The Fog

February 8th, 1980


The Fog

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The FogThe FogThe FogStill of Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog

A Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over an old leper colony, is the target for revenge by a killer fog containing zombie-like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths.

Release Year: 1980

Rating: 6.8/10 (23,902 voted)

Director: John Carpenter

Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh

The Centenary of the small sea town, Antonio Bay, is approaching. While the townsfolk prepare to celebrate, the victims of the crime that founded the town rise from the sea to claim retribution. Under cover of the fog, they carry out their vicious attacks, searching for what is rightly theirs.

Writers: John Carpenter, Debra Hill

Adrienne Barbeau - Stevie Wayne
Jamie Lee Curtis - Elizabeth Solley
Janet Leigh - Kathy Williams
John Houseman - Mr. Machen
Tom Atkins - Nick Castle
James Canning - Dick Baxter
Charles Cyphers - Dan O'Bannon
Nancy Kyes - Sandy Fadel (as Nancy Loomis)
Ty Mitchell - Andy
Hal Holbrook - Father Malone
John F. Goff - Al Williams (as John Goff)
George 'Buck' Flower - Tommy Wallace
Regina Waldon - Mrs. Kobritz
Jim Haynie - Dockmaster
Darrow Igus - Mel

Taglines: What you can't see won't hurt you... it'll kill you!


Official Website: MGM | |

Release Date: 8 February 1980

Filming Locations: Altadena, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $21,378,361 (USA) (1980)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Director Trademark: [John Carpenter] [names] Characters Nick Castle, Dan O'Bannon, Tommy Wallace are all named after Carpenter's real-life collaborators from his previous films. Mrs Kobritz was named after Richard Kobritz, Carpenter's producer on Someone's Watching Me!.

Continuity: When we hear Stevie say, "It's 1:00," we are looking at Nick's clock radio. His clock says 1:40.

Stevie Wayne: Well, my gauges must be wrong. I've got a wind blowing due east. Now what kind of a fog blows against the wind?
Dan O'Bannon: You got me.
Stevie Wayne: I'm not so sure I want you.

User Review

Old-fashioned horror movie works like a charm

Rating: 6/10


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: Mono

While celebrating its centenary birthday, a small Californian coastal town is visited by a ghostly fog containing an army of murderous spirits who take revenge for a terrible injustice.

Released on a wave of expectation following the worldwide success of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (1978), THE FOG surprised everyone by generating only moderate returns at the US box-office, though it's arguably the better of the two films. Beautifully photographed by Carpenter stalwart Dean Cundey (BACK TO THE FUTURE, JURASSIC PARK, etc.), this unassuming 'ghost story' opens on a lonely clifftop at midnight, where crusty old sea dog John Houseman tells an audience of wide-eyed children how their home town was built on the foundations of tragedy. As with HALLOWEEN, the pace is slow but steady, punctuated by a series of well-judged scares, and there's a relentless accumulation of details which belies the script's modest ambitions.

Jamie Lee Curtis headlines the movie opposite her real life mother Janet Leigh, though Hal Holbrook takes the acting honors as a frightened priest who realizes the town was founded on deception and murder. As the fog rolls in, the narrative reaches an apocalyptic crescendo, as the film's principal cast are besieged by zombie-like phantoms inside an antiquated church, in scenes reminiscent of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). Scary stuff, to be sure, though Carpenter was forced to add new material during post-production in an effort to 'beef up' the movie's horror quotient, including a memorable late-night encounter between a fishing boat and the occupants of a ghostly schooner which looms out of the swirling fog (similar scenes would be added to HALLOWEEN II in 1981 for the same reasons, though under less agreeable circumstances). Production values are solid, and Carpenter cranks up the tension throughout, resulting in a small masterpiece of American Gothic. Highly recommended.


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