The small coastal town of Antonio Bay is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary, only to have their upcoming celebrations marred by a series of bizarre events late at night. Car alarms go off for no reason, lights turn themselves on and off, church bells ring, strange earth tremors occur and other peculiarities, including a strange glowing fog that has started to appear off the coast at night, and finally the discovery of several mutilated bodies on a fishing boat.
The local priest, Farther Thomas (Hal Holbrook), says that legend has it that the town carries a curse, having been founded on smugglers gold that was taken from the wreck of a sailing clipper that crashed on the rocks 100 years ago. But of course, the mayoress (played by Janet Leigh) is eager to play down this story, and the recent strange events, and so forges ahead with the towns celebrations.
However, it would appear that the curse is all too real, and the long dead smugglers have returned to reclaim their gold, along with the lives of the townsfolk who's ancestors lured them onto the rocks. As the towns celebrations draw to a close, the fog roles in and the fun begins as the zombified cut-throats set about the unsuspecting townsfolk with cutlasses, boat hooks and assorted sharp implements whilst a small group holed up at the local church confront Father Thomas, in an attempt to find out what's going on and how to stop it.
Directed by John Carpenter, this is a classic ghost story that manages to be both creepy, atmospheric and exceptionally chilling and is one that I can heartily recommend to all serious horror fans, and general movie goers alike. Be sure to steer clear of the god-awful remake from 2005 though.