KING, STEPHEN – THE MIST – (1986) Sphere Books

 

A novella contained in the Skeleton Crew story collection by Stephen King, (reviewed as a collection in itself by me at SKELETON CREW and among his finest work to date. The plot is very straightforward, but chillingly effective. A small US town called Bridgeton is enshrouded in a mysterious mist like fog, after a storm.  People are heard screaming in the fog and many are never seen again. The hero makes a perilous journey by car through the Mist to joins a group of survivors who seek refuge in a large shopping mall, but the Mist seems to get in and kill many of them. The Mist seems to be a living feeding entity, but it actually contains octopus like creatures from another dimension. They attack tellingly in the spaghetti and pasta section of the store at one point. It transpires that scientists have been experimenting with dimensional barriers and they have unwittingly let the monsters through. The creatures seem to be some kind of Cthulhu like beings but we never get to see them up close so we are more afraid of them for the lack of close description. The Mist seems to interfere with radio signals as the hero tries to contact the outside World, but eventually he thinks he hears a voice on a distant, and obscure radio frequency, though he doesn’t quite know where it is. It seems that the mist hasn’t just affected one town, but all of America, and possibly the World. The hero drives out in his car into the Mist, hoping to breakthrough to the location of the radio signal. A terrific, atmospheric claustrophobic little story of some power, in a splendid value book of King’s finest shorter work to date. It is reminiscent in some ways of the work of H. P. Lovecraft (creatures from beyond) and the films of George Romero (the survivors trapped in a supermarket). http://www.horrorking.com/skeleton.html

 

A film version stays faithful to the story though goes for an extremely and powerful bleak twist ending – for once genuinely unexpected and shocking.

 

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