Venge­ful spir­its and hid­den aliens

SFX - - Reviews -

Hot on the heels of lim­ited the­atri­cal re­leases, restora­tions of two cult items by John Car­pen­ter have now hit Blu-ray.

The Fog ( ) saw the di­rec­tor fol­low­ing up Hal­loween’s phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess with hor­ror of a dif­fer­ent stripe: an old­fash­ioned ghost story in which spir­its from a ship that was led onto the rocks pun­ish de­scen­dants of the plot­ters re­spon­si­ble.

Bot­tling light­ning a sec­ond time proved tricky for Car­pen­ter and his Hal­loween crew, with the di­rec­tor shoot­ing ad­di­tional footage af­ter his first cut was a dud. He got there even­tu­ally, and some of the in­serted ma­te­rial – like a lot full of cars blar­ing their horns – is among the best. Ku­dos is due to cin­e­matog­ra­pher Dean Cundey, whose at­mo­spheric light­ing ren­ders sil­hou­ettes and clouds of dry ice deeply sin­is­ter, and to Car­pen­ter for his mourn­ful, min­i­mal score. It’s a very straight­for­ward tale though, and rather wastes Jamie Lee Cur­tis in a thinly sketched se­condary role.

They Live ( ) res­onates even more now than it did when it was made. Part com­men­tary on the Rea­gan era, part Body Snatch­ers-style B-movie, it sees the em­blem­at­i­cally-named John Nada (for­mer wrestler Roddy Piper) dis­cov­er­ing hideous alien over­lords walk­ing among us when he stum­bles on sun­glasses that re­veal the sub­lim­i­nal mes­sag­ing bom­bard­ing hu­man­ity, then launch­ing a one-man mis­sion to wipe them out, spray­ing bul­lets and la­conic quips.

Piper is sur­pris­ingly plau­si­ble as this blue-col­lar beef­cake, though an ab­surdly over-ex­tended fight scene show­cas­ing his ring skills brings things grind­ing to a halt. Bolt­ing to­gether para­noid satire and first-per­son-shooter ac­tion, it’s a movie you kind of hope not too many In­foWars view­ers watch in case they read it as non-fic­tion…

Ex­tras New on The Fog ( ): a solid Mak­ing Of fea­tur­ing var­i­ous crew and crit­ics (45 min­utes); a fea­turette on films Car­pen­ter nearly made, but didn’t (nine min­utes). A mid-’90s Car­pen­ter/co-writer De­bra Hill com­men­tary is tech­ni­cal, but good for iden­ti­fy­ing the tweaks; a 2013 one team­ing two cast/the pro­duc­tion de­signer is more joc­u­lar. Plus: a de­tailed lo­ca­tions piece (28 min­utes); an eight­minute Car­pen­ter in­ter­view and “scene anal­y­sis” from a 2003 French re­lease; 1980 doc “In­side The Fog”; a sto­ry­board-to-scene com­par­i­son; out­takes; TV ads; trailer; gallery.

They Live ( ) also weds a strong new ret­ro­spec­tive (47 min­utes) to a col­lec­tion of old bonuses. The 2002 chat track teams Car­pen­ter with an ebul­lient Roddy Piper. There are 2012 in­ter­views with Car­pen­ter, Fos­ter and fel­low cast mem­ber Keith David (27 min­utes), as well as the orig­i­nal EPK/as­so­ci­ated in­ter­views with Car­pen­ter, Piper and co-star Meg Fos­ter. Plus: ex­tended footage of TV ads from the film; real TV ads for the film; and an image gallery. You also get art cards, a poster and a book­let, while the four-disc 4K sets both add a sound­track CD. Ian Berri­man

The germ of the idea for The Fog came from some weather John Car­pen­ter wit­nessed while vis­it­ing Stone­henge.


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