Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Shout Factory | R – 89 min. – $29.93 | July 30, 2013
Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): John Carpenter and Debra Hill (written by)
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook
Theatrical Release Date: February 8, 1980
Features: 2 Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Outtakes, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailers
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Disc Size: 42.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.25/5
Plot Outline: The sleepy seaside village of Antonio Bay, California, is about to learn the word “vengeance.” This seemingly perfect town masks a guilty secret…a past steeped in greed and murder. Exactly 100 years ago, a ship was horribly wrecked under mysterious circumstances in a thick, eerie fog. Now, shrouded in darkness, the long-dead mariners have returns from their watery graves to exact a bloody revenge. It’s up to a few of the townsfolk – including radio broadcaster Stevie Wayne (ADRIENNE BARBEAU), average Joe Nick Castle (TOM ATKINS), hitchhiker Elizabeth Solley (JAMIE LEE CURTIS), ceremony coordinator Kathy Williams (JANET LEIGH) and preacher Father Malone (HAL HOLBROOK), amongst others – to stay ahead of the fog and its undead inhabitants and figure out a way to save their village.
Quick Hit Review: John Carpenter’s 1980 classic ghost story The Fog is a well done and efficient horror-thriller that makes the effort and focus on scares rather than blood and overdone gore to shock the audience. The story itself isn’t anything overcomplicated, a group of men from beyond the grave out for revenge, but it’s the quick pace and some truly frightening moments that stand out and makes this one of my favorite films in the genre and even a yearly viewing on Halloween, along with Carpenter’s other classic, Halloween.
As a first-time viewer, I found The Fog, as basic as it is, to be an incredibly scary yet fun experience. John Carpenter, along with co-writer Debra Hill, created yet another classic horror film that still works today despite its understated violence allowing the ghost story aspect to reign rather than gruesome kills that only serve to utilize gallons of fake blood spewed everywhere.
The cast is also nicely put together from the affable Tom Atkins able to take a thin character and make him likeable, the (original) scream queen veteran with Janet Leigh and, of course, her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis coming off of a star-making performance in Halloween.
The Fog is a fun little horror movie with plenty of thrills. It might not be the best John Carpenter and Debra Hill have put out, but it’s a solid entry amongst their other classics and fan favorites.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover and some nifty cover art by Justin Osbourn.
Audio Commentaries includes two tracks: 1) Writer/Director John Carpenter and Writer/Producer Debra Hill and 2) Actors Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and Production Designer Tommy Lee Wallace. The Carpenter/Hill commentary is quite good providing insight into making the film while the second track, moderated by Sean Clark, is a lot of fun giving the actor’s side of things.
My Time with Terror (21:46; HD) is a new interview with Jamie Lee Curtis, set against a foggy backdrop, as she recounts her time working on The Fog (and follow-up ventures) and having watched it in preparation for the interview. It’s a fun, and honest, interview and well worth watching for any fan of either the movie or Curtis; really looking forward to her commentary with Carpenter on Halloween.
Dean of Darkness (18:40; HD) covers the cinematography of Dean Cundey as he discusses his process working on the movie. It’s more low-key by comparison with Curtis’ interview, but still very fascinating.
Fear on Film: Inside The Fog (7:42; SD) is an old featurette showing some behind-the-scenes footage and old interviews with the cast and crew.
Tales from the Mist: Inside The Fog (27:58; SD) is another older featurette, though made years later, offering more insights from the cast as they recollect their time working on the project.
The Fog: Storyboard to Film (1:26; SD) gives a top and bottom comparison between the two for a scene.
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: A Look at the Film’s Locations (20:22; HD) provides a tour, hosted by Sean Clark of the shooting locations years later which is a lot of fun to see how things have changed. This is the same show featured on other horror movie releases including Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween II, Halloween III and The Howling.
Rounding out the features are some Outtakes (4:10; SD), Special Effects Tests (2:39; SD), a few Theatrical Trailers (4:34; SD), TV Spots (3:05; SD), a Photo Gallery (8:02; SD) and Storyboards (2:18; SD).
VIDEO – 4.25/5
The Fog swarms onto Blu-ray for the first time thanks to Shout Factory. Presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition, this now 33 year old movie has some excellent-looking detail levels while the blacks are nice and deep throughout. There is a fine amount of natural grain and noise, but all in all, this transfer, supervised by cinematographer Dean Cundey, looks clean, free of dust marks and scratches and it appears to be a fine process to give the film a new lease on life.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Along with a sparkling new video transfer, the disc also received an updated DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. Now, it’s not exactly an incredibly amazing sounding lossless track as most of the audio seems relegated to the front and center channels with John Carpenter’s effective score making more use of the rear channels. The LFE does kick in during the key scenes but it is rather subtle. Still, this is a solid track which really expands the suspense-thriller aspects. A 2.0 DTS-HD MA track is also included.
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, The Fog is another classic thriller from John Carpenter featuring good scares without getting gratuitous with the horror (in fact, there is no blood) and a respectable cast. The Blu-ray released by Shout Factory is top notch with excellent audio/video transfers and a wealth of bonus features with the only setback being a comprehensive ‘making-of’ featurette. Even so, for the price, if you’re a fan of the movie, it’s well worth picking up.