Essays · Movies

31 Days of Horror: The Fog (1980)

By  · Published on October 30th, 2012

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy!


A small northern California town celebrates its centennial, but when a thick, mysterious fog envelops the town the residents discover their history may not be one worth celebrating. Elizabeth (Jamie Lee Curtis) is just passing through when the nightmare begins, but she’s quickly drawn into a fight for her life alongside the studly Nick Castle (Tom Atkins), suspiciously guilty priest (Hal Holbrook) and sexy-voiced DJ Stevie (Adrienne Barbeau). Something is in the fog, and it’s armed with sharp-edged weapons.

Killer Scene:

Once the dangers within the fog are identified Stevie begins broadcasting its whereabouts to help listeners escape death, but when she sees it move towards the house where her son and his babysitter are all she can do is plead across the airwaves. Elizabeth and Nick hear her desperation and race to the house to help only to find the sword and hook-wielding phantoms forcing their way into little Andy’s bedroom. John Carpenter’s score builds as they work to get the boy out a window before he’s impaled on a ghostly blade.

Kill Sheet


The presence of young Curtis (and a clean-shaven Atkins) automatically warrants a half-skull worth of sexiness, but aside from a nudity-free few minutes in bed the film is free of sexual distractions.


John Carpenter’s films are never overtly or graphically violent, but several folks do meet their end here. Fishermen, meteorologists and elderly babysitters alike are stabbed, slashed and skewered with abandon. One poor guy has both his eyes punctured before making a brief return from the dead.


For all of his horror films, Carpenter isn’t often thought of as man who makes truly scary movies. The Fog is a great example though of his ability to do just that. There are some fine jump scares here as well as some truly tense scenes like the one described above, Stevie’s ordeal once the fog invades the lighthouse and a few more choice scenes.

Final Thoughts

The Fog is one of Carpenter’s many early career classics that continue to hold their effectiveness decades later. Sure it’s dated in some respects, but it works beautifully thanks to Carpenter’s direction, his and Debra Hill’s morally-centered script, Dean Cundey’s cinematography, the wonderfully creepy visuals of the fog and the phantoms within and Carpenter’s own score that evokes a spooky and suspenseful atmosphere. Some people complain about the pacing, but it’s actually perfectly suited to a ghostly tale told by a late-night campfire. Also, they’re idiots.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.