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The Fog (SE)
DVD disk
10.28.2005 By: Scott Weinberg
The Fog (SE) order
Director:
John Carpenter

Actors:
Adrienne Barbeau
Jamie Lee Curtis
Tom Atkins

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The small California town of Antonio Bay is about to get a visit from some old citizens, and by "old," I mean homicidal undead zombie-ghost lepers with a grudge.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I've lost count of how many times I've actually reviewed John Carpenter's THE FOG in the past several years, but the movie's always been a creepy little favorite of mine, so I certainly don't mind revisiting the flick once or twice a year.

Fresh of the stellar success of HALLOWEEN, Mr. Carpenter wanted to attack a different sort of scare-flick, and it's common knowledge among the horror geeks that THE FOG was kind of a troubled production. Most of the "gristly bits" that the gorehounds know and love were actually part of a reshoot, and the flick as a whole has kind of meandering narrative -- but I just don't care.

For all its minor flaws, THE FOG still stands up as one of the better October-type ghost stories out there. It's got a rather excellent cast (Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, John Houseman (in one great sequence), and even a cameo appearance by Carpenter himself!), lots of moody murders, and genuinely creepy fogbank that sweeps across everything. Toss in a few gory kills and a really fantastic score (by Carpenter, of course) and you're looking at an early 80s horror flick that still holds up pretty damn well 25 years after the fact. (As far as the remake goes, well, it makes a flawed little winner like the original look better than THE EXORCIST.)

THE EXTRAS
The extras section has two main courses: First is a solid audio commentary with John Carpenter and the late Debra Hill. While this chat-track lacks the humor and spontaneity of the yakkers found on THE THING or ESCAPE FROM NY, it's still laden with wall-to-wall info, and the filmmakers aren't afaid to discuss the bad along with the good.

Thirty minutes long and created exclusively for this DVD release is the fan-friendly mini-doco called Tales from the Mist, which features interview segments with Carpenter, Hill, Leigh, Barbeau, cinematographer Dean Cundey, production designer Tommy Lee Wallace, and a few others. This is a true treat for the Fogfans, as it covers all sorts of production material, including those gore-happy reshoots!

Fear on Film is an ancient 10-minute EPK thingie from back when these promo reels weren't even called EPKs! A fun inclusion for the FOG completists, but it's also rather dated -- but in a fun way.

Rouding out the enjoyably stocked platter are some storybaord comparisons, stills galleries, outtakes, theatrical trailers, TV spots, and a nifty lil booklet that contains liner notes by John Carpenter. All in all, it's more FOGgy goodness than any fan would expect!

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
OK, so THE FOG doesn't exactly measure up to J.C. classics like HALLOWEEN, THE THING, or ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK -- but it's a whole helluva lot better than most of the filmmaker's late-career work (anyone for a double feature of ESCAPE FROM L.A. & VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED?) If you grew up admiring this flick for its low-key chills, goopy thrills, and that awesome musical score, you should absolutely consider this DVD a must-own.
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