Following the success of Halloween, John Carpenter was offered a two-picture deal with Avco-Embassy, the first film being 1980’s The Fog. As a film, it never quite reaches the thrills of Carpenter’s previous hit, but does manage to offer up a few scares, nonetheless. The Fog comes to Blu-ray with a new high-definition transfer supervised by Director of Photography Dean Cundey, and Scream! Factory has ported over most of the bonus features from the previous MGM DVD release, with two new interviews exclusive to this release.
Studio: Scream Factory
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Run Time: 1 Hr. 30 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-rayStandard Single-disc Blu-ray Keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 07/30/2013
On the eve of Antonio Bay’s centennial celebration, strange things begin to happen. Windows shatter, objects fall from the ceiling, car alarms go off by themselves, phones ring for no apparent reason. The town’s priest, Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), finds his grandfather’s journal among the rubble from a piece of the church’s ceiling that has collapsed. Upon reading the journal, he discovers that his grandfather, along with the town’s founding fathers, deliberately murdered the crew of the Elizabeth Dane and sank the ship to prevent the captain from establishing a leper colony nearby. The founders also plundered the ship for its gold to finance the building of the church. As the celebration begins, the crew of the Elizabeth Dane exact their revenge on the town.
The Production Rating: 3/5
I first saw John Carpenter’s The Fog upon its initial theatrical release way back in 1980, and found it to be quite boring. My appreciation of film has changed over the years, and watching it again nearly 33 years later, while there is much to admire about the film, it’s just not all that scary and the pacing just too slow. This was Carpenter’s theatrical follow-up to the highly successful Halloween, and the first of a two-picture deal with Avco-Embassy, so perhaps the bar was raised too high on this picture. The Fog has a great ensemble cast, including Hal Holbrook; Adrienne Barbeau as the town’s late-night DJ, Stevie Wayne; Jamie Lee Curtis as the young hitch-hiking artist Elizabeth Solley; Janet Leigh as the town’s mayor, Kathy Williams; Tom Atkins as truck driver Nick Castle; John Houseman as an old man telling ghost stories by the campfire; Charles Cyphers as the local weatherman, Dan O’Bannon. The real star of the film, though, is Dean Cundey’s cinematography, adding a much-needed level of atmosphere and eeriness in the way the fog effects are photographed. Carpenter would redeem himself just one-year later with the exceptional Escape From New York.
The 1080p transfer compressed using the AVC codec retains the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and has never looked better. Colors are well-saturated and consistent, blacks are inky while retaining much of the detail, and film grain is left virtually intact. All of this should be no surprise, since this was a newly-minted transfer, supervised by The Fog’s Director of Photography, Dean Cundey.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
As with most Scream! Factory titles, The Fog contains a 5.1 remix and an original 2.0 mono soundtrack, both in DTS-HD Master Audio. The 5.1, for the most part, remains faithful to the original mono theatrical mix. Dialogue is directed to the center channel, with music and effects spread across the front left, center, and right channels, with some bleeding into the surrounds when needed.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
Most of the special features from the previous MGM DVD release have been ported over on this new Shout! Factory Blu-ray, with some new features added to this release.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
Audio Commentary with John Carpenter and Debra Hill
**NEW** Audio Commentary with Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, and Tommy Lee Wallace: Moderated by Sean Clark (Horror Hound magazine), the three discuss making The Fog, often having fun and sharing stories in this brand-new commentary.
**NEW** My Time With Terror with Jamie Lee Curtis (HD; 21:46): The actress discusses her career after making Halloween, and how The Fog helped kick it into gear in this recent interview.
**NEW** Dean of Darkness with Dean Cundey (HD; 18:40): The film’s Director of Photography discusses using anamorphic widescreen effectively, working with John Carpenter, and his overall career in this new interview.
**NEW** Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: A Look at the Film’s Locations (HD; 20:22): Sean Clark takes us on a tour of many of the film’s locations.
Fear On Film: Inside The Fog (SD; 7:42)
Tales from the Mist: Inside The Fog (SD; 27:58)
The Fog: Storyboard to Film (HD; 1:26)
Outtakes (SD; 4:10)
Special Effects Tests (SD; 2:39)
Theatrical Trailers (HD; 4:34)
TV Spots (SD; 3:05)
Photo Gallery (HD; 8:02)
Storyboards (HD; 2:18)
ABC Sunday Night Movie Promo (SD; 1:02): Accessible as an Easter Egg.
Reversible Cover: Choose between the new Scream! Factory artwork, or the classic movie poster .
The Fog is not one of my favorite John Carpenter films, but it is nice to see it arrive on Blu-ray, and, as always, Shout! Factory has packed their edition with a great transfer as well as some nice bonus features.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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