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Ominous Fog

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"To one who, journeying through night and fog,
Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
Reveals the path that he should not have gone."
Joel Frad Bink
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Fog can be part of the ominous mood or inseparably tied to a dangerous and ''creepy'' supernatural phenomenon. This is only about the ominous mood it creates.

Maybe it's the way you feel alone in the fog, even with your companion next to you. Maybe it's how the fog seems to swallow everything and makes noise and sight unfamiliar. Maybe it's the way it curls and sways around you as if it knows you are there. Maybe it's the fact that a monster could lurk a few meters from you and you wouldn't know it.

If the environment is empathic, it should be possible to read your situation from the weather. Anyone with even a whiff of genre-savviness knows that dense fog is about as bad a sign as a howling tornado on the horizon. Is sometimes accompanied by a blood-red sky.

May overlap with Mysterious Mist. For a fog that's actively trying to kill you, see Fog of Doom.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fog also appears when the Big Damn Heroes reach the center of Shinjuku in Demon City Shinjuku.
  • Den-noh Coil has fog appear when obsolete space is present. It's not visible without glasses though.
  • Digimon Tamers gives us the pink "Digital Field", where many of the early fights take place. In the original Digimon Adventure, Myotismon creates an Ominous Fog that cuts Odaiba off from the rest of the world.
  • In Gyo, the setting is shrouded in a reeking fog made up of the Death Stench by the time the protagonist wakes up after being nearly eaten alive by small fish.
  • The geography of One Piece gives us the Florian Triangle, an area of ocean covered in Ominous Fog where the number of ships which have vanished is well in the hundreds if not higher. Within it is the Thriller Bark, the gargantuan ship Gecko Moria uses as his base. The trope is slightly inverted in that the fog is actually protecting the victims of Moria, who cannot be exposed to sunlight after he steals their shadows. It's played straight at the end of the arc, which implies that there is indeed something within the fog beside the Thriller Bark that attacks ships.
  • Magical Pokaan has a vampire robot that creates its own fog.
  • In Rebuild World, the "colorless mist" is a phenomenon in which a strange, transparent fog descends over an area. It's extremely hard to perceive with the naked eye, only blurring the edges of objects in one's vision. But it's also extremely dangerous, as it scrambles radio, electromagnetic radar, sounds, and smells. Guns will suffer a unilateral drop in effectiveness, electronic locks will cease to work, and all forms of long-range communication will be filled with static. Naturally, this make things exponentially more difficult for a hunter, even if it also reduces the effectiveness of the monsters' tracking systems.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: In an early episode, clouds of ominous fog cover an oceanic area where ships are vanishing. At the beginning of the episode, a character tells he does not like that eerie fog and it is creeping him out, and another character scoffs that are silly superstitions and there is nothing to be frightened of... right before they disappear.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Animated 
  • Tangled:
    • A sudden fog appears (and disappears just as quickly) during Mother Gothel's Dark Reprise.
    • It happens again later when The Stabbington Brothers attack Eugene and Gothel stages a rescue of Rapunzel to make her come back to the tower.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dagon everything is fine until the fog and rain start rolling in.
  • In The Fall of the House of Usher the Usher mansion is continually fogbound, establishing the ominous, foreboding mood.
  • The Fog, obviously. A mist that descends on a California beach town contains the spirits of a group of people suffering from leprosy who died in a shipwreck a hundred years ago thanks to sabotage by the townsfolk, who did not want them establishing a leper colony nearby. Now, they're back for revenge.
  • Fog seems to be a constant presence around the castle in Frankenstein 1970. The film opens with Caroline being chased through the fog; Morgan says they are going to need to rethink some of the outdoor shots as he cannot film through the fog; and when Row and Rabb desperately race back to the castle, they are driving through fog.
  • For Satan's temptation of Jesus in The Gospel According to St. Matthew, the appropriate tone is set when Jesus encounters Satan on a fog-bound hilltop.
  • Great Expectations: Spooky fog helps set a foreboding mood for Pip's first encounter with Magwitch the escaped convict in the graveyard, and his second encounter, when he brings the food and the file that Magwitch told him to get.
  • The Kudzu Plot of Inherent Vice is starting to get pretty thick indeed by the point where private eye Doc Sportello meets Coy Harlingen, who was reported dead, in a fog-bound alley. Coy tells him of an even deeper criminal conspiracy involving heroin smuggling.
  • In Insomnia, the first chase leads the protagonist, the police, and the murderer into an unexpected fog field. The poor sight leads to an Accidental Murder (or implied Unfriendly Fire in the remake).
  • In Jurassic Park III, an entire sequence takes place in an area filled with this. Some of the fog around the upper level of the area clears well enough for Alan Grant to see that the area is a huge aviary...which can only mean that whatever is in there is 1) able to fly and 2) huge...and then one of said flyers snatches up the kid they were trying to save.
  • King Kong: In all three versions of the story, the approach to Skull Island is shrouded in fog.
  • Lost Creek: In one Nightmare Sequence, fog is outside of Peter's house when he opens up the door.
  • The Mist, obviously, being a massive cloud of fog filled with a variety of extradimensional horrors.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla (2014): San Francisco is wreathed in gray fog throughout the scene where Godzilla and the MUTOs arrive in the city, and it does quite a bit to create an unnerving and ominous atmosphere.
    • Kong: Skull Island: The Boneyard with the remains of Kong's parents is covered in yellow-colored smoke, and a Skullcrawler takes advantage of the smoke's cover to relentlessly stalk and hunt the human cast. At night, as Conrad and Weaver look for Marlow's boat from atop a high cliff, a thick fog rolls in and they see Kong approach them with Glowing Eyes.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Ghidorah's Weather Manipulation which generates a gigantic, otherworldly tempest wherever he goes causes eerie, billowing clouds of fog, mostly notably during his Big Entrance at Boston.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: One of the features of the Aztec curse seems to be a perpetual fog that follows the Black Pearl around.
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999): This is a common occurrence throughout the movie, and is quite atmospheric. One notable scene has the fog rolling in at night and putting out the torches before the titular horseman appears.
  • Under the Bed: When the monster is about to appear, one thing that can happen is that the room fills up with fog.

    Folklore 
  • Kuchisake-onna is said to roam especially during ominously foggy evenings, looking for helpless victims.

    Literature 
  • The Bone Maker: One perpetually misty mountain valley is so infested with deadly monsters that the locals assume anybody who enters the mists is as good as gone. The heroes exploit this to cover their tracks, but have some very near misses there themselves.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian novel The Hour of the Dragon, Valerius curses the fog until he realizes it would hide his advance.
  • Earthsea: In A Wizard of Earthsea, Duny (who later becomes Sparrowhawk) uses a fog control/illusion spell to confuse invaders and save his village.
  • Gone with the Wind. After suffering hunger and cold during the Reconstruction, Scarlett has a recurring dream of running through a mist. The dream comes true after Melanie's death when Scarlett runs home to her mansion in the hopes of reconciling with Rhett. Rhett winds up leaving her. Ominous, indeed.
  • Lord Peter Wimsey: In ch. XI of Clouds of Witness, Lord Peter and his man Bunter interview a not very helpful witness who lives in a hut on the moors and then “like two Cockney innocents, Lord Peter and Bunter set forth at a brisk pace down the narrow moor-track toward Grider’s Hole, with never a glance behind them for the great white menace rolling silently down through the November dusk from the wide loneliness of Whemmeling Fell.” They wander around sightless for some hours, completely unaware that not far away, invisible in the fog, is a large and often fatal bog of quicksand. Until...
  • Stephen King's The Mist. Even when the monsters are not attacking, the ever-present fog strongly emphasizes the isolation of the survivors and the alien nature of the world outside.
  • Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy features metal-burning magic-users who have a certain affinity with the concealing mists that form from nowhere at nightfall, which commoners fear. When the all-powerful, immortal Lord Ruler is assassinated, the mists begin to emerge during the day, last for weeks, form ghosts, and kill people. Though that was to "snap" the skaa peasants and awaken their magic powers so they could fight in the final battle.
  • In the Old Kingdom series, fog can be a cover for the Dead, for whom sunlight is dangerous.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: the fog is symbolic of the mystery of Hyde, and sets up the dark and ominous atmosphere of London, especially the immoral slum of Soho.
  • The Tales From Camp Crystal Lake series of books by Eric Morse note  all feature a yellow fog which seems to make everyone feel more negatively, lubricating the lethal intentions of whoever finds the hockey mask as well as the Final Girl.
  • Ominous fogs and mists are a part of Alan Garner's fantasy trilogy beginning with The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, continuing in The Moon of Gomrath and ending - more metaphorically and symbolically - in Boneland. The dark lich Grimnir rises out of Lindow Moss bog in a twilight mist; the battles are fought in fog and mist and snow; and the adult Colin wrestles with the symbolic fog that has settled over his early life and memories, blotting out good and bad together save for flash-frame glimpses.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Justified in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Whispers", in which the monsters create the fog as a predatory mechanism.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Catspaw". The fog is weird because as Spock points out there is no water anywhere in the region.
  • Supernatural. In "Monster Movie" a shapeshifter is killing in the manner of 50's movie monsters, so has a handy bucket of dry ice to provide this.
  • Some Ultra Series kaiju can produce this stuff to conceal their presence.
    • Sadorah/Sadora/Sadola/Sadolar from Return of Ultraman possesses the ability to create fog with a secretion from its body. A particularly useful ability as it's not a very strong kaiju and relies heavily on striking at foes from a distance with its extendable pincers.
    • Magnia from Ultraman Tiga as a Shout-Out to Stephen King. The alien parasites that compose its body are perpetually shrouded in fog as they move around allowing them to latch onto hosts by surprise and turn them into zombie-like beings.
    • Banpira from Ultraman Nexus is a Giant Spider that fires fog from an organ located above its head. Combined with its incapacitating sonic screech, ability to spit a rope of webbing to snag human prey, and wipe memories of its existence with a flash from its eyes, and you've got some especially ominous fog with this guy around.
    • Ultraman Orb gives this as the signature ability of the Ultraman 80 monster Hoe. In his appearance in the series, Hoe is able to produce fog to shroud its presence, bringing a sense of dreary despair to the characters who fear Orb will be defeated by the monster.
  • The Untamed: Yi City is wreathed in fog and inhabited by Xue Yang.
  • The Vampire Diaries: A sure sign Damon's near.
    • This hasn't shown up recently; it's unclear whether it's been dropped or if Damon just hasn't felt the need for a while.
  • The X-Files. In "The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas" Scully wryly notes the presence of ominous fog outside a creepy old house and (correctly) guesses that it must be haunted.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Besides the darkness and the awesome creepy music, The Undertaker, in Deadman form, also has a good deal of fog covering the entranceway as part of his terror-inducing entrance.
  • Many in Pro Wrestling NOAH, most obviously company founder Mitsuharu Misawa. Samoa Joe's entrance wasn't just preceded by ominous fog to an even more ominous remix of his TNA theme, which is appropriate since he's basically a Misawa expy.
  • Cemetery fog follows in the wake of Evil Dead, the first Juggalo Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.
  • Upon his WWE SmackDown debut, Boogeyman was accompanied by fog that wasn't just ominous, but odorous.
  • Draculetta was accompanied by it in Wrestlicious, although it was a CG effect rather than something physically there for the live audience.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • Generously Lampshaded in The 39 Steps. The Heavies are hunting protagonist Richard Hannay and his unwilling sidekick, Pamela, across a Scottish moor. One of them comments on the thick fog — which isn't present, but the line is the cue for fog machines backstage to activate.
  • The Benjamin Britten operas Peter Grimes and Billy Budd have scenes with ominous fog.
  • In Hamlet, the old king's ghost first appears on a foggy night. Which makes sense since they're in Denmark and the castle is probably pretty close to the sea.
    • It's right on the strait between Denmark and Sweden; Swedish soil is visible from the castle.
  • In Macbeth, the witches chant, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air." (Also, the witches live on a moor, and Scottish moors are prone to fog.)
    "Look how suddenly it's come down... out of nowhere."

    Theme Parks 

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • In Alan Wake, you spend most of the game running through (natural) fog-shrouded forests. Every so often, the wind will pick up and the fog turns pitch black. From a story perspective, it indicates the Dark Presence is nearby, while from a gameplay perspective it indicates that you're about to be swamped by the Taken. Both are effective at escalating the tension.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, there is an ominous fog in the Hyde Park sequence. To get out the player must follow the lamps. Besides their light, there is nothing but the fog and the darkness.
  • Bug Fables: The Forsaken Lands are set in perpetual dense fog produced by the factories of the Termite Capitol, and as a result, it's very hard to navigate through them (which serves as in-universe justification for why this level serves as The Maze). The Giants' Lair also has a dark purple fog in the lower levels inhabited by the Dead Landers, though the exact source and nature of this fog is never made clear.
  • This is used in Chelsea to establish an eerie atmosphere in the town.
  • The Dead Mines: The toxic gas in the abandoned mine is normally nonlethal since the character is wearing a protective helmet. When the gas gets thicker as the player starts sealing off pipes, it turns into Fog of Doom.
  • In Demon's Souls, an ominous fog is what caused Boletaria to be overrun with monsters. In-game, harder sections of the dungeons are marked by walls of fog. If you see one in a large passageway, a Boss Battle awaits you on the other side. The fog sectioning off the game world also applies to its Spiritual Successor Dark Souls.
  • Diacrisis: It's pretty foggy outside the prison due to a snowstorm. As a result, it can sometimes make it hard to see anything out there.
  • Echo Night: Beyond featured fog that made the ghosts you were trying to help very hostile, forcing you to try and find ways to avoid or clear it out.
  • Fallout 4 Far Harbor has "The Fog", a heavily radioactive fog that rolls over Mount Desert Island. The Fog is dangerous on two accounts: the monsters in it and itself. The Fog is often very thick and therefore shrouds the monsters that live in it such anglers (mutant anglerfish), gulpers (very big and very hungry mutant salamanders), fog crawlers (gigantic amphibious shrimp), and hermit crabs (who are so big they use tankers for shells). The Fog itself has a detrimental effect on the mind, driving them insane and turning normal people into the cannibalistic Trappers if they live that long, as well as being chock full of radiation from the Atlantic ocean (which made the monsters in the first place). The Fog is a natural occurrence though as of late is has been growing larger and thicker, blanketing the entire island in it. The People of Far Harbor (post-War Bar Harbor, Maine) believe that the Children of Atom (a cult that worships the atom as a god) has made it worse while the Children see it as a blessing for their faith. Regardless, people are forced to live in rings of fog condensers to save themselves.
  • In Fire Emblem, the mountain-based stages are sometimes covered in fog that drastically reduces your party's chance to proceed freely *and* hides enemies from you. You either bring a Thief into the party, get some Torches, or use the Torch staff to solve the problem.
  • Large outdoor portions of Kentucky Route Zero are set in foggy, poorly-lit areas, both adding to the subtly uncanny atmosphere and shrouding some parts of the scene until the player character gets up close.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, fog rolls in on the ghost ship to emphasize its eeriness.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 2: Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places): The dense fog on Nontoonyt Island that appears and dissipates rather rapidly is a smokescreen for Dr. Nonookee's evil schemes.
  • Metroid Dread: The damaged E.M.M.I.=01P emerges from a foggy hallway to attack Samus.
  • Monster Hunter (2004): The Swamp (renamed Old Swamp in Freedom Unite) has thick purplish fog on areas 1, 2, 4 and 9 that can block your view of enemy monsters and the area in general.
  • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there's an ominous dark purple advancing wall of fog moving throughout level 8-1, which One-Hit Kill any player characters (and maybe enemies) on impact. The best advice is to run.
  • Indie PC horror game The Path features ominous fog when you approach the lake in the woods.
  • In Persona 4, murders occur when the fog is heaviest. In the latter parts of the game, it never goes away. The game is centered around finding the truth in the fog, which means finding the true culprit and bringing them to justice (although if you look deep into the game's philosophy and symbolism, it's a lot more than that). Also, the fog is used as a symbol of what humanity desires (in the eyes of Izanami)- hope, despair, and emptiness.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduced the fog atmosphere—it lowered your accuracy in battle. The HM Defog could get rid of it, but with a bit of trial and error, it's possible to find your way through without the move.
    • Before fog was a proper game mechanic, it appeared in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire in the haunted cemetery Mt. Pyre.
    • Pokémon GO features "weather boosts", where real-world weather conditions increase the spawn rate and stats of a given set of types. Fog boosts Dark and Ghost types, in keeping with this trope.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. There's a foggy area filled with many enemies the player must pass through before reaching the final boss.
  • Silent Hill, with fog originally added to hide the graphical limitations of the Playstation, is one of the more obvious examples, and eventually grew to become one of the central parts of the atmosphere; in fact, Silent Hill 2 for PC would never run on a GeForce 4 MX card because the fog was so goddamn detailed. It makes the gameplay terrifying, shows that the setting is terrifying, and is also caused by the town's terrifying nature. The review in UK's Official PlayStation Magazine actually praised the original Silent Hill for being a rare example of a good use of fog.
  • Heavily used throughout beginning zones in The Secret World, where the coming and going of an unnatural fog is a major element in the plot. A number of more dangerous things in the storyline are accompanied by thickening of the fog as well.
  • The mental facility in Silence of the Sleep is located high up and is constantly surrounded by rain and fog, making it impossible to leave safely.
  • The Skeleton: Dense Fog Mode covers the map in fog, which the trailer states makes it harder to see the skeleton.
  • Touhou 6: Embodiment of Scarlet Devil's very plot involves red fog clouding the sun. Though it doesn't show up on your screen.
  • In Undertale, an icy mist fades in and obscures the screen in the area where you fight Papyrus.
  • Drake Lake in Wave Race 64. It does eventually clear up.
  • Wick takes place in a forest steeped in fog.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara can create fog for cover at a moment's notice. Fog rolling inland is ominous to those who don't know a waterbender's about. Also parodied in a dream Aang had: he makes a dramatic entrance by kicking in the door, snapping his fingers, and fog rolling in.
  • The Liberator: A platoon of American soldiers is fighting the Germans in World War II Sicily. The opening scene has Sparks and the men advancing nervously through a fog-bound plain. Sure enough, the Germans pounce on them from behind the fog.
  • The Simpsons parodies ominous fog in the "TreehouseOfHorror IX" short featuring werewolf Flanders. "Guess I forgot to put the fog lights in!" Also parodied with the other Treehouse Of Horror short with the fog that turned people inside out.
  • Justified in the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? episode "Go Away, Ghost Ship," in that the mysterious fog that accompanies the "ghostly" Redbeard's pirate ship is produced by dumping blocks of dry ice into the water.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Lair of Grievous" the imposing entrance to the titular creepy hideout is hidden by a thick fog before Knight Nahdar Vebb pushes it aside with the force. It's a hint that the mission is not going to go as smoothly as expected, and it does indeed turn into a horrifying experience with only a single survivor.


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