Berni Wrightson in The Mist


It’s not giving too much away to let enthusiasts of tentacular horror know that Frank Darabont’s film of The Mist, currently fogging up UK cinema screens, contains these questing things among its torments. The Mist is based on a 1980 novella by Stephen King and the film has a decent King pedigree for once, with the director having previously made The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile while the creature designs are partly the work of Berni Wrightson, one of King’s artist collaborators. Wrightson’s web gallery has a number of his sketches on display although if you haven’t seen the film you should be warned that they spoil some of the surprises.

My good friend Mark Pilkington—weirdness wrangler, editor of Strange Attractor and all-round ubiquitous presence—reviews the film in this month’s Sight and Sound where he points out some of the Lovecraftian resonances. Tentacles aside, there’s a lumbering monstrosity near the end which manages to be far more Lovecraftian than the Cloverfield creature and I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the larger presences than the lesser beasties. The film’s lead character is a movie poster artist and the opening scene nods to an earlier film with an equally Lovecraftian atmosphere by having Drew Struzan’s art for John Carpenter’s The Thing on the wall in the background. The film’s siege situation is more the kind of story you’d get from an earlier writer, William Hope Hodgson, another purveyor of the malevolent tentacle.

Berni Wrightson and your not-so-humble narrator appeared together recently in Centipede Press’s A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft (yes, I am going to keep going on about this book for the next few months…sue me). Wrightson is represented there by his comic strip adaptation of Cool Air but his Mist drawings would have made equally worthwhile additions. If nothing else, 2008 is turning out to be a good year for horror enthusiasts.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The monstrous tome
Druillet meets Hodgson

4 thoughts on “Berni Wrightson in The Mist”

  1. This is one of those mainstream films that promptly slip under the radar in the summer release avalance. A pity, as it’s a real low-budget treat, and can be neatly placed in the ‘Lovecraft influenced’ genre along with the likes of Ghostbusters or Hellboy. Everyone: go see it!

  2. I saw the original MIST back in the 80’s and liked it. Not so much when I resaw it, some years ago. The new version, that one starred by that that guy who plays the young Superman in SMALLVILLE, really sucks. If there´s a new one, I hope it´s better.
    As for Wrightson, his illustrations for Marvel’s FRANKENSTEIN remain as some of my favourites.

  3. Hi Márcio. I think you’re confusing this with The Fog–a superior John Carpenter film based on his own story–and the crappy 2005 remake. Superficially similar ideas (and the similar titles don’t help) but The Fog and The Mist are very different at core.

  4. You got it right, man!
    My mistake, sorry. I’ll make a pilgrimage through the video renal stores around, and see if I can find “The Mist”, and check it out. But I do have he distinct feeling did I did see it before.
    Well, we’ll see about it.
    Best regards, friend.

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