John Carpenter’s The Fog is Back in 4K

My life is almost complete. I saw The Fog in 4k.

Let’s rewind this a little bit, shall we? John Carpenter’s The Fog is one of my favorite horror films of all time. It’s a bit strange that I so rarely watch it, unlike Evil Dead 2 or An American Werewolf in London, which I will watch any given chance.  The Fog and some other films are just at level in my brain that I do not allow myself to burn out. Such films that feel like masterworks of their genre are extra savory to me. I avoid watching them too much so that every time I see them it’s a fairly fresh experience and my love for them remains strong.

Well, I hadn’t seen The Fog in at least 10 years, so I was more than due. I had heard that they recently found enough pristine prints to put together a 4K release and I was very excited to buy that 4k Blu-Ray once it was released. To my surprise, I received an invite to a press screening for the limited theatrical re-release of the film in 4k, and behold, my joy was met with horror-fan glee and child-like squeals.

Now, as this isn’t a brand new film being released, I’m not going to do the usual review style with a letter or number grade, but just tell you about what I felt while watching this for the first time in a theatrical setting, as an adult. See, this movie was filmed the year I was born, so I was never able to see it in a proper theater. Add that to the fact that, over time, it was nearly impossible to see this in theaters thanks to beat-up, scarred and unplayable prints only being readily available, my time had finally come.

Rialto Pictures and StudioCanal did us justice. The Fog retains every bit of that 1979 grit you expect but with the clarity and definition of “now.” There are moments where I really got to enjoy seeing things that John Carpenter did but never realized before. I’m not sure if it’s solely because of the 4k presentation or because I’m much older than the last time I saw the movie, but either way, I was able to notice  more of his interesting choices than I ever had before. For instance, there is a shot near the beginning of the film where the camera pans up to two security mirrors at a closed shopping center as a stock boy hears someone or something rattling bottles and goods in the store. It was an interesting choice to view the scene in, as opposed to just following the kid around the store.

Understated nuance and interesting angles really come through in this new transfer. Shots that I thought were mistakenly out of focus, at first, were clearly done on purpose to give you that eerie feeling as the presence of the undead Blake leper colony starts to make their way toward land. It adds just a bit extra flavor to the terror that the town is about to feel.

Honestly, the horror and terror is palpable. I really forgot just how creepy this film is and how much star power is packed into this ensemble cast. There is almost no main star in this film. Just about everyone in it does an equal job of heavy lifting, from the weird and sudden age-gapped romance between Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins, to the sultry tones of Adrienne Barbeau’s DJ Stevie Wayne who is left mostly to the sidelines as an observer. Even she still gets to have some battle time with the ghoulish terrors that come from the depths off Antonio Bay.

One of the things I love the most about this film is how well developed the backstory is, while also leaving enough unexplained for you to just have to accept things as they are. Why have these corpses risen 100 years after they were lead to their death by the founders of Antonio Bay? Who cares? It’s a creepy curse. You just let it happen and enjoy the scary stuff that comes with it. And boy, is there oodles of it.

The Fog is a classic, creepy yarn, perfect to see in late October, around Halloween, and still packs enough scares and creepy moments for even the most hardcore of horror fans. John Carpenter’s score and the creep-factor the fog brings with it into this film’s ambiance really lends it to that one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. If this great, classic horror film is playing at a theater near you, be sure to grab yourself a ticket before it’s gone and you have to wait another 100 years for Blake to scare the bejeezus out of you.


The Metrograph, New York

Landmark’s Nuart Theatre, Los Angeles

The Music Box Theatre, Chicago

The Carolina Theatre, Durham

Regent Square Theatre, Pittsburgh (Star Tom Atkins will appear opening night) Northwest Film Forum, Seattle

Hollywood, Portland OR

The Senator Theatre, Baltimore

The Texas Theatre, Dallas

Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas nationwide

(Including Austin and key Texas cities)

Full list of bookings: