“11:55, almost midnight. Enough time for one more story. One more story before 12:00, just to keep us warm. In five minutes, it will be the 21st of April. 100 years ago on the 21st of April, out in the waters around Spivey Point, a small clipper ship drew toward land. Suddenly, out of the night, the fog rolled in. For a moment, they could see nothing, not a foot in front of them.”
This is of course the start of the monologue that begins John Carpenter’s The Fog, relayed by actor John Houseman. His character goes on to explain that the Elizabeth Dane crashed into the rocks on that night 100 years ago, sending the entire crew deep down into a watery grave. Legend has it that whenever the fog returns to Antonio Bay, the ghosts of the ship return with it.
I remember the exact day that I fell in love with The Fog. It was on a Friday night, July 16th of 2010. I remember this because on that night, I attended a double feature of The Fog and Halloween 3 in Rochester, New York – an event hosted by t-shirt company Fright Rags and attended by none other than the star of both films, Tom Atkins. I had seen it at least a couple of times over the years, but it wasn’t until I saw The Fog in 35mm on that night that I realized just how much I adored it. As I wrote back then, “it might be my favorite Carpenter flick of all time.”
Of course, choosing a favorite John Carpenter movie is a nearly impossible task, but The Fog makes a pretty good case for being looked up to as peak Carpenter. The score, composed and performed by Carpenter himself, is one of the eeriest in the horror genre’s history, and the atmospheric visuals effectively turn simple low-lying clouds into the stuff of nightmares.
A truly scary horror movie never quite exits your subconscious. And you better believe that every time I encounter thick fog, I wonder what (or who) is waiting for me on the other side.
The Fog is a chilling masterpiece that only John Carpenter could have made (I know this because someone else tried and it was absolutely terrible), and I’m looking forward to my annual tradition of giving it a re-watch tonight: the night of April 21st. It may not be ever be considered an official holiday, but if Alien gets its own “Alien Day,” then we hereby christen April 21st “Fog Day.”
So happy Fog Day, friends. You know how you should celebrate.