Hello Geeks and Ghouls, Famous Monster here. Well, it’s finally October and you know what that means? Breast Cancer Awareness 5Ks? Good guess. Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Delicious, but no. Halloween? YES. Horror movies? DOUBLE YES!
Welcome to 31 Days of Horror, where I’ll cover at least two noteworthy horror films a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 62+ scary movies perfect for a cold, dark October night. Be sure to visit Geeks of Doom every day this month for a double-shot of chills and thrills!
Today’s double-shot of horror features a coast-to-coast cold front with John Carpenter‘s 1980 film, The Fog, and Frank Darabont‘s 2007 adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Mist.
“One hundred years ago on the 21st of April, out in the waters around Spivey Point, a small clipper ship drew toward land. Suddenly, out of the night, the fog rolled in. For a moment, they could see nothing, not a foot in front of them. Then, they saw a light. By God, it was a fire burning on the shore, strong enough to penetrate the swirling mist. They steered a course toward the light. But it was a campfire, like this one. The ship crashed against the rocks, the hull sheared in two, mars snapped like a twig.
The wreckage sank, with all the men aboard. At the bottom of the sea, lay the Elizabeth Dane, with her crew, their lungs filled with salt water, their eyes open, staring to the darkness. And above, as suddenly as it come, the fog lifted, receded back across the ocean and never came again. But it is told by the fishermen, and their fathers and grandfathers, that when the fog returns to Antonio Bay, the men at the bottom of the sea, out in the water by Spivey Point will rise up and search for the campfire that led them to their dark, icy death.” – Mr. Machen (John Houseman)
The small coastal town of Antonio Bay is about to celebrate its centennial. With preparations for the celebration underway, the centennial is also marked by a series of ominous events; as the witching hour strikes and the date of the town’s centennial begins, the sleepy little town is blanketed in a strange, glowing fog, bringing with it the zombie-like ghosts of mariners seeking revenge for their deaths.
That Creepy Scene:
Local weatherman Dan O’Bannon (Charles Cyphers) calls Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau) at the radio station to tell her that another fog bank has appeared and is headed straight for Antonio Bay. As they are talking, the fog gathers outside the weather station and Dan suddenly hears a knock at the door. Leaving Stevie on the phone while he goes to answer it, Dan is killed by the ghostly mariners (his throat slit with a fisherman’s hook) while Stevie listens in horror…
The Fog was director John Carpenter’s first feature film after the success of his 1978 horror classic Halloween and continued his working relationship with Jamie Lee curtis, who plays Elizabeth Solley, a young female hitchhiker who ends up in Antonio Bay.
Curtis is joined by the legendary Tom Atkins (Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Escape from New York) and a great cast that features Adrienne Barbeau, John Houseman, Janet Leigh, and Hal Holbrook.
While not as successful or memorable as Carpenter’s Halloween or The Thing, The Fog is an atmospheric thriller with a unique setting and a classic campfire story premise. It’s not every day you see undead swashbucklers straight from the depths of Davy Jones’ locker, wreaking havoc on the gorgeous sunbathed California coastline.
If you’ve never seen Carpenter’s maritime ghost story, The Fog is a worthy addition to any horror aficionado’s film collection – just be sure to avoid the 2005 remake by Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata). One of the worst horror remakes to date, 2005’s The Fog is a PG-13 ‘teen horror’ flick starring Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, and Selma Blair. Believe me, you’re better off fighting zombie pirates in a veil of fog and mist than watching that nightmare.
Frank Darabont’s 2007 film, The Mist, is an adaptation of Stephen King‘s 1980 novella. Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, and Toby Jones. The Mist revolves around several members of the small coastal town of Bridgton, Maine. A freak thunderstorm unleashes a strange, unnatural mist which envelops the town, forcing a small band of citizens to hole up in a supermarket and fight the bloodthirsty, otherworldly monsters concealed within.
The Mist is one of my favorite modern horror films – a fantastic monster movie with impressive visual effects, terrific performances, and an ending that will absolutely stun and shock you. If you haven’t seen this, you really need to – it’s one of the best Stephen King adaptations out there, which make sense being as it’s directed by the same guy who brought you The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption.
The Mist is also partly responsible for the look and feel of AMC’s The Walking Dead – which Darabont brought to the network, along with several actors (Laurie Holden, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey DeMunn) – not to mention the the creatures of The Mist were brought to life by Greg Nicotero‘s KNB FX Group, who would aid Darabont in making The Walking Dead‘s zombies come to life – er, back to life, I guess?
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