Sunday, October 21, 2012
The Fog (1980)
The cast who make up the small town of Antonio Bay is a who's who of actors who have worked prominently in the genre and/or with Carpenter regularly. If there is a central character, it's probably Adrienne Barbeau (then Mrs. John Carpenter) as radio DJ Stevie Wayne, who has a young son. There's also Hal Holbrook as Father Malone, Tom Atkins as fisherman Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis as hitchhiker Elizabeth Solley, her mother Janet Leigh as Kathy Williams a fisherman's wife and organizer of the town's 100th anniversary celebration, Nancy Loomis as her assistant, Charles Cyphers as weatherman Dan O'Bannon, and Darwin Joston as pathologist Dr. Phibes.The characters are barely drawn with more than the most basic traits, but the cast give them life, and most importantly they feel like real people in this town. Their collective story is that of a town under siege.
From there, the movie cuts between different groups of characters - Stevie Wayne, Nick and Elizabeth, and Mrs. Williams and her assistant - as they encounter different aspects of Antonio Bay's history and the curse of the ghosts until finally they meet during the climax at the town's church to fight off the marauding spirits that are attacking through the fog that has blanketed the town. The exception is Stevie, who remains at her post to warn others of the threat until the ghosts come looking for her.
Carpenter also is able to use irony to underscore his trademark anti-authority streak. This cozy little community, we learn, is built on lies and murder, and the church was complicit. During the town's celebration, Mrs. Williams gives a speech about how they work to keep the spirit of their founders alive. Little does she know how accurate and wrong she is