(1980, Dir. by John Carpenter.)
Why It's Here:
John Carpenter's follow-up to Halloween - a movie you just might see later on this list - is one of those horror films that is truly one-of-a-kind. Aside from a haphazard remake, there are very few supernatural tales out there that capitalize on the same supernatural feeling that exists in most of the film's scenes. The movie plays like a mixed bowl of horror standards with a few slasher movie tricks thrown in, and a cast of wonderful actors keeps the film afloat while Carpenter shows off his mastery of the genre.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
I think the opening moments - from the Edgar Allan Poe quote to a campfire story by John Houseman to opening credits full of paranormal hijinx - do as much for setting the tone for this film than any opening sequence ever has. It's immediately established that anything can happen in the world of The Fog, and we're already uneasy before the characters and setting are set up during the following daylight hours.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
Dan O'Bannon and John Carpenter had one heckuva falling out around the end of the '70s, but that doesn't mean their styles stopped working together. The O'Bannon scripted Dead & Buried - directed by the severely underrated Gary Sherman - shares the same ominous mood and sets its story in a similar seaside town. The stories differ greatly, but the combo seems like a fun dose of supernatural fun to me.
What It Means To Me:
The Fog has never been my favorite Carpenter film - it probably would struggle to make my top five, even - but that doesn't mean I don't dig it greatly. It's a prototype for what I want from a "midnight movie", and it seems like it's gotten better with each viewing. I still have some issues with the story to work out, but I can take in the cast and the style of The Fog any day.