THE FOG (2005)- THE REMAKE OF JOHN CARPENTER’S THE FOG (1980). DIRECTED BY RUPERT WAINWRIGHT. PRODUCED BY JOHN CARPENTER, DEBRA HILL AND DAVID FOSTER. STARRING TOM WELLING, MAGGIE GRACE, SELMA BLAIR AND RADE SHERBEDGIA. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I feel dreadfully disloyal for saying this, but I pretty much hated this film. Why disloyal? Well, because dear old John Carpenter himself was one of the producers of this remake of his own superb 1980 horror movie, and I hate to say anything negative about anything he’s put his name to, but man…! This remake sucked, to use a popular piece of vernacular. I’m sooo sorry, Mr. Carpenter. Please don’t hate me…
John Carpenter’s THE FOG (1980) is one of the best- and scariest- horror movies ever made. It’s jammed to the rafters with atmosphere (and mist…!), it has a fantastically sinister, menacing score written by John Carpenter himself and it’s got a fantastic cast.
Hal Holbrook was brilliant as the alcoholic priest Fr. Malone. Adrienne Barbeau shone as the disc jockey with balls who fought off the spectral mariners all by herself from her lonely lighthouse. I personally loved that the real-life mother-and-daughter team of Janet PSYCHO Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis (HALLOWEEN) starred together in the film. It just gave me such a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside. They’re my two favourite scream queens and I love ’em both to bits.
The ghosts of the returned sailors in the original film were bloody terrifying, to put it mildly. When they were banging on doors with their giant hooks and lurking in the fog (a proper pea-souper, missus!), I was hiding behind a cushion. When their huge old-fashioned ship sailed silently into view of the modern-day sailors, I held my breath. By the time the ghosts swarmed all over the church and the lighthouse at the end, the paramedics were practically defibrillating me on the living-room floor. (By which I mean, I was having distinct palpitations.) It’s just such a terrifically atmospheric scary film. Honestly, I can’t stress that enough.
I’m afraid the remake falls drastically short in the atmosphere stakes. I’m not going to denigrate individual actors/actresses but, let’s face it, the original cast was always going to be a hard act to follow. There’s no performance in the remake that really stands out to me as noteworthy, whereas the original film was chock-a-block with stellar performances.
The actual haunting in the remake isn’t up to much either. There’s nothing to be really frightened of in it. The ghosts, naturally, are CGI efforts and I didn’t find them terribly scary, and I was scared stiff of Michael Jackson’s THRILLER video when I first saw it a few years ago…! Well, it was scary to me, okay? I’ve always been spooked by zombies, even showbizzy dancing ones. Especially showbizzy dancing ones, if I’m honest. They’re practically the worst kind.
The plot is more or less the same. The picturesque little American coastal town of Antonio Bay is planning its centenary, just as the ghosts of dead lepers robbed and brutally murdered by the town’s founding fathers are planning a comeback. The town was built on money stolen from the poor lepers, who are shown being burnt alive by their double-crossing killers. Their story is told a bit more graphically this time round. The victims of the founding fathers’ murderous cruelty and greed are coming back for revenge against the town that treated them so shabbily. And this time, they’re wearing hats…
The film-makers this time round have tacked on a love story by making Elizabeth, the Jamie Lee Curtis character, the reincarnation of Blake’s wife, Blake being the head ghost and revenge-getter-in-chief. Does it work? Meh. You decide. They’ve also taken breathy-voiced disc jockey Stevie Wayne out of the lighthouse for her final showdown. That was the best bit, Goddammit…! Mind you, the lighthouse in the remake isn’t up to much either. Maybe it wouldn’t have been able to withstand all the excitement. I know. Miaow, right…? I’m such a bitch.
If I’m harsh on this remake, it’s only because the original is one of my favourite horror films, along with John Carpenter’s other huge success, HALLOWEEN, and Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. I’ve seen many remakes that worked really well but this just ain’t one of ’em. Again, I’m soo sorry, Mr. Carpenter…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY