What Ghost Story Conventions do the Opening Scenes of The Fog depict and how are they effective

Ghost stories have been popular for hundreds of years, and people have various reasons for enjoying them, whether it’s to learn something of the spirit world, or simply for a good scare. Ghost stories often reflect upon religious or spiritual beliefs concerning death and the afterlife. People naturally want to believe in and thus, read about the survival of the spirit upon the passing of the human body. Descriptions of ghosts in stories fascinate mankind, because one day we too will be like them.

So in reading ghost stories, we learn of ghostly conditions and appearances, enabling us to become somewhat enlightened with what our future may hold. Ghost and Horror stories, whether modern or of old, all seem to tell similar stories about ghosts’ tragedies, unfinished business, unrest, visitations, and hopeless roaming amongst the living. They also sometimes share common ghostly messages of warning to aid those still alive, or tell of spirits with ill intentions, seeking revenge from those who wronged them in life.

Some ghost stories truly enlighten, while other ghost stories paint a picture of hell to frighten the audience. Ghost stories can be fiction or true, but usually include a haunting or experience with a ghost. Stories about ghosts are found within most cultures, whether modern or ancient. Ghost stories have some typical conventions which enable them to convey their message in a ghostly way.

Firstly, the time of the day is the main conventions, whenever there is an incident it is always dark and gloomy and linked to this is the bad weather that is always at the moment of the terrible scene. The dark weather emphasises on the danger and produces a scary atmosphere around also midnight is a popular time for ghostly events to take place as it is also known as the witching hour. For example the thunders and stormy winds that howls in at the time of bad moments, here also the weather may represent a warning for a bad event to take place.

In The Fog they have used howling winds and rain to show bad moments when the radio presenter is attacked it is very windy this makes the situation more intense. Also the use of the dark weather makes it more suspense because the fog is seen rising over the town, which gives a really effective change to the situation. The typical settings are always used as abandoned building, old massive mansions, graveyard, and forests to express the trapped sprits or ghosts, and these locations are always isolated so they are far out from the busy part of a town.

There are a lot of events of isolated people as well as locations for instance the radio, D. J presenter; Stevie Wayne is alone in the KAB lighthouse station. Dan the weatherman is also alone at the weather station additionally the cleaner is also alone at the supermarket where he experience rattling bottles similarly, a woman alone at home whose television and swivel chair play up randomly and at the car garage the horns go of, plus the petrol starts to leak.

The driver Nick Castle is also driving along a dark isolated road where he picks up hitch-hiker, Elizabeth Solley. Sometimes colour is used to show danger, for example red and blue. Red can be used to indicate arising danger or depict signs of death, in The Fog red is used as Elizabeth Solley approaches the car, minutes after they attacked and the window is smashed. Blue can represent death; for example when the fishermen are attacked the film colour turn blue to show the death scene.

Abrupt shock is also a vital convention which gives a sudden shock to the audience, for example in the beginning of the film; there is a small ancient watch is swinging left to right and Mr Machen suddenly grabs the watch, Additionally the horns that go of at the garage randomly, these are all the main conventions that are included in every ghost story. Three recent ghost films were ‘1408’, 2007 by Mikael Hafstrom, ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ 2005 by Scott Derrickson and ‘Riding the Bullet’ 2004 by Mick Garris.

John Carpenter has created some of the most intense, imaginative, influential and successful horror films in cinema history. Consider for example Halloween (1978), one of the most profitable independent films ever made. In order to enhance the realism of the narrative, Carpenter uses very simple camera setups and elegant composition, john carpenter is a very important director for the horror and ghost industry because he directed films within the town centre and made them with an unrevealing twists, some of his films are, ‘Ghosts of Mars’ 2001 and ‘Vampires’ 1998.

On the other hand John Carpenter is a horror film director so he made a ghost film also. One hundred years ago, on April 21st, the wealthy leper Blake bought the ship Elizabeth Dane and moved with his friend from a leper colony to California to build a town for them to live with more comfort. However, while crossing a fog in Spivey Point, they were misguided by a campfire onshore, steering the course of the ship toward the light and crashing her against the rocks.

On the present day, of the celebration of the centenary of the fishing town Antonio Bay, a glowing fog appears, bringing the zombies of Blake and his crew to kill the residents. Father Robert Malone finds the hidden journal of his grandfather in the wall of his church, and discloses that Antonio Bay was built with Blake’s gold. Further, a group of conspirators including his grandfather lighted the fire to sink Elizabeth Dane and robber Blake’s fortune and now the ghosts of Blake and his crew are seeking for revenge on the locals.

The centennial of the small town of Antonio Bay, California has finally arrived. However, the events of 100 years ago are about to come back to haunt the town, because a conspiracy of the town’s founders resulted in the deaths of several lepers in a shipwreck. The conspirators had planned to attract the lepers’ ship towards the rocks so that it would sink, and they could recover the cargo of gold and use it to pay for building the town. The sinister plot succeeded when a fog rolled in, blinding the crew, and forcing them to follow the false fire on shore.

Now the ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane’s crew are back – and so is the fog that led them to their doom. Only now, it conceals and protects the ghosts of the crew, as they seek their revenge on the residents of Antonio Bay… one by one! The Fog introduces some horror conventions, for instance the use of red colour in the danger time, to show the warnings. The use of violence, which is not ghost conventions, the crew attack the fisherman and brutally kill them, by making sounds of squirting blood and cutting of the flesh.

Also the use of mechanical breakdown at the moment of horror, this is shown in the film when Stevie Wayne is being attacked and she broadcasts on the radio for anyone to save her son who is at home, Nick and Elizabeth hear this and they head toward her house and rescue her son, at that moment when the zombie is approaching them, the tyres refuse to move out of a big hole of mud, as the zombie get closer they manage to get the car out. This increases the audience suspense.

All the conventions mentioned have been introduced in the film and they have been clearly shown in the film e. g. Abrupt Shocks, Isolated Locations, Setting, Time of the Day and other mentioned above. In the next few scenes I assume that the Zombies are going to be stopped by some cause like the discovery of the journal that Father Malone found with that they could maybe get some hints to what will happen next and give the crew anything they were particular after to save the town.

For a modern audience I would change the way the attacks were shown, I’d like to show them n full contexts for the audience to experience the entire mood. I would also change the weather of the bad moments to torrential rain and thunder, to emphasis the terrible condition of the situation.

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