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John Carpenter’s The Fog Is an Splendid Thanksgiving Horror Movie

It is that point of yr once more. The air’s gone crisp, the leaves are virtually all down from the timber, and Thanksgiving has to hope the Halloween hangover and pre-Christmas anticipation do not push it fully off the cultural calendar. Not serving to the trigger is the paucity of media ammunition in Turkey Day’s nook. It is bought a Charlie Brown particular, a handful of Nicktoon episodes from the 90s, and conventional faculty actions like hand turkeys. But when Thanksgiving cannot declare an excessive amount of movie and tv for itself, maybe it may steal a number of issues typically included in adjoining vacation celebrations. I, for one, assume john carpenter‘s The Fog fits Thanksgiving simply as properly because it does Halloween.


A stretch, you say? True, a grisly story of ghost-lepers touring by an unearthly fog to assert vengeance does not appear to suit alongside stuffing, pumpkin pie, and soccer. It is not even set in autumn. However scratch under the floor, and The Fog has an ideal set of items and themes for Thanksgiving.

Crusing the Ocean Blue

Simply what can we have a good time on Thanksgiving? The schoolbook clarification is that, in 1620, the pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower, landed at Plymouth Rock, and established the primary New England colony. After barely surviving a harsh winter with assist from native tribes, the colonists held a day of thanksgiving to which their allies had been invited. The reality is significantly extra complicated; for one factor, days of thanksgiving predated this feast by millennia with out being mounted to the fourth Thursday of November; however a ship voyage and a settlement are real components of the story of Plymouth and the Wampanoag.

Now have a look at The Fog. Its backstory is that, 100 years earlier than 1980, a small group of males based a settlement, Antonio Bay, in northern California. When a rich man, Blake, contracts leprosy and asks to determine a leper colony close by, the founders of Antonio Bay, together with a priest, conspire in opposition to him. Pretending to just accept his supply from him, they lure his ship from him, the Elizabeth Dane, away from the lighthouse on a foggy evening and sink it. They then plunder the ruined ship for gold to determine Antonio Bay as a correct city. Blake and his fellows swear to return from past the grave to precise revenge the following time such a thick, unnatural fog rolls in from the ocean.

Fairly grim stuff, and nothing you’d embody in a grade faculty pageant – however there is a ship voyage and a settlement. And if mentioned voyage is not from the seventeenth century, it is nonetheless an extended, very long time in the past relative to the yr The Fog was made.

Picture through AVCO Embassy Photos

An All-American Horror

Nonetheless not satisfied? Then contemplate the setting of The Fog. Lots of the traditional horror movies – your Draculasure, your Frankensteinsure, your mummys and Wolf Mans – are set in Britain or mainland Europe, with sojourns to North Africa or the Center East, and place is a key part of the tales. A number of the extra fashionable horrors from the slasher or splatter subgenres stress location lower than different components. That is the case for a few of Carpenter’s movies. however The Fog is a quintessentially American story (as is Halloweenhowever – effectively, that movie’s fairly effectively tied to the vacation that named it).

The coastal city with a lighthouse and a set of colourful locals is a time-honored setting in American tales. The sleek jazz that Adrienne Barbeau performs from her lighthouse radio station was a concession to finances; rock tune rights had been past Carpenter’s attain, however it marks the movie’s soundtrack with a real American style of music. The immense pleasure in group on show in Antonio Bay for his or her centenary, and the way in which members of that group come collectively to make it by the hellish evening, is a inventory trait given to People in fiction. And let’s not overlook that coming collectively is a serious a part of the trendy celebration of Thanksgiving.

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What’s Extra Thanksgiving-y Than Selecting To Overlook Painful Historical past?

Picture through AVCO Embassy Photos

Lastly, we come to the thematic crux of The Fog, and the one factor that makes it an ideal horror movie for Thanksgiving. Let’s again as much as that extra difficult historical past behind the vacation. It’s true that the pilgrims did maintain a feast to commemorate their survival throughout a troublesome first yr within the New World, and members of the Wampanoag tribe who had helped them did attend. However the Wampanoag, and all the opposite tribes and nations of North America, would by no means have seen themselves as a homogenous “Indian” group. There have been lengthy histories and rivalries between them, as there are with any teams of individuals, and the inflow of ailments from European explorers had decimated the New England area. European slavers raided the coasts, and the natives who first contacted the pilgrims might talk with them as a result of that they had been overseas as slaves.

The Wampanoag did not help purely out of altruism both. Their chief of him needed to make use of the pilgrims as allies in his native conflicts. The alliance didn’t go unchallenged by his personal individuals, and after 50 years the Wampanoag and the pilgrims discovered themselves at battle. The closely sanitized model of Thanksgiving that is entered school rooms and popular culture stems partially from the nineteenth century, when it was helpful for, amongst different issues, placing a gloss over the Indian Wars and excluding immigrants, in addition to the extra noble objective of encouraging nationwide unity in the course of the Civil Conflict.


The Fog is not practically so difficult as historical past. Nevertheless it does have an all-American city on the point of have a good time its founding, a founding marred by a darkish crime. When Father Patrick Malone (Hal Holbrook) discovers the horrible fact and brings it to the eye of Mayor Kathy Williams (janet leigh), she shrugs it off and dismisses any influence or introspection it’d solid over the centenary. It was so way back, her causes, and what’s there to do about it?

And she or he has some extent; there is no altering the previous, and at a sure distance, there is no rectifying it. You may’t anticipate a city, or a rustic, to disband or name off a celebration of centuries of historical past and group to focus solely on the sins of their fathers. However sweeping the previous beneath the rug is not the correct solution to deal with issues both. When Blake and his ghosts come ashore, they sweep the fog over all Antonio Bay, and vow to kill six individuals to match their quantity, it is solely Malone’s give up of the plundered gold that saves the city (however not Malone himself, who turns into the sixth) .

As far as I am conscious, there’s by no means been a military of ghosts stumble upon New England to redress previous grievances. And the one motive I am not sitting all the way down to a turkey dinner with the household this yr is that I am overseas. However the lack of ability to thoughts the dangerous of America’s previous in addition to the nice has horrifying ramifications of its personal that we have all needed to take care of in the previous few years. The Fog It is not an allegory for our historical past, however its story of crimes coming again to hang-out is relevant to it, and it makes it probably the most becoming of horror movies for Thanksgiving in the event you’re nonetheless combating a Halloween hangover.

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