FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jul 31, 2007

welcome to the witching hour at KAB

For a very long period of time, I didn't have cable TV. Though this rendered me woefully behind the curve in all the shows everyone just luffs to talk about, it certainly freed me up for things I consider far more important than being...uh, in the midst of the curve: namely, making stuff and watching movies. I don't have anything against television itself, necessarily- I mean, we all know that Dallas and Melrose Place have made this world a better place in which to spend time. It's just that for me, I feel my time is better spent for the most part far away from TV's hypnotic glow (and yes, I suppose you could call me some sort of hypocrite because after all I do watch movies...but you get my point. Why must you always point out my foibles? Huh? What's with you, man?).

In the new Super Secret Final Girl HQ, however, my roommate (aka CoHabiTaTor 3000) has insisted upon having cable in the house. I'm trying so very hard to ignore it, but I've made a startling discovery: cable is much easier to ignore when you simply don't have it. Go figure. As I'm trying to use it as sparingly as possible, I'm still ignorant about all the shows the kids watch nowadays...but you know where cable shines sometimes? The late-night movie, oh my yes. Fuck sleep! By staying up until all hours I've caught a wide variety of cinema, from the Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur classic The Leopard Man to Bloodfist IV, V, and VIII (starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson, 'natch) to a movie I recorded but haven't watched yet because in my mind it's almost the perfect movie, but I'm sure the reality of it just won't compare to what I've imagined: Mind Over Murder, starring Tori Spelling as a telepathic, crime-investigating prosecutor.

Anyway, my point is that remake of The Fog is on in a while and I'm going to watch it. Oh, yes I am. And you're kinda going to watch it with me, because I'm going to write about it while I watch it. Yes, it'll be exactly as if we're watching it together, except I won't have to share my snacks with you. Forgive me if the rest of this post is weird, but that may be the price we all pay for innovation. Oh, and there's bound to be spoilers, so ye be warned!

See, you should know by now that I love the original film. We all know that the remake was panned by everybody. I didn't pay to see it in a theatre, and I won't pay to rent it...but damn, this is what late-night TV is for, ain't it? It won't cost me any money to see The Fog '05, but it very well might cost me my soul...and I'm taking you all with me! I'll see you in hell!

Alright, people...let's get it on. I give you...The New Fog Which Everyone Hates.

Aww, man. This was one of the last films Debra Hill produced before she died. That sucks for many, many reasons.

Instead of the creepy campfire tale opening of the original (which really sets a tone, you know?), we get...some boats on fire and some dudes in a rowboat rowing away. Then a hand pops up out of the water and pulls one of the dudes out of the boat...are the guys in the boats lepers? They don't look like lepers, although I can't say I've ever actually seen a leper. I just assume they're missing body parts, such as noses and ears and maybe a chin. Or do the lepers in The Fog '05 live under the water? I sure hope all my questions are answered!

Oh good...a loud modern rock track as we pan past Antonio Island...wait, there's Selma Blair's voice as Stevie Wayne- ugh. Is KAB a rock station now? These damn kids and their loud music! It's all just noise! And I KNOW I can't simply keep comparing this film to the original, but for the record: Selma Blair's voice is no Adrienne Barbeau's voice. And now Stevie's related to a Founding Father?

We're 6 minutes in. Why the fuck are the credits still rolling?

There's Tom Welling, who seems to be the captain of a boat. We'll call him Captain Smallville. And there's...a black guy? A BLACK GUY? Umm, there were no black guys in the original film, fer chrissakes! Everyone knows there are no black people in Antonio Bay! GAWD.

That was a joke. See? It's just like we're hanging out.

Ohhhh...Captain Smallville is the Tom Atkins character. And he's boinked Stevie Wayne this go-round. This movie is suddenly making me feel very old. These damn kids and their loud music!

Uh oh. Some long-haired dude with a metal detector has found a pocketwatch which washed up on the beach. The music is indicating that I should be scared...ahh! A slimy hand has also washed up on the beach! I think it was a hand. Yes, let's call it a hand.

Birds are leaving Antonio Bay in huge flocks, and dogs are barking madly! And there's a dead...something on the dock! What the hell is that? It looks like a baby bear. Is there a baby bear on the dock? Here comes someone...oh, he's crying over the dead thing, but he doesn't indicate whether or not it's actually a bear. I'm going to assume it is. Mayhaps the circus is in town.

Oh, here's New Jamie Lee Curtis. She and Captain Smallville already know each other in That Special Way, it seems. You know, Captain Smallville has such nicely manicured fingernails for an old Salt O' the Sea...I wonder how he does it. Must be Palmolive!

Stevie Wayne plays house music. I.................

Metal Detector Dude gives New Jamie Lee Curtis the pocketwatch he found. It ticks! It ticks! OH GOD HELP US ALL, IT STILL TICKS!

New Charles Cyphers is telling Stevie Wayne about the big fat fog bank headed their way. But what about the kids partying on The Sea Grass? They're drunk and horny! They care not for the fog! Their carefree ways will be their ultimate undoing...their folly, if you will. HERE IT COMES!

Wow, that's some terrible CGI.

See! The fog enter the ventilation shafts of the boat! Cut! Away to a boring conversation between Captain Smallville and New Jamie Lee Curtis! Well done. Now we meet Father New Hal Holbrook- he's really drunk and really greasy and really sweaty. Oh wait, back to The Sea Grass.

OK, so the fog shows up and there's a ghost ship but then the ghost ship vanishes. One of the party girls does some automatic writing on a fogged-up window...look out, it's the scales of justice. That's so much more frightening than a piece of wood that proclaims "6 must die". Wait, never mind, I'm not comparing the films. OK, so...uh, everyone on The Sea Grass dies, I guess. The party girls get thrown through windows, Unnamed Guy gets stabbed in the eye (but this is PG-13 so it's not explicit), and The Black Guy is enveloped in the fog and he screams. So long, Sea Grass. So long, Black Guy.

Aww, New Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't get along with her mom. For shame. Now there's a smooth jazz-flavored shower sex scene between NJLC and Captain Smallville. Uh oh...someone's pounding on the door in a menacing wait, New Jamie Lee Curtis only dreamt it. And she's also having flashbacks to the burning boats from the beginning of the film. Oh brother.


Oh fucking brother. AND THE GHOSTS JUST MADE HER COMPUTER SCREEN GO ALL CUCKOO CRAZY. Wait, now there really is someone banging on the door in a menacing fashion...but nothing happens. New Jamie Lee Curtis goes out onto the beach and sees a single set of footprints disappearing into the sea, as if that poem about God that you find on wooden plaques at the Hallmark store is unfolding all around her. And...there's the worst jump scare EVAR. Seriously, it was a horn blat pulled straight from Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" as Capt. Smallville grabs NJLC's shoulder. The fog retreats!

There's Stevie Wayne's kid, Andy. He finds something on the beach and brings it home- it''s...a barnacle-covered hairbrush. It's a hairbrush. That's gross! Gross, but not scary. How's it going to transform into a warning sign? Is it going to brush Stevie's hair into a big swirling ponytail that reads "6 must die"? I hope so.

NJLC and Capt Smallville just took a boat out and found The Sea Grass. Then they found all the dead bodies, and I found myself laughing at the horrendously bad acting. Wow. And why is NJLC wearing a coat that's right outta Sergeant Fucking Pepper? Oh, The Black Guy is frozen...but umm, still alive. And now he's being blamed for all the other deaths. But have no fear! Capt Smallville has stolen some evidence- a videocamera- which might prove The Black Guy's innocence! Good job, Smallville. It's certainly best to keep something like that out of the hands of the police. Wait, NJLC is watching the footage...yup, it sure proves his innocence! WHOOPS! NJLC fell in the water and the camera is ruined. Aw dang. And now she can't get out for some reason...but oh! She has found a book or something behind some bricks in the wall and this movie fucking sucks. If the contents of that waterlogged book are legible after 100 years or however long it's been, I swear I'm punching this movie in the neck.

OK, crazy stuff is happening over at KAB! There's weird windchime sounds and pounding and her computer screen is going nuts and god help me the fucking hairbrush caught on fire. I repeat: the hairbrush caught on fire. Then the wall caught on fire. Then Stevie put the fire out and...and...there are tiny scales of justice burnt into the wall everywhere.

Who thought that was a good idea? Or even a remotely frightening one?

NJLC brought the book to Father New Hal Holbrook and it's all totally legible. Excuse me for a moment.

OK, so someone is spray painting the scales of justice on tombstones. SPRAY PAINTING. I can't...

NJLC is wandering around the morgue (don't ask) and the guy who got a knife in the eye and is dead gets up from the gurney...and he's fully-clothed...and his eye looks fine. He says "Blood for blood" and collapses to the floor. Meh. This is getting really really bad.

The fog just pulled Metal Detector Dude out to sea. And now it's enveloping Mrs Kobritz's house. OK, it's also enveloped the weather station and now New Charles Cyphers is gonna get it. Hey, finally a black figure in the f- oh, now it's gone. New Charles Cyphers dropped his lantern and set himself on fire. Now, somehow, he's flying through the know, I don't think it should have been hard to update Carpenter's film and make it...ummm...scary. This blows. And so does Selma Blair. This is the only thing I've seen her in- is she always this bad? Or is it that the material is so awful? There's absolutely no tension here, and the fog itself doesn't seem like a threat whatsoever. And it's also pretty ridiculous for Stevie Wayne to get on the radio and say "This is an emergency! There's a fire at the weather station and New Charles Cyphers has been killed! Someone go and check on my son!" Selfish much, there, Stevie?

Ah, there's some lepers. I spotted a missing lip!, Mrs know, that scene in the original was so great- when she answered the slow knocks at the door and Andy was all scared and all the ghosts appeared and killed her. Well, I know I said I wouldn't compare, the new version...Mrs Kobritz was doing dishes and a hand reached out from the sink and touched her and she...I don't know, was suddenly charred to death. All that matters here is that a hand reached out of the kitchen sink.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stevie Wayne has left the lighthouse! She's driving to get her, Selma Blair is dreadful. Oh, now some CGI fog has crept in through her airvents...oh! And she just got hit by a truck...over a cliff...and into the drink she goes! Please...I never thought I'd say this, but please...kill Stevie Wayne. Yay! Go, stupid CGI ghosts! Hold her under water! Almost there! Almost-- dammit! She escaped.

And Andy escaped some more stupid CGI fog ghosts thanks to Captain Smallville.

I can't...I can't even describe how ridiculous this is getting.

Lengthy flashback to Captain Blake and Company getting screwed over by the Founding Fathers. Everyone is gathered together in the Not A Church, and I'm desperately hoping this final siege will be brief. The ghosts are...see-through CGI. And they talk. And they set people on fire. And omigod NJLC is making out with the ghost of Captain Blake what the fuuuuuuuck? She turned into a ghost? Her ancestor was one of the lepers and so she made out with the ghost of Captain Blake and she turned into a ghost and the fog disappeared and that's it? SHE MADE OUT WITH CAPTAIN BLAKE AND SHE TURNED INTO A GHOST.

I really can't believe what I just saw. Were I speaking and not typing, I'd be speechless. But since I'm typing, I'll say that everyone who claimed this movie was a total suckfest was absolutely correct- and that has nothing to do with the fact that it's a remake and everything to do with the fact that it sucks. Fuck The Fog '05. Now get out of my house, I'm going to bed!


spazmo said...

Damn, I had fun hanging out with you just then. Good thing I brought my own snacks, though. (Sorry about those crumbs between the sofa cushions!)

Full disclosure? I'd totally make out with Blake the Leper. (Those eyes!) But - like every other multi-celled organism - I prefer the strong, sinister, silhouetted, sword-swinging silent type, NOT the chatty CGI imposter this wretched pile of steaming crap featured here.

Watching the original for the zillionth time (on cable[!]) the other night, I was struck by how effective the opening scenes were. Remember the bank of payphones that spontaneously started ringing? The horrifying notion that those ghosts were calling the whole town of Antonio Bay ahead of their murderous assault sends shivers down my spine. Imagine if someone had answered? Brrr.

For years, The Fog has been tied with Evil Dead as my all-time favorite horror movie.
The failures of the remake only cement my admiration for the salty, squishy, superbly scary original.

Jason Adams said...

Stacie, all I have to say is THANK YOU for watching this and leading me through it in a few paragraphs so I now never feel the need to sit down and watch it myself. You took a bullet for me, and I won't forget it!

Anonymous said...

This movie's a real stinker - I've seen it about five times now, so I know...yeah, cable does strange things to you.

Geez, why'd you make me watch that again? See what a good friend I am? And you didn't even share your chips...

Anonymous said...

THE FOG remake was an insult to my intelligence. And I'm not even smart!


That EXORCIST copy with Linda's signature you got is friedkin awesome! (Get it? Friedkin! Haha...)


Stacie, have you seen any of the 28 DAYS/WEEKS LATER movies? I watched the sequel yesterday and it rocked. As good as the first one IMO.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I like Selma Blair. She's not an amazing actress, but she's charming and hot. And after all, she's got Bette Davis eyes...well, not really, but the song is on the radio.

Anonymous said...

Yowza. That sounds like a movie that you come away from feeling like you kissed a leper ghost and turned into a ghost and then ate a bad ghost fish taco that really didn't sit well.

Is it possible this is all an elaborate VD metaphor? After all, it sounds like Capt. Smallville ("Patient Zero") is going around fogging every chick in the movie, driving them to unholy fates. I mean, how bad must their shower nookie have been to have driven NJLC to choose see-through-CGI undeath?

The horror, the... ok, not horror.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and tell CoHaBiToR 3000 that you're out of coffee. I made the last pot. My bad.

AE said...

The only comfort I can offer you is that (unlike a bad ghost fish taco) this movie will not stick around very long. I watched it a couple years ago and remember absolutely none of it, which is interesting because Art Boy and I were pretty excited about it at the time. Much like Maggie Grace's character, all these horrible details will turn into ghosts and vanish. You will be at peace.

serial catowner said...

Since we got cable, all movies are forever. Unless they have like actual sex or violence. But that's ok if it's US bombers making somebody into cinders.

What they should have done is blue screen Selma Blair into every JLC scene in the original. And then have Janeane Garofalo dub the dialogue.

Furious D said...

When I heard about Fog 05 being put in production, I thought, why a remake? Why not a sequel?

Hire John Carpenter to direct, find some young hotshot to work with him and Debra Hill, cast Captain Smallville as the illegitimate son produced by Tom Atkins and Jamie Lee Curtis's one night stand. He's come looking for his Pop, but finds the fog and its lepers making a comeback.

And the twist is that the ghost-lepers aren't out for revenge anymore, they just like scaring people because deep down, they're all jerks.

Have it end with a musical number and it would have made a lot more money.

Chadzilla said...

Great googly-moogly was that movie awful. But Selma Blair was decent in Hellboy.

Goose said...

Okay, so it was a bad movie. At least you didn't spend 6 bucks to see it at a theatre. I will never get that time back. I feel sad about that. So very sad.
I agree with you that this movie sucked. Not worth the loss of sleep.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I just crashed on the couch...can I borrow your toothbrush?

Anonymous said...

So my friends and I keep talking about getting really drunk and watching all the bad remakes (we've missed pretty much all of them), a remake marathon if you will. After reading this, we may have to reconsider.

Stacie Ponder said...

Duncan, your sequel idea wins! I like the idea of sequels that continue the story of characters other than the bad guys. It certainly would've been better than this crapfest.

But you know, I've already got myself nearly completely convinced that I still haven't seen the remake of The Fog. Another week or so and I'll have forced myself to forget it ever happened. Then some day, years from now, I'll be walking innocently down the street and someone will say something unrelated yet reminiscent and trigger the horrible, they'll say "missing lip" or "my hairbrush caught on fire" and suddenly I'll be rolling around on the ground pulling my hair out and screaming in terror.

You guys were all surprisingly well-behaved, though, and I'll probably invite you over again. Next time, bring beer.

AE said...

THAT's why that keeps happening. Damn you, The Fog 05.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Selman Blair's car accident (she colides with a truck on her way to try to rescue her son) and roll into the sea was the only actually freaky and interesting part of the remake. The notion that the fog would also create that kind of unintentional mayhem is a cool idea.

But notice I called her Selma Blair and NOT Stevie Wayne. There can be only one Stevie Wayne, Stacie.