The Fog Argues for the Clean Air Act” width=”560″/>
There is a sequence early on in John Carpenter’s The Fog during which various inanimate objects suddenly (and ominously) spring to life. The nozzle of a gas pump disengages itself and begins to pump fuel all over the blacktop, a host of car alarms go off like a chorus of doom, racks upon racks of bottles rattle nerve-wrackingly in glass-doored refrigerators. Nothing terrible comes of the initial disturbance. OK, a few tipsy guys on a ship are impaled, but on land, the fog doesn’t set off an endless series of murders so much as taunt a town with one uneasy question: What if things (as opposed to beings) came to life with evil intent? What would happen if inert objects found themselves in motion and enraged?
As freak shows go, it’s a lot freakier than Hitchock’s The Birds or Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey .
Animals or computers who attain elevated consciousness still inhabit a
mindset mirroring our own. But the inner workings of a self-propelled
chair or the emotional baggage that accompanies a swinging sign that
cries… How do you translate that into “just like us, but different”
sorts of parallels? The sinister aspect of The Fog‘s title
character, if you can call it that, lies in the fact that it has
neither a shape nor a brain yet it does have the ability to be
everywhere and anywhere — directional winds be damned. As it harasses
a civic leader (Janet Leigh), a radio host (Adrienne Barbeau), and a
hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis), you’re aware of how important the Clean
Air Act is even for legendary Scream Queens. If the very air you
breathe works against you (by shutting down a power plant or
transporting vengeful lepers dressed as pirates into your midst), then
you’re pretty much screwed.
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