What exactly is fog and mist you may ask? Certainly we see it, but can we really touch it? I am not sure, but Dictionary.com defines fog as a cloudlike mass or layer of minute water droplets or ice crystals near the surface of the earth, appreciably reducing visibility. Mist, on the other hand, is probably pretty similar but obviously spelt differently.
What we do know about fog and mist is that it is often used in horror films either create an atmospheric sense of the unknown or to hide awful effects. Either way, fog looms over horror like an ever pervasive mist of confusion. As such, we here at the Horror Grimoire wanted to explore the best productions that contain fog and mist or a combination of the two. Here we go, hope you don’t get lost along the way!
5. Silent Hill (2006)
Admittedly, this first entry will be a controversial, as the filmmakers choice to refer to it as ‘ash’ instead of mist seems like a rather low blow to TRUE fog aficionados. When you think back to the original games, has anyone ever thought they were surrounded by ash? Certainly not…
Putting verbiage aside, this is certainly a solid first entry as it has a nice thickness to it and is proper spooky. In addition, CGI mist is always going to be better than machines, machine mist is for independent hacks. Anyone can own a fog machine, very few can use CGI to make a convincing mist. Good job, computers!
4. Monster Dog (1988)
Alice Cooper may be the most underrated actor within the history of film. Monster Dog is a true masterpiece of horror cinema with a kickass soundtrack to boot.
The best part has to be the opening act which sees a group of people driving a van that proudly displays a carton of milk on the dashboard. Perhaps the milk is to reflect the sour milky fog that surrounds the car making it impossible to see. In fact, it is almost impossible to make out any of the monster dogs. Some may think they were ashamed of their effects or that they used way to much fog. However, the EDUCATED horror nerd knows that this obscuring of the hellhounds only aids an air of mystery needed in such masterpieces to hit that sweet spot of misty goodness.
3. Twilight (2008)
While Robert Pattison would sully his later career by working with such hack frauds as the Safdie Brothers, Robert Eggers and Claire Denis, it is undeniable that the handsome hunky boy never looked better than when he was bathed in the fog surrounding Salem in Twilight.
Horror and Twilight has not only become synonyms, with many not able to even think about horror without recalling the hit franchise, but when you throw fog in the mix, oh boy, you can almost say all three are intertwined in identity!
2. Neon Maniacs (1986)
A true double header of foggy action! Not only are the titular monsters constantly surrounded in fog, despite their design being the features best quality (never give the audience everything they want or else they will become greedy), but we have a band that performs with a fog machine!
Fog on fog, the film is a hallmark in the use of fog effects in film. Neon Maniacs easily lands in the number two slot, and I can’t think of a better horror movie from the 80’s that utilizes fog better then this one.
1. Karli (2021)
While yet to be released, the criminal actions of director Mike Clarke that have caused authorities to swarm his set with a light warning about using too much fog after setting off fire alarms at a heritage site.
Thus far he’s completely fogged out a church (Five Hells For A Thief), a heritage castle keep (Exhibits), and a woods in rural England (Karli). A true deviant, Mike may very well be the first man arrested for excessive use of mist, a crime punishable by death in his native England.
His crimes of foggy passion though do mark a true treat for fans of horror and low visibility. Certainly, when Karli is released, what little we can actually see of the film, is bound to a standout and a notable moment for the use of fog in cinema.