John Carpenter’s 1980 release, The Fog has much to offer genre fans, including nods and winks to other horror films.Many of characters in the film are references to Carpenter’s previous work – Nick Castle (Michael Myers in Halloween and co-writer of Escape From New York), Dan O’Bannon (co-writer of Carpenter’s debut Dark Star and Alien) and Dr Phibes (named after the Vincent Price horror villain).
The Fog also a deep Hitchcockian feel to it and it shares many of the same locations as Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The Hitchcock references continue with Psycho star Janet Leigh’s casting – who is also the mother of Jamie Lee Curtis. Carpenter’s love of Howard Hawks ’s Rio Bravo and El Dorado is also present in the film’s siege finale (something which also occurs in Assault in Precinct 13 and Prince Of Darkness and Ghosts of Mars).
Written by John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill after they were inspired by a visit to a foggy StoneHenge during UK publicity duties on Assault On Precinct 13, The Fog is an old fashioned ghost story which is very different from the slasher stylings of 1978’s slasher classic Halloween. It’s an atmospheric piece that owes a lot to the writings of H.P Lovecraft, along with a small town feel which is reminiscent of many Stephen King works. The film is loosely based on a true story which saw the inhabitants of Californian costal town shipwreck a ship in order to steal its gold.
This photograph shows John Carpenter directing Adrienne Barbeau (his then wife) on the set of The Fog. Released in February 1980, The Fog grossed $21.4 million at the US box office.