THE NEW ENGLAND DIARIES PART 5: Adrienne Barbeau!
While many horror fans site 1978 HALLOWEEN as their favorite John Carpenter film, I would not be one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that movie and would quickly name Michael Myers as my all time favorite slasher. The way I see it, however, Carpenter has three masterpieces; HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, and THE THING. If forced to choose a favorite among these gems, I would easily pick THE FOG.
THE FOG is one of a handful of movie greats I can watch over and over again without fatigue. As you may have gathered from past blogs, I am a big fan of “revenge from the grave” tales and, in that regard, THE FOG is the silver screen’s cream of the crop!
It is hard to pinpoint any single facet of the film that makes it so delectable to my horror palate; the gripping story, the creepy atmosphere, or Carpenter’s amazing score. If pressed, however, I would choose the performance of its star – Adrienne Barbeau! Barbeau plays DJ, “Stevie Wayne,” who runs her own radio station via a California, coastal lighthouse. Between Wayne’s sultry voice and WKAB’s electrifying “elevator music,” its no wonder her Antonio Bay listeners aren’t all wafted to sleep along with peaceful smiles on their faces. Barbeau, however, manages to make even the “squarest” music sound downright sexy. Perhaps this is why her complete on-air unraveling during the course of the film manages to create such tension during the film’s thrilling climax.
Barbeau has made numerous appearances at fan events, but I somehow always missed them. “Terror from Beyond the Daves” friend, Richard Braden, met Barbeau a few months ago at a Pennsylvania horror convention and agreed to obtain her autograph for me in exchange for Linda Blair’s, whom I met at Chicago’s Wizard Con. I had two requests; the photo he chose had to be from THE FOG along with my specifications as to what I wanted her to write. Braden delighted me by not only getting her to do this but by also choosing the perfect complimentary picture to go along with it.
Little did I know, I would be meeting her myself at the 2010 “Rock & Shock” show! As David and I stood in line to meet her, I turned to him and said, “Okay, you’re about to see me do something that I don’t normally do when meeting celebrities. I’m about to completely GUSH all over her!” David, knowing how big a fan I am of both Barbeau and THE FOG, laughed out loud. Whether he took me seriously or not, I did just that when finally standing before her.
I told her that of all the stars at “Rock & Shock” she was the one I most wanted to meet. I told her I liked her in absolutely EVERYTHING she’s been in from CREEPSHOW to BACK TO SCHOOL. “My favorite of all,” I said, “is THE FOG! I can’t tell you how much I love this movie!!!” Barbeau smiled and agreed that people have really warmed to the film over the years. Perhaps she was referring to the lukewarm reception it received upon its release. While mentioning that I also liked her in a recent appearance on the hit cable series, “Dexter,” she also informed me that she is currently acting on the television soap opera, “General Hospital.” I don’t watch soaps but, if I did, I’m sure she’d quickly be my favorite on that venue as well.
David is also a huge fan of THE FOG as well as Romero’s CREEPSHOW. He even enjoyed SWAMP THING in which he sites Barbeau as the main reason. Both of us found the 65 year old actress quite stunning and thought she was a genuinely wonderful person to talk to. Barbeau had an impressive collection of stills available for signing from her vast career as an actress. Of course I had to choose yet another picture from THE FOG and asked her to write something appropriate for the scene.
We joked about how horrible we both found the 2005 remake of THE FOG, a film I found comparable to getting raped with my pants on while watching. She said that she had never seen the movie but has heard nothing but terrible things about it. I said, “Do yourself a favor and DON’T!”
Later on we watched her interact with other fans and commented on how nice she was. At one point she spotted a baby and quickly asked its proud parents if she could hold him. I imagined the child grown up, watching THE FOG, as his elderly parents lamented on the day he was held by “Stevie Wayne.” A smile came across my face as I thought to myself…. “Lucky bastard!”