Avast, me buckos! There be spoilers ahead! Yarrrr!
1980 horror film directed by John Carpenter and starring Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Holbrook, and John Houseman.
Coming off of his success of Halloween, John Carpenter brings us the tale of the California coastal town of Antonio Bay and the day of their 100th anniversary. As the centennial celebration begins, a strange and sinister fog begins to roll in from the ocean bringing with it death and destruction.
The story begins with Mr. Machen (John Houseman) telling the tale of the Elizabeth Dane, a ship that crashed on the shore of Antonio Bay one hundred years before, to a group of children on the sea shore. Meanwhile at sea, an eerie bank of glowing fog engulfs a fishing boat and the crew is slain by shadowy figures in the fog, wielding swords and hooks.
The next day, when the crew is discovered missing, members of the community begin to investigate. These include the owner of the local radio station, husky-voiced Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau), town council woman Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh), local truck driver Nick Castles (Tom Akins) and his hitchhiking love toy Elizabeth Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis), and local alcoholic priest Father Malone (Hal Holbrook). They soon find themselves and other members of the town being killed by figures in the fog.
Soon, it becomes apparent that the founders of the town are not the virtuous people they have been portrayed as, but instead, they murdered a group of six lepers who had come here seeking a place to live and stealing the gold the lepers brought with them. The town founders made the cross for their church of the stolen gold and now the ghosts of these long dead lepers have come to reclaim what is theirs. They set about killing six people to avenge their deaths and the finale takes place in the church where they come to reclaim the treasure stolen from them.
The movie did well in the theaters, buoyed by the Carpenter name and the fact that it was another horror film with Jamie Lee Curtis, even though she did not have a leading role in the picture. The movie capitalizes on the fog's obscuring qualities using it to build tension and showing you little of the vengeful dead, rather letting the viewer's imagination fill in the blanks. It is also enjoyable for film buffs to see a movie in which the torch is passed from the original slasher victim Janet Leigh (from Hitchcock's groundbreaking Psycho) to her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis who became for a time the new scream queen.