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August 8, 2013

Movie Review: The Fog (Blu-ray, 1980)

John Carpenter's classic Halloween opened up some excellent opportunities for the talented writer/director/composer. One of those was the chance to direct a follow-up to the box-office hit with Halloween II. While certainly pleased there was a sequel, he declined and chose to do something new, something fresh, a film that would take him away from the slasher and give him a chance to bring audiences into the supernatural horrors that are... The Fog. Scream Factory has taken The Fog, restored it and given it their widely praised "Collector's Edition" label in their latest release from the popular line specializing in retro-horror.

When an immense fog begins to cover the quiet town of Antonio Bay, the fisherman and soon the townsfolk begin to perish for . The fog, is death to these people and what’s inside the fog is unstoppable. Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau, Creepshow, Swamp Thing) is literally in the “thick’ of things as our damsel in distress radio DJ. She and some like-minded individuals are looking to get out of dodge as soon as possible to avoid getting a hook through their throats courtesy of the mysterious creatures traveling in the fog.

While not overly gory, or even violent at all, The Fog grabs the viewer with a brooding terror and a sense of dread that makes any of that unnecessary. Add in a excellent cast from top to bottom -Tom Atkins, Jamie Lee Curtis, Barbeau, Tommy Lee Wallace and Hal Holbrook, Carpenter’s vision has some effective players to tell the story of an unstoppable evil that’s quite different than his psychopath Michael Myers from Halloween.

This Blu-ray edition of The Fog is absolutely jam-packed, not only with the previous material seen on the MGM DVD edition but some stellar new supplements that alone make this a must buy.  We get a couple cool commentaries: one with Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and Tommy Lee Wallace, who contribute a loose and enjoyable listen and director John Carpenter and Debra Hill are on the other with a more technical take on the film.

The new interviews with both Jamie Lee Curtis and Dean Cundey are where it’s at. Jamie Lee is a class act, who isn’t at all ashamed by her “scream queen” past, if anything, she embraces it. She seems to have a great memory and even goes down the line as she brings up other films she had done (Halloween II, Road Games, Prom Night).

Dean Cundey, to me is really an unheralded master and thankfully here in this new interview we’re able to take a look at what makes him tick a even get to see some of his tricks as cinematographer. Cundey talks a bit about one of his biggest strengths, a huge reason why The Fog and Halloween are so terrifying – his exceptional use of the frame. He never simply takes a shot for granted and it’s a unique skill that combines so perfectly with Carpenter’s and Debra Hill’s vision.

 Revisiting The Fog now on Blu-ray is an even better experience than my past viewing. The restoration -- much-like the improvement on The Howling -- is stunning and makes any other edition obsolete. This is a definite a must-buy and possibly one of the best releases of the year. Highly Recommended

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