Hall of Fame Speech #29: The Fog (2005)

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our sixth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. As is typical there will be films we watched five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the ninth (eleventh?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. This film is kind of like Here on Earth, except instead of the innocence of first love, we have Maggie Grace making out hard with a ghost. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for The Fog (2005)

John Carpenter has it all. He has a BMT legend in Ghost of Mars. He has an iconic series that has spawned numerous BMT squeakquels in Halloween. And now he has a remake of The Fog in the Hall of Fame. But this really isn’t about the original. It is here on its own merits, damn it! This movie is trash through and through. One of the worst things ever put to screen. So bad that at times you wonder if aliens made it. Scenes occur that are so nonsensical that you can’t tell if it’s an issue with writing, directing, editing, or the concept of cinema. It makes you question art. It’s fantastic. 

So what did I remember from the first time I saw this:

  • I actually remember liking the original quite a bit (I was wrong)
  • It felt like the pinnacle of 2000’s horror, which is to say the absolute dregs of the remake phase… So maybe this saved horror by being so bad that people rethought what horror could be?
  • Maggie Grace shows why she is one of the queens of BMT.
  • Nice setting on an imaginary island off the coast of Oregon.

If I was forced to guess what the most important thing about this film was prior to the rewatch I would have guessed the significant drop in quality from the original to the remake. This turned out to be wrong. I rewatched both and the original is just OK really, other than being a showcase for Carpenter’s directing and choice of scenery. The real star here is the narrative choices made by director Rupert Wainwright, which at best makes no sense and at worst has Maggie Grace making out with a ghost and then smirking at everyone like “Yeah, I just made out with this hunky ghost. Jealous much.” It’s a masterpiece of BMT cinema that combines some of my favorite things: Maggie Grace acting, total nonsense, and ghosts. So let’s really dive in.  

So how did the rewatch go? I think this might be the greatest rise in a BMT HoF film from before to after a rewatch. I came in expecting a bad film (both me and Patrick hated it as I recalled), but nothing could prepare me for some of the scenes I got to bear witness. Just off the top of my head I can specifically remember five separate instances of laughing out loud as I was baffled and delighted by what was occurring on screen. Let me recount them:

  1. Our boy Spooner brings two ladies out on the water for some sexy time and we are treated to a hilariously 2000’s Girls Gone Wild type dance party which is basically just him trying to get them to take off their shirts while he records them on camera. It’s actually kinda sad how lame it is.
  2. A guy finds a rope in the sand, follows it into the sea while wrapping it around himself, he eventually finds himself out in some choppy waters, he panics and proceeds to drown… all this occurs for reasons that escape me.
  3. Maggie Grace is told to keep Spooner’s camera safe as it might contain footage to prove he’s innocent of murder (seems important). While carrying the camera over a small body of water she randomly falls in, drops the camera, gets all tied up in a net (which she thinks is trying to purposefully kill her), and then while climbing out stumbles upon a hiding place for an old, old diary. After all this she gets annoyed several times when people express some skepticism that the fishing net was actually trying to kill her.
  4. Maggie Grace is reading from the old, old diary during which the audience is treated to a flashback. This flashback is rudely interrupted when Nick Castle nearly crashes his car because he is so engrossed in the story. We then smash cut and only later do they finish the story… you know, for safety.
  5. Maggie Grace, feeling the inexorable draw of the ghosts walks up to their leader and he grabs her and smooches her and you see her being like “Oh, gross a ghost,” and then she’s like “Oh wait, I’m kinda digging this sexy ghost,” and then she becomes a ghost. When Nick shows up she’s basically like, “check out my hunky ghost bf. Pretty great right?” and then all the ghosts disappear and the film ends. WHAT?!

Those are all the morsels of stew meat for the big ol’ gumbo of trash that surrounds it. So one second you are laughing the next you are crying. The bad parts are really bad, the BMT parts are really BMT, and the good parts don’t exist. For real, I do not remember a single redeeming thing that occurred in the entire film. It is horrible from start to finish and it’s astonishing that anyone could make something so perfect in its terribleness. We joke at the top about how every film is our pursuit of the next Here on Earth (even a tired old horror remake). But I do think this fits nicely with Here on Earth in that it’s the type of film I’d get people to watch being like “We gotta watch The Fog.” Then, as they sat in stoney silence, I would chuckle along and be like “Right, wasn’t that so funny and crazy?” and they’d wonder why I’m so tickled by Maggie Grace getting tangled in a net.

What they wouldn’t question was why we thought the ending was so ludicrous. Maggie Grace sacrificing herself to save the town is pretty typical stuff. That sacrifice involving getting frenched by the ghost king seems like we are getting somewhere interesting, tell me more. Her becoming the ghost wife of the ghost king and all the other ghosts seeming satisfied with the arrangement is where we’ve struck gold. Now all they need is the novelization to give us a postscript where Maggie Grace and her ghost beau are looking to have a child but are having some trouble conceiving (cause they are ghosts). It’s an emotional family drama that teaches you to love again. Speaking of which, rewatching The Fog also taught me how to love again… specifically The Fog. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, The Fog.

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