The 1980 original by John Carpenter
- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- Were the zombie/ghost pirates various victims other than Father Malone just random people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or were they descendants of the people who had betrayed the lepers a hundred years ago? This actually ends up being a huge plot point in the remake, where it is said that the ghosts were specifically targeting the descendants of their betrayers.
- The driftwood piece says "six must die". So does that mean Blake and his crew literally cannot rest until they've claimed six lives? Do they come back for Father Malone because they still can't move on until they take him too? And if so, do they come back for him because he already offered himself to them, and they viewed it as a Necessary Evil rather than taking someone else?
- Angst? What Angst?:
- The townspeople seem to accept that there's something supernatural about the fog quite readily. Kathy and Sandy for one experience very little of the strange goings on - yet they hear one worried broadcast from Stevie and instantly buy it.
- Kathy also shows surprisingly little angst about discovering her husband died. She resolves to go on with the ceremony, and he's not mentioned after that again.
- Author's Saving Throw: The novelization confirms the fan theory that the victims were in fact the six descendants of the original conspirators.
- Awesome Music: As with his other films, Carpenter delivers an another memorable theme music.
- Canon Fodder: A small one. Lots of fans have been baffled as to what Andy is asking about when he says "can I have a stomach pounder and a coke?". Here's what it actually is.
- Fridge Brilliance: The timing of the stone falling out of the wall in Father Malone's study isn't just due to it being midnight: it happens immediately after Malone has brushed off his employee's request for pay. The wrecking of the lepers' ship happened because greedy men sought to profit from the unfortunate. The ghosts may have been watching Father Malone for any sign that the townsfolk had reformed, and his thoughtless act of wage-theft showed them that they hadn't. Actually, the stone fell after Father Malone realized that he'd been unnecessarily curt with Bennett, the man asking to be paid, and as he was calling to Bennett, presumably to apologize for his behavior and make arrangements. One could read it that his Grandfather's spirit, having seen his descendant's willingness to acknowledge his own failings, set in motion the events so that Father Malone would know what motivated the vengeful spirits, and find a means to attempt to appease them.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Nancy Loomis got killed off in Halloween (1978) while Charles Cyphers survived. Here it's the other way around.
- Likewise Jamie Lee Curtis played a timid virgin in Halloween, and she was famous for being the Final Girl. So in this - her second horror movie - she plays a girl who hops into bed with a man she's just met and doesn't even know the name of!
- Moe: Andy is a precocious little thing and is unfortunately put in great danger in the second act of the film.
- One-Scene Wonder: John Houseman has a two minute appearance in the prologue, just telling the story of Antonio Bay's founding.
- Paranoia Fuel:
- One will forgive you for being suspicious of fogs after watching this movie.
- Stevie's portion is especially prone to this. She's trapped in the lighthouse, cut off from most of the town. She can only communicate through her radio. Even when she speaks on the air at the end, she still has no idea what has happened.
- Spoiled by the Format: You'll notice that Elizabeth has the same name as the ship that Blake captained. Elizabeth also notes that things only started happening when she arrived in town. This does raise the possibility that she could be a ghost connected with Blake and his crew. But since she's played by Jamie Lee Curtis, who is infamous for only being a Final Girl in 80s horrors, Genre Savvy viewers will know she isn't.
- Squick: When we see Blake up close, there are maggots in his rotted cheek.
- Vindicated by History: It was met with mixed reviews when it was released, but has come to be much better received over the years. John Carpenter himself initially disliked it, but warmed to it eventually.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: This review puts forth the theory that having Janet Leigh playing the town matriarch in charge of the 100th anniversary celebrations is symbolic of her passing the torch to the next generation of horror film actresses - in this case her daughter (it's the only film they starred in together until Janet cameo'd in Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later.
The 2005 remake
- So Bad, It's Good: The film can be considered this, when not being considered completely awful.
The unrelated book by James Herbert:
- Crosses the Line Twice: The boarding school scene, in which a bunch of boys engage in an orgy of sexual sadism and murder. When some of the staff decide to join the fun, it gets worse.
- Harsher in Hindsight: As Stephen King points out in his nonfiction book Danse Macabre, the subsequent events at Jonestown, Guyana are eerily reminiscent of this scene:
There were hundreds – could it be thousands – of people climbing down the steps to the beach and walking toward her, toward the sea! Was she dreaming?....The people of the town were marching in a solid wall out to the sea, making no sound, staring toward the horizon as though something was beckoning to them. Their faces were white, trancelike, barely human. And there were children among them; some walked along on their own, seeming to belong to no one; those that couldn’t walk were being carried. Most of the people were in their nightclothes, some were naked, having risen from their beds as though answering a call that Mavis neither heard nor saw...
This was written before the Jonestown tragedy, remember. In the aftermath of that, I recall one commentator intoning with dark and solemn sonorousness, “It was an event that not even the most darkly fertile imagination could have envisioned.” I flashed on the Bournemouth scene from The Fog and thought, “You’re wrong. James Herbert envisioned it.”
- King's remarks in Danse Macabre:
- The scene where a fog-crazed captain crashes his plane into the Post Office Tower—25 years before it happened in New York.