BY ISA MONTAGNESE
Year Released: 1980
How It Fared Back Then: This was John Carpenter’s next big feature after his biggie Halloween so it naturally did fairly well despite being kind of meh-ed by critics.
Why It’s Lasted: Carpenter is the undisputed hero of 70s/80s horror so it’s lasted mostly because of his reputation. The film on its own has lasted because it’s a compact, creepy little ghost story. It has Carpenter’s signature style. The film was said to be not exactly as Carpenter wanted and was remade in 2005 with Carpenter’s blessing.
- The whole intro scene is maybe my favourite part. The clock strikes midnight on the town’s birthday and shit gets real. Cars turn on, doors and windows open, dogs get lost, phones ring all on their own. The mood is set and you’re ready to be mildly freaked out!
- The characters! All the lady characters are really bitter. There’s the classic drunk priest character; the uptight, rude mayor (played by Janet Leigh!!!); her assistant who couldn’t give a shit; and the savvy radio DJ (which seems to be a way more common character these days, maybe thanks to this movie?).
- I hate to repeat myself but Janet Leigh (from Psycho)!! She’s the rude mayor and my favourite character!
- The final scene reminded me why Carpenter is a master. He takes a fairly basic monster (fog zombie/ghosts) and amps it up right when it might be getting old. He also takes the most basic concept, fog, and makes it really menacing.
- P.S. Why do 80’s movies always have a character named Malone?
Does It Hold Up? If you’re a Carpenter fan then you’ll love it, of course, but even if you’re unfamiliar, it’s still pretty fun! It’s creepy, atmospheric and a tad gross. Ingredients for a good time! On a more personal note: early 80s hair lasts forever.