Horror books often find themselves on the silver screen and with mixed results. The Exorcist, JAWS, and The Omen are positive examples of book-to-movies but, unfortunately, for every Misery, there’s a Dreamcatcher. Sometimes the book is inspired by the film rather than its source material but, either way, there’s bound to be differences; subtle or profound. Today’s vintage book discussion is more of a rumble than a review and between one of my favorite John Carpenter films and a book written by Dennis Etchison to promote it. So let’s jump back to 1980 and revisit The FOG…
It has been mentioned many times on this site that John Carpenter’s THE FOG is a favorite movie of both Daves. Unfortunately, up until recently, good quality versions of this film have been non-existent. Even the blu-ray that was available as an import on Amazon for so long was just a blu-ray version of the MGM Special edition that came out many years ago (in other words, it was less than perfect). Once again Shout! Factory has gone to great lengths to provide us with a great release in its best form to date! These guys know what they are doing and know what the fans want!
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 inimitable “Russ Wrangler” arrived at my place around 1pm; all smiles and full of energy. Clad in sunglasses and sandals, he looked more prepared for a day at the beach as opposed to a horror convention but clearly the overall message was “vacation” and a welcomed one at that. We loaded my things and immediately embarked for Indianapolis with no lulls in conversation, making the drive go by much quicker.
This was my third Days of the Dead in Indianapolis (fourth overall) and Russ’ second. I remember attending the very first one while being impressed with how fan-friendly it was; something I’d hoped hadn’t changed. It seems like fan conventions of any kind start off slow and friendly and, should they find success, later become out-of-control Goliath’s with the fans getting lost somewhere in the mix.
There was no question that the big draw for the 2011 FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST was John Carpenter. If you’re a horror fan, the prospect of meeting a legend such as this is one few could pass up. After all, this is the man who grabbed a few friends and made a low budget/independent film, not knowing all the while that it would become one of the grandaddy horror films of all time ( HALLOWEEN) and a cultural phenomena. Far from a “one shot wonder,” Carpenter would also give us ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, and one of my all-time favorites – THE FOG. Like his fellow Master of Horror, Dario Argento, his best work appears to be far behind but is still one of the best film resume’s around.
The last convention The Daves attended together was New England’s “Rock & Shock” back in October. One of the highlights of that event was the opportunity to meet Adrienne Barbeau (see full details HERE) as she was a key player in one of my all-time favorite films, THE FOG.
The 2011 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend provided two more celebrity encounters from that iconic film; Tommy Lee Wallace & Tom Atkins. The Daves meeting the Toms was one of our top Horrorhound priorities! Aside from THE FOG, both men have been involved in many other iconic horror films from the 1980’s (our teenage years). This was also the golden age of slashers as well as a prolific period in the horror genre itself.
So we all have our favorite movies and we all have our personal reasons as to why they are our favorites. We all also have movies that we can just watch over and over again, never tiring of them. That is what this list is all about. What is interesting about this list, is that some of my all time favorite films do not even fall on it. Even though a movie may be a favorite of mine, it doesn’t mean that I can watch it repeatedly and still enjoy it as much as I did the first time I watched…this aspect is actually rare in a film for me. As much as I love DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979), THE FOG (1980), THE THING (1982) and HALLOWEEN (1978), I cannot watch these movies repeatedly and usually limit them to one viewing a year. This list comprises those movies that I watch multiple times a year, sometimes more than once a month…they are THAT good to me! I have listed them in alphabetical order since I do not necessarily prefer one over another.