Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Halloween reboot #1 The Fog


The Fog was a tale about a small Northern California seaside community that was set to enjoy its 100th anniversary. Hooray for them! Well that is until a strange fog bank begins to slip into town nightly to scare and murder the townsfolk. See the ghosts of a doomed sunken boat full of lepers wants their revenge one hundred years after the fact.

The Original

The original movie is a great sinister ghost story. The atmosphere is creepy and scary without a fancy special effects and gore. The tension builds well throughout the film. The screenplay and score are good. It also brings some heat with Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Adkins, Hal Holbrook, Janet Leigh and Adrienne Barbeau (me-ow!). it even throws in a fun little gotcha ending that I found awesome when I saw this in my youth! It might  not be seen as John Carpenter’s best work, but it still pretty damn fun and one of the better ghost stories I’ve seen over all the years.

THE FOG 2005

Here we have the same seaside town doing a 134 year anniversary of their town founders. Wait is 134 years a real anniversary thing? Anyway the whole creepy fog begins to arrive and ruin the lives of any and all the townsfolk with its cargo of ghost lepers. Especially, the ancestors of the original four founding fathers of the town.

Alright, the original was fun. The reboot was anything but that.

First the antagonist or ghost delivery system, the fog, is all C.G.I instead of old school practical. This is to be expected now a days. However, the old school fog machine effect looks and acts so much better than the computer effect fog. Yes I think that 30+ year old smoke machines work and look better than 2005 computer effects. Where one is slow, threatening and natural the other is fast and looks fake and unnatural.

Practical vs. CGI

The same goes for the ghosts. These were originally guys in costume that you never really saw, save one close-up maggoty face. They were creepy slow moving silhouettes and that was the few times you saw anything sans an arm or hand weapon. Here they are computer specters that are more akin to Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion flunkies. Well that is when they do show them in fancy and attempted scary tight close-ups. For the most part they are just see quasi-transparent shadows in the fog. They seem almost like ghostly place holders instead of a threat. Hell in one sequence in the graveyard the ghost captain is practically running. Well, it is more like a bad 2x sped up walking, and it looks abysmal. Bad computer effects are bad and this is 2005. You expect sketchy C.G.I.  from cable but not from mainstream movies.

The movie tries to just show too much. Where the original kept the ghosts in the fog secretive until it was too late, here you see right away that the fog is full of spooky ghosts. The same goes for the story. The remake shows and tells too much and even has an elaborate flashback to drive the point home. The original had a fireside-ish tale told via a decrepit journal and read by Hal Holbrook. Less, was and many times, is more when it comes to horror. Stop showing every little nuance and just let a bit of the human imagination do the rest. That is always scarier.

Now the characters. They are just crap! You have the list of clich├ęs: dim hot girl who just happens to see ghosty stuff others don’t, her hot dim boyfriend, a single mom trying to make it work, a token black guy who is “comic” relief , an eccentric town junk collector who finds a clue, and a drunken priest who is also….wait….of Irish descent. These characters really offer nothing of interest thorough the film. The boyfriend, Nick, basically just drives to and from locations and sometimes picks up or delivers people along the way. Nick is the male lead and he is basically a taxi he does nothing else. The priest, who was a big part of the original, is just worthless here. He does nothing but drink, babble and die stupidly. There is nothing redeeming about any of these people. I didn’t care if they lived or died. I just wanted this to end.

Finally the plot. Well it is similar enough to the original, until the end. See where the ghosts wanted revenge and were sated when their gold was returned to them. Here the ghosts are sated; after all the ancestors to the founding fathers are killed…well except for Nick and Elizabeth….and after the ghost captain kisses Elizabeth and turns her into a fellow leper ghost.

WHAT!? THE FRAK WAS THAT?! The revenge leper sailor ghosts want to kill everyone until they decide not to for no reason  to turn a human into a ghost with a kiss? Why? How? What? Elizabeth was a founding ancestor, but looked like leper captain’s wife too. That makes her eligible for ghost kiss status I guess? There is no rhyme or reason, it just happens. This in turn makes the fog and the ghosts go away. So…they want leprous revenge and a suitable living woman to turn into a ghost for afterlife coitus? That is not a twist. That is just poor stupid writing.

There is nothing good here. It is an awful remake of a damn fun John Carpenter film. This should have never been made.

Well one down. Next up is the reboot of……. The Crazies!

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