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The Fog - 1980 | Story and Screenshots


"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?" . . . Edgar Allan Poe



Northern California fishing town Antonio Bay: A group of children seated around a campfire on a beach, are entertained by a ghost story, told by 'old' Mr. Machen (John Houseman) (exactly at the stroke of midnight), the resident elderly fisherman.

Mr. Machen: In five minutes, it will be the 21st of April. One hundred years ago, on the 21st of April, out on the waters around Spivey Point, a small clipper ship drew toward land. Suddenly, out of the night, the fog rolled in. For a moment, they could see nothing, not a foot ahead of them. Then they saw a light. By God, it was a fire burning on the shore strong enough to penetrate the swirling mist.

They steered a course toward the light, but it was a campfire like this one. The ship crashed against the rocks. The hull sheared in two. The mast snapped like a twig and the wreckage sank with all the men aboard. At the bottom of the sea, lay the 'Elizabeth Dane' with her crew, their lungs filled with salt water, their eyes open and staring into the darkness.

And above, as suddenly as it had come, the fog lifted, receded back across the ocean and never came again. But it is told by the fisherman, and their fathers and grandfathers, that when the fog returns to Antonio Bay, the men at the bottom of the sea out in the water by Spivey Point will rise up and search for the campfire that led them to their dark and icy death. Twelve o'clock, the 21st of April.


The story told is indicative of the history of the town's formation, which is being discovered at that exact moment by the local priest, Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), when he finds the journal of his grandfather (who was also the town's priest). In other parts of town, around midnight, strange occurrences take place. A young man is cleaning up in a convenient store when suddenly all the bottles begin rattling, the whole store is shaking. At a mechanic's garage, the lights turn on and the gas nozzle falls to the ground, pouring out gasoline.


The stall's hydraulic lift activates, lifting up a car. Elsewhere, several cars suddenly start blasting their horns and the headlights all come on, though all of them are unoccupied. In her apartment, Sandy Fadel (Nancy Kyes) is awaken by the noise and she peers out the window. And then they all stop honking. She turns to see the TV has come on by itself, with nothing but static. She is startled when suddenly a chair moves on its own. She stares in disbelief.


At the same time, Nick Castle (Tom Atkins) drives down a country road and picks up a hitchhiker called Elizabeth (Jamie Lee Curtis) who claims to be on her way to Vancouver. While the two drive towards town, suddenly all the truck's windows shatter, and the radio and headlights start to fail. The local radio DJ, Stevie Wayne (Adrianne Barbeau), discusses over the air about the town's celebration of its centennial on April 21, 1980. She receives a phone call from Dan O'Bannon (Charles Cyphers), the always flirting meteorologist from the Tri-County Weather Station.


He tells Stevie about a fog bank heading in from the east and rolling in towards a trawler, the Sea Grass. After they hang up, Stevie reports the update over the radio. We see the three local fisherman in their boat, listening to her broadcast - Al Williams (John F. Goff), Tommy Wallace (George Flower), and Dick Baxter (James Canning). Tommy is cynical about her report until he looks out the porthole and sees a dense, but glowing fog rising from the ocean horizon. The fog envelopes the trawler and the generator blows out.


Their eyes go wide when they see a ghostly looking ship pulling along side theirs. Tommy stares intently towards dark figures barely visible in the fog when suddenly a sword bursts through his chest from behind. And then Al is impaled the same way. The dark figures swarm in, stabbing the two men with hooks and knives. A dark figure then enters the cabin and walks up behind Dick, who thinks it is Al. He turns just as the dark figure grabs him by the throat and plunges a pick into him.


At the radio station / lighthouse, Dan calls Stevie again to correct her that the fog is due west. She is skeptical about his report, no fog rolls against the wind. As he continues with more flirting, she is looking out the window, disturbed by a faint glow on the horizon. A short time later, Nick and Elizabeth have arrived at Nick's coastal home and are relaxing when a heavy knock is heard at the door.


Making his way to open the glass, front door, Nick sees an odd light shining outside, illuminating a shadowy figure. The clock strikes 1AM, and it's face suddenly cracks, just as Nick opens the door, only to see there is no one there, and the fog has dissipated. The following morning, while in her bungalow next to the beach, Stevie is lying in bed when her young son, Andy, returns to the house showing her a broken plank of wood he has discovered.


After Andy leaves, she inspects the old plank. It reads "DANE." Meanwhile, Nick and Elizabeth charter a boat and embark on a search for the missing Sea Grass. In town, Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh) is in charge of the celebration and is going over preparations with her assistant, Sandy. Intrigued by the plank, Stevie takes it with her to the lighthouse, along the way she also hears the report about the missing Sea Grass.


Out on the chartered boat, Nick and Elizabeth find the Sea Grass. While driving, Kathy mentions to Sandy that Al never came home last night. They talk about the church bells and car alarms going off at midnight and Kathy's dog barked for hours looking at the ocean. Nick discovers water in the boat's generator, but the deck is dry. Kathy and Sandy arrive at the church of Father Malone. He seems grim and shows her the journal of Father Patrick Malone. He reads a passage to Kathy and Sandy:

Malone: December 9, met with Blake this evening for the first time. He stood in the shadows to prevent me from getting a clear look at his face. What a vile disease this is. He is a rich man with a cursed condition, but this does not prevent him trying to better his situation and that of his comrades at the colony.


After looking around the deserted boat, they go below decks, and find every single gauge is broken, along with all the glass. Father Malone continues reading from the journal:

Malone: December 11, Blake's proposition is simple. He wants to move off Tangier Island and relocate the entire colony just north of here. He has purchased a clipper ship called the Elizabeth Dane with part of his fortune, and asks only for permission to settle here. I must balance my feelings of mercy and compassion toward this poor man with my revulsion at the thought of a Leper colony only a mile distant.


Nick and Elizabeth search further into the boat. Nick claims the boat was clean two nights ago and now it's as if the boat has been turned over in the water. Father Malone continues reading from the journal:

Malone: April 20, the six of us met tonight. From midnight to one o'clock, we planned the death of Blake and his comrades. I tell myself that Blake's gold will allow the church to be built and are small settlement to become a township, but it does not sooth the horror that I feel being an accomplice to murder.






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Resource Credits: imdb.com

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