In THE FOG by James Herbert, a peaceful village in central England is suddenly shattered by a catastrophic earthquake that produces a yawning, seemingly bottomless crack in the earth, from which escapes a fog unlike anything the world has ever known. For whomever the fog touches, it drives insane. Uncontrollably, violently, insane.
Herbert’s novel isn’t as bloody as its premise suggests, but in 1975, it would have been considered splatterpunk. Overall, it’s held up rather well over the years, making a very compelling read, and with its frequent printings over the years, could now be firmly considered a horror classic.
In short, I liked it. It’s like a very British version of the film THE SIGNAL. My only complaint was we are given very long descriptions of the lives of people we know are going to go insane or be killed by the insane. Since I understood they weren’t going to survive the chapter, I found myself not really caring to get to know them with a very long setup. It would have been much more frightening if we got to know a large group of people and by the end of the novel most of them had suddenly gone insane.
As it is, though, the novel works very well. As the fog claims more and more victims, it becomes downright apocalyptic, and readers wanting more crazy in the book will get as much as they can handle.
Herbert’s written a large number of great horror novels over the years. After enjoying THE FOG, I’ve added THE DARK and THE RATS to my reading list.