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JOHN CARPENTER DIRECTS ADRIANNE BARBEAU IN 'THE FOG'

Year of Theatrical Release for The Fog: 1980
In a way, John Carpenter's THE FOG is a zombie flick since, like those trudging, sinewy foes, the titular weather-pattern wraiths move in a slow, nightmarish pace...

And within that mobile, misty shroud are what you'd get from a good old fashion ghost story, which this is John Carpenter's version of, literally...

Beginning with old man John Houseman spinning a campfire legend to kids while setting the plot in motion: Their small seaport town was founded on a deception that a ship of lepers was accidentally destroyed by nature — with enough gold to get the town's proverbial ball rolling. And now in its 100-year centennial celebration, the wraiths, brandishing giant hooks, blades and resembling demonic fisherman with hidden hooded faces, are after exactly six people — their own unlucky number that's now unlucky for the surprisingly low body-count in what's also Carpenter's laidback "drinking movie" of sorts...

Adrienne Barbeau in THE FOG
Where Adrianne Barbeau, the director's then-wife, stars as a sexy but tough and independent (but never pushy) watchtower radio station owner: a sultry-voiced deejay of porn-like jazz, and otherwise providing a sort of strategic Roman Chorus for the fog's momentum; alerting both the characters where it's headed and the audience where the characters should go because of it...

THE FOG Rates: ****1/2
Meanwhile, Carpenter's HALLOWEEN star Jamie Lee Curtis falls head-over-heels for a noticeably older-man, and one of the director's regular regulars, tough guy actor Tom Atkins...

If not unrealistically then way too soon, and in a contrived, male fantasy fashion. Ironically, the same thing happens with Stacey Nelkin in HALLOWEEN III, and both girls make the first move for a man who basically resembles their middle-aged uncle's blue collar drinking buddy...

And yet, as hitchhiker and driver... the latter investigating his best friend's disappearance on a fishing boat leading to a cool "ghost ship" scenario... the duo provides an added bonus to alleviate Barbeau from having to work too hard. Different than HALLOWEEN and similar to THE THING and PRINCE OF DARKNESS, this is more of an ensemble, and, just as he would later on, Carpenter juggles his characters with balance and precision.

Janet Leigh and Hal Holbrook in THE FOG
Unlike most main female characters of this genre, the voluptuous brunette Barbeau is definitely no cliché uptight virgin: well into her thirties, she has a curious young son who, while they are separated, gives Atkins and Curtis someone to protect along with an actual urgency and purpose leading to a narrowed-down third act...

But it's the town's basement-dwelling priest, played with perfect ambiguity by Hal Holbrook, who steals the show while telling half of it. Meanwhile, added to the mix is Jamie Lee's mom, legendary PSYCHO starlet Janet Leigh who, alongside another HALLOWEEN ingenue and Carpenter regular, Nancy Loomis, provide a second duo to follow towards a particular location — where everyone winds up except the lighthouse-trapped Barbeau... And the split-second surprise-ending is one of the greatest ever in this solid and vastly underrated, personal favorite Carpenter vehicle that, compared to his more celebrated films surrounding, seemed to roll under the pop culture horror movie radar: A cult film's cult film, if you will. 
Steel-case and Autographed Blu signed by Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers and Adrienne Barbeau
Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins in John Carpenter's THE FOG
Janet Leigh and Nancy Loomis in John Carpenter's THE FOG
Establishing shot of the fog shrouded home in John Carpenter's THE FOG
Tommy Lee Wallace and company seek final justice in John Carpenter's THE FOG
"Father, can I get paid?" John Carpenter director cameo... looking like a future Nicky Katt in... THE FOG
Jamie Lee Curtis goes for a ride in John Carpenter's The Fog
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