When You’ll Hear the Bowling Green, Kentucky References in John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’ and ‘Halloween’
One of my favorite parts of Halloween wouldn't exactly resonate around the rest of the country. That's because it's hyper-local.
JOHN CARPENTER AND BOWLING GREEN
When I was a freshman at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green in the fall of 1984, we would go to Downing University Center almost every Friday night to watch movies in the big theater. Among them were John Carpenter's The Fog and Halloween.
Those two movies had already come up in conversation but it was hardly a coincidence they were being shown on THAT campus. Carpenter attended WKU before transferring to USC's film school in Los Angeles. The house he grew up in, a cabin, is located on Western's campus.
And because of his love for Bowling Green, Carpenter paid homage to the city in those two horror classics. Since Halloween was the bigger of the two movies, that was the primary focus of our discussion about his usage of Bowling Green references in the films. But that one doesn't have nearly as many as 1980's The Fog, an underrated thriller starring two horror queens--Jamie Lee Curtis (who's become synonymous with the Halloween franchise) and her equally legendary mother Janet Leigh (of Psycho fame).
BOWLING GREEN REFERENCES IN THE FOG
But what ARE those Bowling Green references and when will you run across them in the movies.
Let's start with The Fog, during which you will not GET one of those references until the 33-minute mark when the Morgantown Road Cemetery is mentioned. In Bowling Green, there is a Morgantown Road but no cemetery.
The rest of the references are reeled off in a flurry of warnings by Adrienne Barbeau, who plays a radio DJ working out of a station in a lighthouse. From her vantage point, she's able to see where the fog is headed in sleepy (and fictional) Antonio Bay, California. Starting at the 58-minute mark, you'll hear her name-check Russellville Road. Then, 14 minutes later, from the 1 hour 12-minute mark through 1:13, here they all come as she warns people what areas to avoid so as not to be killed by the ghosts in the fog. In rapid succession, you'll hear Regents Avenue (runs through the WKU campus), Smallhouse Road, Chestnut Street (a hilly street that ends at Cherry Hall), and Richardsville Pike. There's an unincorporated community named Richardsville in Warren County as well as a Richardsville ROAD.
Also, the radio station where Barbeau works in The Fog is found at 1340 on the AM radio dial, the same as an old station in Bowling Green.
BOWLING GREEN REFERENCES IN HALLOWEEN
So yeah, there are way more Bowling Green names in The Fog than in Halloween. And after watching The Fog last night and marking down all those times, I turned to Halloween. And you really only get a couple unless I missed them, but I don't think I did. I mean, after about the half-hour point, it's just Michael Myers chasing every teenager in fictional Haddonfield, Illinois with a knife.
At seven minutes, in Halloween, "Smith's Grove, Illinois" is a black and white title card that appears on the screen. About 20 minutes later, a character mentions Russellville--the only Bowling Green area reference showing up in BOTH movies.
I've always loved this and we'll always have it. Again, it won't mean anything to viewers not from around here, but that's okay. That's something we'll always have to ourselves.