When people list their top favorite horror films, they no doubt mention John Carpenter’s Halloween almost immediately. Sure, I like the movie and absolutely consider myself a fan, but let me commit Horror Heresy over here by saying it’s NOT my favorite Carpenter classic. In fact, I’d put it solidly in 3rd Place with THE THING and THE FOG sharing a healthy lead. As I’ve recently delved into my love of the science fiction masterpiece, THE THING, while covering THING-FEST in July (seen HERE), let’s discuss the often overlooked horror film, THE FOG…
THE FOG (and I’m talking about the original and not that crappy remake) recently saw a digital-upgrade and blu-ray release (FINALLY) and I immediately watched both the film as well as the new extras (NOTE: a full review of this new release will be featured in our next post written by Terror Dave Albaugh)!
One of these bonuses was a fresh interview with Jamie Lee Curtis who stated she was “surprised” the film has garnered such a following as “it wasn’t a very good movie.” I really do appreciate Ms Curtis’ candor but couldn’t disagree more. I’d argue that since she’d later suggest the same interview that Halloween II was a better movie, the size of her role may have influenced her opinion. Though prominently featured on THE FOG’s poster (in an effort to bank on her Halloween role), she was not the lead character in this film but just a side player.
Curtis also mentioned that she had been good friends with the late producer, Debra Hill, and that there was a lot of tension on the set of THE FOG since Carpenter had left Ms Hill romantically, if not professionally, and was now in a relationship with the film’s TRUE lead, Adrienne Barbeau (whom I discussed meeting HERE). It’s possible that Curtis’ exposure to off camera drama may have overshadowed her perception of what was happening before it.
Of course there’s also the crazy notion that Curtis doesn’t like THE FOG because it really isn’t a good movie but I’m trying to have a serious discussion here people, so let’s not even go there. I’m sorry folks but I love a good “revenge from the grave” tale and THE FOG and Dark Night of the Scarecrow are the two best examples so far as this Terror Dave is concerned…end of story. Or is it?
Flashback Weekend in Chicago featured among it’s guests, an alumna from both Halloween and THE FOG, Nancy Loomis. Loomis didn’t have top billing in either film but absolutely made her mark in both; mostly for displaying her dry wit and sarcasm that permeated just about every scene she played. There was little size difference between the roles played by Curtis and Loomis in THE FOG so what did she think of the film?
I was standing in Loomis’ line while chatting with my friends, Bill and Joan Yingst. Joan was a Svengoolie/horror fan who, after seeing her youngest son graduate High School, had begun dragging her patient husband to these type of fan events in an effort to enjoy past interests. She also loves classic films in general and was excited to have just met Kim Darby who’d co-starred with John Wayne in True Grit (a week later she found a copy of the movie at a flea market and was thrilled).
The presence of the Yingst’s was a big bonus for me because it not only meant I had good company while waiting in line but that there was someone I could rely on to take my picture with Loomis. I use a Canon EOS and 90% of the time when I ask a random person to snap a photo, I either end up blurry or get an extreme close-up of my double chin! Bill owns the same type of camera I do which alleviated the need for me to hold my breath before uploading them later on.
Loomis spent lots of time with her fans and didn’t have an assistant to handle her transactions nor speed things along. This is exactly what a fan wants if they’re looking for a more substantive encounter, rather than just a signature, so I didn’t mind the wait. It also gave me a chance to watch her interact with other fans and she always seemed to ask them about themselves, not unlike Robert Patrick at the last Horrorhound Weekend in Cincinnati (seen HERE). It’s a great quality you don’t get to see much in celebrity meetings these days.
Naturally, most fans wanted to talk to her about Halloween while having her sign items relating to it. In that respect, I was no different as I’d brought along my own Halloween poster which had already been signed by John Carpenter, Dean Cundy, P.J. Soles, and Tommy Lee Wallace. After a good 45 minutes, it was finally my turn.
Loomis was extremely pleasant and looked me in the eye before offering her hand in a formal greeting. I wasted no time telling her that I’ve always wanted to meet her and that I was a bigger fan of her characters than most everyone else she’d played alongside. “I love sarcasm,” I told her. “And, my dear, you are the master!” She laughed and thanked me while seeming genuinely appreciative.
I told her that THE FOG was one of my all-times favorite films and that her role as the annoyed Sandy Fadel was hysterical; particular when making subtle jabs at her employer, Kathy Williams (played by the legendary Janet Leigh). She told me that it was working with Ms Leigh that made THE FOG such an incredible experience for her. “Just about every scene I was in was with her,” she explained. “I was so nervous being around a Hollywood legend but she could not have been more patient and kind. It’s an experience in life that I’ll always treasure.”
I asked her why she wasn’t interviewed nor asked to contribute commentary in the new blu ray extras. Loomis said she was never approached but didn’t expect to be with regard to Jamie Lee’s star power. “If they got her, what would they want with me?” she laughed. She did say she was asked to do something relating to THE FOG in the near future but wasn’t clear on the details. I shared with her the remarks made by Curtis regarding the film and asked if she agreed and how she felt about THE FOG overall.
“You know, after filming I never watched the movie again until a few years ago when I did my last Flashback Weekend appearance here in Chicago,” she said. “They ended up showing the film outside like a drive-in and that was the first time I ever really sat down and watched it. I remember being very impressed and thoroughly enjoying it. I have to say that I DO think it’s a great movie and absolutely deserves the attention it’s been getting.”
Loomis also loved the filming location in Bodega Bay, California and recalls a great day visiting the Point Reye Lighthouse with the cast before filming. I had her sign my Halloween poster and we posed for pictures (thanks, Bill!).
Some of you may be wondering with all my FOG fervor why I didn’t have her sign a poster for that film as opposed to Halloween. Well that’s a bit of a touchy subject. I did once have a poster of THE FOG that was signed by various cast and crew members but it was lost/stolen at the Horrorhound Weekend in Columbus 2012 (and I DON’T want to talk about it!!!).
Loomis was worth the wait and certainly helped clear THE FOG regarding my devotion to the film. Her signature was a nice addition to my Halloween poster as well.
The day was moving quicker than we thought so Bill, Joan, and I decided to do a quick convention walk-through before it was time to see our favorite horror host…Svengoolie!
Next week’s Flashback Chapter: Svengoolie reacts to my Gene Simmons-marked Sven shirt!