John Carpenter is rocking it. The seventy-year-old writer-director-composer-performer has his hands on the $95 million-grossing revisiting of “Halloween,” directed by David Gordon Green, with the score by Carpenter and his collaborators from his three recent solo albums, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. And now, a week after that movie’s release, we are graced with the 4K digital release of his shadow-scalloped follow-up, “The Fog,” in front of us. The first of his apocalypse-tinctured run of movies that ran through “They Live,” “The Fog,” like too many independently produced movies of the mid-to-late twentieth century, was lost in the shuffle of indifferent archiving and sale after sale of archives. While Carpenter himself is comically amused by anything except the gleeful prospect of cool cash—“Oh God, no. Don’t ever make me do that,” Carpenter told the Guardian in September 2017. “I don’t want to see them again. I see the mistakes. That’s all I can see. It’d be torture. Are you kidding? I don’t want anything to do with them after I’m done.” Fortunately, others do, and the rich color cinematography by Dean Cundey gleams with shadow-drenched goodness in its new digital life, heightening the crisp confidence of Carpenter’s Val Lewton-like atmosphere. The actors—Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins and Hal Holbrook—are also having the time of their life in that moment of independent cinema as a maybe-malevolent mist settles on the seaside town of Antonio Bay, California.
In the Guardian interview, Carpenter adds of reworking his movies, “I love it, if they are going to pay me money. If they pay me, it’s wonderful. If they don’t pay me, I don’t care. I think it’s unfair if they don’t pay me. I think everyone should pay me. Why not? I’m an old guy now and I need money. Send me money.” Give old John money. See this dark plaything as if for the first time. 89m. Widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“The Fog” opens Friday, October 26 at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.