If you’ve been paying attention to the things we’ve been doing lately on this website, and our podcast, you know that we dedicated the entire year of 2012 to doing a podcast series, examining the career of one of the most prolific genre filmmakers of all time, John Carpenter. In that series, each episode tackled, in-depth, each one of the films directed by John Carpenter. This wasn’t a series of reviews, this was a look at the man, his films, what each film meant to his career and an examination of his career as a whole. So, saying we’re huge John Carpenter fans here at The Liberal Dead/Dead Air, would be a huge understatement. As luck would have it, the very next year, a surge of John Carpenter films, previously unreleased in High Definition, have been getting Blu Ray releases. Some will be coming later in the year, from various companies, but when we learn that Scream Factory will be handling one of his titles, the air is filled with excitement. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to get the WB titles on Blu as well, but we know Scream Factory loves the genre, and fans of the genre. And, based on their track record, we know each of these releases will set the bar, as to how a catalog title should be handled.
If you were to ask 10 people, which film they immediately think of when they hear the name John Carpenter, nine of the ten will say Halloween. And, don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. I just don’t think it best represents Carpenter at his best. It would be hard for me to choose just one John Carpenter film as my favorite. He has so many phenomenal movies to choose from. Assault On Precinct 13 has, while simplistic, one of the most catchy, fitting scores of his entire career. Carpenter is also responsible for one of the best films about Elvis, featuring Kurt Russel, in the two powerhouses first team-up, as The King himself. Escape From New York, Prince Of Darkness, In The Mouth Of Madness, Starman, all of these films are some of the best the genre has to offer. And, of course, The Fog, which basically reassembles the team that brought you Halloween.
Though people often refer to Carpenter as the master of horror, very few of his films actually serve as a straight up horror film. Though, to be fair, most people consider Halloween to be the pinnacle of horror filmmaking, and he has made some solid horror output, but most of his films are hard to simply classify as horror and horror alone. The Fog, from the opening scene, to the end credits, is unquestionably a horror film. I’ve always loved the way that Carpenter chose to open the story, with what appears to be a Sea Captain, telling a group of kids a ghost story late at night on the beach. This serves as both a great opening, that leaves one feeling extremely nostalgic for the way stories were told during the 1980s, but it also sets the stage for the events to unfold.
Another staple of the 80s that was utilized in JC’s The Fog, is Mister Tom Atkins, certified badass. The relationship that develops between Atkins’ character, and Jame Lee Curtis’ character, is solid, and believable. So much so that you can even excuse the fact that in one scene, he’s picking her up, hitchhiking on the side of the road, and then in the next scene, they are naked in bed together, exchanging names. Atkins and Curtis are powerhouses, as always, but the entire cast does a phenomenal job at bringing this supernatural tale to life. If, like us, you are well versed in the universe that has been created by John Carpenter and his films, you will recognize many of the faces, in front of, and behind the camera.
What’s do I even need to say about the video and audio quality of this release. I’ve heard some complaints about the color timing, but even in ‘extreme’ cases of this, such as Twilight Time’s Blu Ray release of Night of the Living Dead 1990, I have found that the outrage is mostly unjustified. The same applies here. The Fog looks better than it ever has in any previous home video incarnation. Film grain is still present, as that’s the way a movie that is shot on film is supposed to look. Blacks are solid, colors pop, details are well displayed. The audio is even more superb than the video. This is definitely the best home viewing experience I’ve ever had with John Carpenter’s The Fog. Scream Factory have quickly become the “shut up and take my money” distribution house of the year. Everything they release is of phenomenal quality. The best video and audio quality you’re ever going to get, and nine out of 10 of their releases are stacked with more extras than most people will ever be able to even consume. The Fog is no exception to this rule. If you are a fan of this film, then THIS is a release you should purchase, without question.
The Blu Ray