do something like Poe or Lovecraft, where there's this primal ancient force that humans can't ever quite escape from, and I don't think it's successful as something like that (Argento is much closer to that sort of ominpresent menace.) But it is successful as a ghost pirate drama. Yeah--if you're looking for thrills you'll be somewhat disappointed, but as an ensemble drama it's really good. And Adrienne Barbeau's Stevie Wayne is one of the more memorable heroes in the Carpenter pantheon, trapped in that lighthouse as she was but still directing the action across the town via the radio, and saving her son as well.

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