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I kicked off my Halloween viewing season by watching director John Carpenter’s atmospheric ghost tale, The Fog, which was his follow-up to his 1978 smash, Halloween.

 

[Spoilers Ahead]

 

Filmed in the spring of 1979 and released in February 1980, The Fog is set in the fictional coastal town of ‘Antonio Bay’ in northern California. As the town prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, uninvited party guests in the form of undead sailors who died 100 years before arrive for the celebration; seeking vengeance. What comes to light is that the sailors were actually lepers who wanted to form a community north of the town. Six town members tricked them into crashing their ship on the rocks during a dense fog and then stole the gold the lepers had amassed in hope of building their community.

 

The Fog is a well-told ghost tale that is all the more effective because much is left to the imagination. The undead pirates appear mostly in shadows or thick fog which aids the believability of the central tale. Also contributing to the overall atmosphere is Carpenter’s deliberately slow pacing. There are only a few shocks in the movie’s first 60 minutes before the action really gets going in the last 30 minutes. The sense of mounting dread makes the final mayhem more effective (although young audiences of today may find the build-up too slow.)

 

Several Halloween alumni appear in this, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis and Charles Cyphers. Joining the fun are Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins, who would become important members of the repertory company of actors moving from one Carpenter film to another during this period. (Barbeau, Atkins, Cyphers and Curtis (uncredited) would join Halloween vets Donald Pleasance and Nancy Stephens in Carpenter’s next film, Escape from New York, and Curtis, Pleasance, Loomis, Cyphers and Stephens would all return for the Carpenter written and produced, Halloween II.)

 

But the biggest star of the movie is the northern California coastal setting itself. The remoteness of the locations and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean add a lot to the overall mood. Special mention must go to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which serves as the radio station from which Adrienne Barbeau's character makes her nightly broadcasts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Reyes_Lighthouse

 

The Fog isn't the scariest of movies and it isn't especially gory (by late-70s/early-80s standards) but, if you like ghost stories, this is a very satisfying one.

 

Edited by miliosr

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I haven’t seen that and you make me curious to do so, thanks.

Movies I like to watch around this time of year:

 “The Haunting,” even if I prefer the book’s ending. (Out of curiosity I saw the remake with Liam Neeson, et al. – I didn’t think it could be worse than I expected, but there you go.)

“The Legend of Hell House” 

“At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul”

“The Shining,” natch.

"The Omen" - original w/ Peck & Remick. I was hoping “The Omen: The Final Conflict” would be good bad fun, which it wasn’t, and even watching Sam Neill was insufficient compensation.

“Carnival of Souls”

“The Abominable Dr. Phibes” 

TV: If you have the Decades channel or Amazon Prime, there’s the original “Dark Shadows.”

I’ve never gotten around to seeing the 2000 reissue of “The Exorcist.” I may try that if it's available.

miliosr, how do you rate the follow up “Halloween” pictures?

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7 hours ago, dirac said:

“The Legend of Hell House” 

miliosr, how do you rate the follow up “Halloween” pictures?

The Legend of Hell House is an unsung classic. It has a great cast (Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall) and is very faithful to Richard Matheson's book.

As far as rating the Halloween movies, here goes:

  • Halloween (from 1978) is a true horror masterpiece and remains influential to this very day.
  • I have a strong liking for Halloween II (from 1981) with its hospital setting, ominous mood and slow build-up. (For better or for worse, you can also see the impact the Friday the 13th franchise had on the Halloween franchise with the increase in gore in Halloween II.)
  • Halloween III exists outside the Laurie Strode-Michael Myers continuity so I have no strong feelings about that.
  • Parts IV-VI (w/ Donald Pleasance but without Jamie Lee Curtis) start out OK (Part IV) and end up as terrible (Part VI).
  • H2O from 1998 (w/ Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the franchise after 17 years) has its moments but the tone is uncertain (LL Cool J in a Halloween movie?)
  • H20's immediate sequel, Resurrection, is awful but for the beginning with Jamie Lee Curtis' character Laurie duking it out again with Michael.
  • The two Rob Zombie "reimaginings" from the 00s should be avoided at all costs -- they are repulsive.
  • Last year's Halloween, which set aside all continuity from Halloween II onward, felt more like a series of set pieces from the other movies strung together rather than an actual movie. Curtis was fantastic in it, though, as she returned to her signature role after 20 years. (Be warned: The body count is astronomical in this movie.)

Filming has already begun on a sequel to the 2018 Halloween. Curtis returns as Laurie as do Kyle Richards (Lindsay) and Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Brackett) from the 1978 movie.

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Thanks. I saw the first of the Rob Zombie pictures - awful.

Quote

The Legend of Hell House is an unsung classic. It has a great cast (Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall) and is very faithful to Richard Matheson's book.

Yup. I'd say The Haunting is slightly overrated and Hell House considerably underrated - although I have something of the same issue with book v. movie - I thought Matheson's original ending less simplified.

Come on, there must be someone else out there watching??

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I've caught my first Christopher Lee Dracula movie while channel surfing last week.  My heart still belongs to Frank Langella and Bela Lugosi.  A tiny little corner goes to an English production starring Louis Jourdan than was shown on PBS a gazillion years ago.

Edited by lmspear
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On ‎10‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 3:36 PM, lmspear said:

I've caught my first Christopher Lee Dracula movie while channel surfing last week.

Fun fact: John Carpenter offered the part of Dr. Loomis in Halloween to Christopher Lee but he turned it down! Later in life, Lee told Carpenter that turning down Halloween was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made in the business.

I have a soft spot for the two Christopher Lee-Peter Cushing 'Draculas' the two of them made together in the early-70s -- Dracula A.D. 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. Moving the Hammer 'Dracula' series from the 19th century to the early-70s was a novel idea. Not everything works but there are some genuine scares in both.

 

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Watched one of the greatest of all slasher films, Friday the 13th, this weekend.

Filmed in fall 1979 and released in 1980, Friday the 13th -- even more than Halloween -- ignited the slasher craze that overtook the horror genre (and the box office) in the early-1980s. Dispensing with any attempt at being artistic, Friday the 13th established many of the conventions that came to rule the genre -- the isolated setting (Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in northern New Jersey), the sinister ambience, the local figure warning of doom (Crazy Ralph) who no one pays any attention to, the point-of-view being the killer's, etc.

[Spoilers Ahead]

Friday the 13th is still marvelously effective after all these years even when you know the jump scares are coming (and when the characters are being incredibly stupid.) The movie really hits its stride in the last 25 minutes when Betsy Palmer shows up as the deranged Mrs. Voorhees. Palmer plays the part with gusto and her performance has been rightly celebrated as a horror classic. Even though she was in her early 50s when she took the part (so she could buy a new car!), Palmer gives her all duking it out with 'The Last Girl,' Alice (played by Adrienne King).

And still one of the great shock endings in horror history!

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23 hours ago, miliosr said:

Friday the 13th is still marvelously effective after all these years even when you know the jump scares are coming (and when the characters are being incredibly stupid.)

There's also a brief shot of young Kevin Bacon's butt, for anyone interested.

SPOILER:

 

 

 

Why oh why did you let Mrs. Voorhees in, Alice? You’re supposed to be the SMART one !!!

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55 minutes ago, dirac said:

SPOILER:

 

 

 

Why oh why did you let Mrs. Voorhees in, Alice? You’re supposed to be the SMART one !!!

And that's not even the dumbest thing she does!

[Spoilers Ahead]

  • After Bill (Bing Crosby's son, Harry) and she find a bloodied axe in a bed, she goes to sleep on a couch.
  • Then she makes herself a cup of hot chocolate.
  • She also repeatedly drops the weapon she's holding or fails to pick up Mrs. Voorhees' weapons (until the fourth and final fight.)

I will say that my favorite scene in the entire movie involves Alice. After Crazy Ralph delivers his warning of doom to Alice and two other counselors, he races to his bicycle outside the cabin he was hiding in and cycles away. Alice is the only one to follow him out and it's such a creepy moment: the twilight, the wind picking up and, especially, the look of consternation on Alice's face. It's a great 'Last Girl' moment -- the most perceptive member of the group slowly realizing all is not as it appears.

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I made this spooky compilation of Lady Macbeth sleepwalking scenes and have been watching it. Callas, Gencer, Galvany, Verrett, Sass, Dimitrova, Serjan, Monastyrska, and Netrebko. I actually love all the renditions. Really surprised by Sylvia Sass. She wasn't someone that was ever on my radar but her sleepwalking scene is intense.

 

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