Let me get this out of the way: I like The Fog. I like most of John Carpenter‘s work. Carpenter has the unique ability to use wide shots to set the scene, and give everything this sense of place, and contrasts that openness with tight interior locations. The tightness of those interior shots — or, in the case of The Fog, using the fog itself — is all the more intense when the viewer’s been made aware of the freedom right outside.
Carpenter’s score for any film is what ratchets up the tension to near-unbearable levels, and it’s much the same here. The minimalistic tones of its keys and synths are offset by the upbeat jazz tones broadcast by the San Antonio Bay KAB radio station, much in the same way that the wide-open shots are offset by the tight, close-up interior shots.