The Fog: Special Event Planning

The Fog (1980) is one of the last roles of Janet Leigh’s film career. Best known for her iconic role in Psycho, she plays understated event planner Kathy Williams in The Fog.

Kathy is planning the centennial celebration for the fictional coastal town of Antonio Bay, California. Her event-planning duties include scheduling speeches by town luminaries, prepping photo-ops with the Mayor, and unveiling of a statue for the 100-year anniversary.

Preparations are well underway when Father Malone declines Kathy’s request to deliver a prayer as part of the day’s events. She does not press the issue, however. She has other activities to finalize before celebrations begin. Unbeknownst to Kathy, Father Malone has discovered that Antonio Bay would not exist were it not for a deadly conspiracy in which its founders took part.

In an effort to improve a Leper Colony’s living conditions back in 1880, a wealthy man with leprosy purchased the Elizabeth Dane ship with plans to relocate. He asked one of the town founders, Father Malone’s grandfather who was also a priest, for permission to settle his colony one mile north of Antonio Bay. The elder Father Malone accepted the request but conspired with others to ensure the move never happened.

While the Elizabeth Dane was in route, the town founders lit a fire on the beach. The crew, believing the fire was a beacon, crashed. All six people on board perished. Worse, the conspirators recovered gold from the Elizabeth Dane the following day. Antonio Bay founded their settlement with gold plundered from the ship.

As Antonio Bay begins celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 1980, Father Malone voices his strong objections: “The celebration tonight is a travesty—we’re honoring murderers!”

His objections come too late, however. An otherworldly fog begins moving inland disrupting the lives of current city residents. In the fog are the ghosts of the doomed Elizabeth Dane. They have returned to avenge their deaths.

The meaning of a special day might be lost on those who are not directly affected. For Antonio Bay, the centennial hold special significance. How can city residents celebrate its founding and simultaneously honor that lost crew? Should they even try?

—Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph.D.

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