The Fog

The Fog

If you lived in the 80's at an impressionable age, chances are that you hold a special place in your heart for John Carpenter's THE FOG. If you missed the film on its first run in theaters, then chances are you caught it on one of it's many airings across the channel dial during Halloween. The film played almost as much as John Carpenter's more loved and well respected film that shares the day's name, HALLOWEEN. But whereas HALLOWEEN may be more respected and more loved by larger numbers, I would lay money on it that THE FOG has more die-hard fans who are more "rabid" over the film.

The simple story of a town that is suddenly held hostage by a strange fog that rolls ashore, THE FOG is a film that relies mostly on atmosphere, as it's main effect. The story is of minor consequence, as this is really just a haunted house released on a town. So, with that in mind, after all these years I am still a little in the dark over just what the hell THE FOG is about!!!

O.K., so here is the story: 100 years ago a group of "conspirators" decides to kill of the crew of the Andrea Dane. 100 years later the crew returns to seek revenge. That's it. Simple, it should make sense. But there are so many areas that don't click, that if you want a good story on this outing, you will be horribly disappointed. But if you want some great scares, some great tense scenes, and a cast of characters that you love for some unknown reason, here is your film.

I am still confused as to why the town goes to hell on the eve of the accident. The creepy crawlers show up on that night, but only to knock on the door of Tom Atkins. They somehow cause the town to go all crazy, such as windows exploding, a convenience store shaking, and gas pumps jumping off the pumps. Why? IT all falls into the whole "supernatural" loophole. Even when we do get to the night of the ghosts showing up, there is still no rhyme or reason as to why certain things happen. We are just expected to accept it, and in this case, many kids who saw the film on TV during the 80's are more than happy to embrace it, as I am.

This DVD is a beautiful thing. As with when I finally saw HALLOWEEN in its proper 2.35:1 ratio, THE FOG also provide so much info on the sides of the screen that I am just amazed at how these films were ever shown in the pan and scan form! Not only that, but I am shocked that it has taken so long to see the film in that form! Carpenter uses the full screen to such an extent I actually got excited to find the things I have always missed on the sides. Finally you will understand why those single chords strike so fiercely on the soundtrack!

The picture quality is great. Yes, the film look better than it ever has before. You know, I think I have said it before, but I am getting tired of saying that! But in all honesty, just having the widescreen version of the film is enough reason to recommend the disc, but luckily enough, the picture also looks great! I never saw the old LD version, so no direct comparison can be made by me there. But, I could compare it to the old video tape I had taped off of WGN channel 9 back around '82 if I still had it, or the version I taped off of Encore a few years ago. But you know what I will say

The sound is also great. Yeah, best It's ever sounded.

I love MGM. I wish that every other studio would pay attention to these people. Paramount is complete crap with how they release their catalogue titles, that it can only be hurting them. I really, really, really want MY BLOODY VALENTINE on DVD, and I am fine with it being the version that hit theaters and being scant on the cut scenes, but I can not bring myself to drop $25 or so on just the film when studios like MGM give me stuff like THE FOG for $10 less! RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, with its extras and glow-in-the-dark cover is only $10!!! I am still confused why THE FOG is more than ROTLD, but hey, I'm fine with it.

That rant aside, I a thrilled with what you get with THE FOG. The documentary is great, but not as great as the one from THE THING, but that one may never be equaled. The 1980 documentary is O.K., but nothing brilliant. The commentary track is the same one that appeared on the old LD, and that is first evident with the comment that Carpenter makes stating that he used some of the same area in the film he is "presently working on", VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. But otherwise, all of the information is not time-effected material so the commentary track remains a very well done commentary. Again though, not quite THE THING, but still informative and enjoyable.

If you are a fan of the film, you need this disc as it is the disc that you have always hoped that would be released for the film. Was the wait and delay worth it? I would say "yes". I am thrilled with the disc, as it seems that MGM really cared to give the best product that they could, at (almost) the best price that they could.

If you always hated the disc, why are you reading this review?

Review by Carl Isonhart

Released by MGM
Region 1 - NTSC
Rated - R
Ratio - Anamorphic widescreen
Extras :
See above