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Sunday October 21st 2018

The Fog | 1979

The Fog filming location: Episcopal Church of the Ascension, East Laurel Avenue, Sierra Madre, California
The Fog location: the fogbound church: Episcopal Church of the Ascension, East Laurel Avenue, Sierra Madre, California

John Carpenter wanted to follow the runaway success of Halloween with a good, old-fashioned ghost story, but audience expectations led to the last minute addition of extra gore.

The director triumphs over the minuscule budget with imagination and widescreen bravura, as the long-drowned crew of a wrecked ship return to the California coastal town of ‘Port Antonio’ wreak whatever it is the undead wreak best. Usually havoc.

The Fog location: Point Reyes Lighthouse, northern California
The Fog location: the fogbound lighthouse: Point Reyes Lighthouse, northern California

It was filmed on the damp and, yes, misty northern California coast and – surprisingly – also around Los Angeles.

The town of ‘Port Antonio’ itself is Point Reyes Station in Marin County, on Highway 1 north of San Francisco. The unveiling of the statue of the town’s founders is at Olema Farm House Restaurant, 10005 Highway One, Olema (which used to be Jerry’s Farm House restaurant), a couple of miles south of Point Reyes Station. It’s on Bear Valley Road, running north from Olema, that Elizabeth Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis) hitches a lift into town.

The beachfront house is a little to the north, on the coast of Tomales Bay at Inverness.

The lighthouse home of radio station KAB, in ‘Spivey Point’, is the 1870 Point Reyes Lighthouse, down a long and narrow road from the town of Port Reyes Station. And once you arrive, there are 300 precipitous steps down to the light itself (so remember the return journey).

The dockside is alongside the Tides Inn at Bodega Bay, the famous location for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

John Carpenter's 1995 remake of Village Of The Damned returned to Inverness and Point Reyes Station.

Many interiors for The Fog, though, (including John Houseman’s beach prologue) were filmed at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue, in Hollywood, where parts of Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 had been filmed. It’s a modest little studio, but it’s had its share of memorable productions, including What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and In The Heat Of The Night.

So naturally, some of the locations were filmed around Los Angeles too – the ‘Antonio Bay Gift Corner’ is Laurel Canyon Country Store, 108 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, just north of Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, and the gas station is also in the San Fernando Valley.

To find the church of Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), you need to head east of Los Angeles to Sierra Madre. It’s the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 25 East Laurel Avenue at North Baldwin Avenue, just north of Sierra Madre Boulevard.