8/16/05

John Carpenter's "The Fog"

From Forum Without a Name's "Guilty Pleasures" thread:

I'd say John Carpenter's The Fog is a prime example of a film that makes little sense*, yet is somehow effective thanks to atmosphere, a strong visual style, and terrific pacing (Carpenter knows when to keep things brisk, and when to linger a bit--well, sometimes more than a bit). The fog (which looks like it must have been a real bitch to light and shoot) makes a far stronger impression than any of the characters, which is a problem.

*It begs too many questions--why, if the spirits can manifest themselves without the fog, do they seem confined to the fog bank during the film's latter half? What's the point of delivering that plank to Adrienne Barbeau (who, incidentally, is drop-dead gorgeous here)? Barbeau seems able to connect fog to the killings without much prompting (okay, she's spending a lot of time by herself up in that lighthouse), but how do you explain Janet Leigh and friend buying the whole business on the basis of a single radio broadcast (It would help if everyone was familiar with the curse, but why does only John Houseman make any mention of the story, at the beginning (okay, his scene was a last-minute addition))? Why, if none of them are pirates, the affinity for so many hooks and sabres? And why did they save Hal Holbrook for the end?

Tonya J: Oh Gosh, I wouldn't classify The Fog as a guilty pleasure. The plot may have been inconsistent as you pointed out, but the craftmanship was obvious. I think a guilty pleasure is a film whose quality is in extreme doubt but may have performances, or at least the hot body of someone you just like in it. Maybe it was the first film you had sex afterwards or french-kissed to in the theatre, or scared the shit out of you as a teenager or child, was so bad it made you laugh out loud, or just one moment gets you every time. It's got some confluence of elements that do something for you, and it's the film whose box you might take out of your DVD/VHS tower or shelf and hide when people come over to visit.

ChrisJ: I thought the Fog was crap. It started out beautifully as described with plenty of atmosphere. Then was schlock of the very worst kind. SAFE schlock. UGH. Yeah A.B. was gorgeous in it and it was a good cast but after about 40 minutes or so it was all straight downhill.

I can understand claiming it as a guilty pleasure. I don't understand anyone saying it's a good movie.

Never saw The Fog before; only major Carpenter I think I actually missed when it came out, so this was like a fresh reaction, after all the bad reviews. I can see the plotholes are huge, and if you think about em you'll be laughing, not cringing (or cringing, but not in a good way), but for a cheap scare it works.

2 comments:

cutefurrybeast said...

Oh sure.  Pit Chris and I against each other.   Nice counterpoint though, in a "Why does Tonya think this is a good movie sort of way."

noelbotevera said...

Well, you know--I like drama, conflict, struggle-to-the-death type angst.

Also like happy endings too, and try my best to insert em when I can...