Saturday, October 04, 2008

31 Days of Halloween - Day 4 - Movie 1

Despite its contemprary setting, Stepehn King's novella "The Mist" was written as a throwback to horror and science fiction stories which appeared in pulp magazines in the 1930s. Frank Darabont's cinematic adaptation is similarly a throwback to monster movies made between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s.

"The Mist" (2007) has a very basic premise familiar to anyone who's watched "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead" or John Carpenter's "The Thing." After a powerful storm, residents of a New England town buying supplies at a supermarket find themselves isolated and locked in when a strange all encompassing mist swallows up their town. Worse, the mist contains "things"--creatures that look like they've escaped from H.P. Lovecraft's version of Skull Island. The creatures that have analogs in our normal world; insects, spiders, flying creatures, we get a pretty good look at, but there are others; huge lumbering beast that we only get to see in part or as hazy silhouettes, which makes them all the more awesome and mysterious.

These things, of course, are hungry and the people holed up in the supermarket do what they can to survive while fear, panic, suspiscion, mistrust, religious zeal, social divisions, and mob mentality chip away at their union as survivors, and humanity facing the collapse of civilization reverts to its brutal nature.

I was unable to see "The Mist" (2007) when it was released theatrically, which is too bad because this movie must have been something to see on the big screen. This movie was riveting. The tension began from pretty much the first frame and did not let up until the end credits had rolled. The cast was excellent and Darabont did a good job of, for the most part, not telegraphing which cast members were going to be bumped off. I strongly recommend this movie.


Martin Arlt said...

I love The Mist. It was actually one of the first King stories I ever read. The adaptation was pretty accurate, with the exception of the ending (which King said is better than his, and I agree. My wife, not so much). And I love the giant beast at the end, enough that I bought a concept sketch of it from Bernie Wrightson at Motor City Con this year.

Rozum said...

I can't wait to see that concept sketch. Was it one he drew specifically for you, or one he did for the movie? They show his concept sketch for that creature in a couple of the documentaries on the dvd. It's an amazing drawing.

As for the ending, I noticed that my favorite horror movies of the past few years all end pretty similarly, though "The Mist" has that extra punch in the face that the others didn't.