Let Us Go In, The Fog Is Rising

So, whatever happened to John Carpenter? It’s been a long seven years since Ghosts of Mars was released- the last movie he made. He did direct two of the better episodes of Showtime’s Masters of Horror, but that’s been it. IMDB has him attached to two movies (the first supposedly dropping this year), other than that, he’s just been collecting writing credits as his movies are remade.

Today I watched The Fog and it really made me miss the guy. An old fashioned horror story about the ghosts of the past catching up with us, literally. It starts with John Houseman trying to scare the hell out of a bunch of kids by telling them a story about the events leading up to the founding of their town- the sinking of a ship 100 years ago that night. Why there are a bunch of little kids on the beach at midnight with an old man isn’t explained. Soon the fog rolls in, and the lost souls from the sunken ship enact their revenge, with Carpenter’s trademark electronic score keeping everything extra creepy. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Elizabeth Solley, a hitchhiker who seems all too ready to dive into a relationship with her latest ride just minutes after getting picked up. Adrienne Barbeau is Stevie Wayne, local radio DJ with a voice that gets all the boys hot and bothered. There are no cheap scares or gory deaths- the atmosphere is built from the first frame and the leper ghosts have minimal screen time. The rolling fog, with it’s eerie flashing lights, dominates the film and acts as the harbinger of terror. There’s even a mention of Bodega Bay, the town from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

I miss John Carpenter.

On another note, I stumbled upon this John Carpenter quote on IMDB:

I’m flattered if someone comes to me with the idea of remaking one of my films. Remake or original, making a movie still comes down to old-fashioned hard work. If it’s based on another film, well, so be it. Remakes have been part of cinema since its earliest days – think of A Star Is Born, which was remade numerous times. And they’re especially big right now because it’s become increasingly difficult to lure audiences into theaters. Advertising a remade title that may be familiar to audiences can hopefully cut through the clutter of titles and products that one sees.

Maybe he’s more of a realist than me, or maybe his spirit has been crushed by the studios. It speaks to the business side of filmmaking- getting people to watch a movie, but it doesn’t address the banality of that movie going experience.

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