The Fog 4K Restoration: What happens when the first 80’s horror film you've seen is a John Carpenter cult classic
By: Brenna Gonzalez │@Brennagonzalez5
When it comes to classic horror films or any sort of classic films, I am lacking knowledge. This is apparent any time I talk to anyone that is older than 30 years old. I am stuck in conversations that mainly consist of me being pressured into lying about seeing “The Shining” or “Halloween” just to avoid the scoff and aggressively-natured statement regarding my ignorance towards film.
So in an attempt to get these sorts of people to stop talking to me, I ventured out on a journey to try to correct my apparently-skewed path of viewing material. What place is better to start educating myself about the history of film and everything holy in cinema than a John Carpenter movie?
What followed wasn’t the usual, as this was a special showing of a very special movie. A screening of the 4K restoration of John Carpenter's The Fog (courtesy of Rialto Pictures in conjunction with the Metrograph Theater in downtown New York City) happened to conveniently allow me to skip my morning classes and instead treat myself to one hell of a ride.
IS IT WONDERFUL, OR DOES IT JUST REMIND ME OF MY SWEET GRANDMA?
I was blown away by the fast-paced storyline; it was unusual to me, as these days, movies are getting increasingly longer. In recent years, the runtimes of even the worst horror movies creep up to the two-hour mark and you usually feel it. Runtime is a thought you should never even have cross your mind, so when the credits for The Fog started to roll after what only felt like 40 minutes, I was left devastated and confused. I was intrigued by the storyline enough to actually not want it to end; I wanted more absurd horror tropes, I wanted more cheesy lines, and I wanted to hear more of the wonderful and almost orgasmic score. I just wanted to experience more of this movie as I was genuinely captivated by its charm.
The plot revolves around an idea that mariners of a shipwreck from 100 years ago are bringing vengeance on a negligent town in the form of eerie fog. It's a hard task for not only the screenwriters to accomplish but for the filmmakers as well. If it took itself too seriously, then it would've put the viewer off, but if it was too sarcastic, then we as the viewers would not be able to buy into the plot. Somehow, though, there was so much charm in its arguably-cliched manner that there was no way you didn't want to root for these characters.
The Fog is unlike modern horror in the most refreshing way. You can tell by watching the movie that it is a bit dated, and the dialogue can be spotty at times, but the score and practical visual effects give it this sense of dreaded realism to where it might actually be considered more horrifying than anything I've seen in modern horror movie. There were no cheap thrills, no jump scares, and every terrifying element of this film came from the actual practicality of the scenario. And Jamie Lee Curtis hooking up with a random man she met off the side of the street hitchhiking? The most horrifying plotline I have EVER encountered.
I find my thoughts regarding this movie to be that in many ways it isn’t really a “good” film in by traditional definitions, but yet … it also actually is? My mind is contradicting itself mainly because I am so devoted to the new that the past just usually tends to lack anything that intrigues me. The Fog, however, sparked a new kind of fascination, a fascination in the conventional cheesiness of this movie. I am starting to understand the hype around just enjoying things that are entertaining for the sake of entertainment. It also helps that John Carpenter knows what he is doing, the hype around his legacy is now backed up with abundant evidence and I am here for it.
DID 4K ADD ANYTHING TO THIS MOVIE IT DIDN'T ALREADY HAVE?
The difference between 4k and 80s quality is noticeable as even though a certain amount of grit was kept in this restoration. You can tell that it is smoother - smoother in the traditional visual sense and also in the effects, sound, all of it. For a 4k improvement upon an original piece of art to still hold the same aesthetic nature of the original while improving its quality is almost rare. Sometimes 4k looks too good, too smooth, making it a little hard to focus on the movements on the screen, but in this case, I can safely assure you that the 4k is worth setting aside an old DVD and taking a trip to a theater.
Catch a 4k restoration of John Carpenter's The Fog at the Metrograph in New York, Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles, and The Music Box Theatre in Chicago starting on Oct. 26 for limited runs. Additional screenings will also occur during the week of Halloween and throughout November at the Alamo Drafthouse and many other specialty theaters. CLICK HERE for a full list of the dates and locations!