THE MIST question: in-universe, might Mrs. Carmody have been right

Note: I am speaking of the 2007 movie starring Thomas Jane, not the original (and superior) short story by Stephen King. Here’s a brief recap…no, screw that. Here’s a Wiki link.

Here’s what relevant. While everyone is trapped in the grocery store, Mrs. Carmody (who, incidentally, was probably widowed when her vagina grew teeth and bit off her husband’s penis mid-coitus), claims that the mist is God’s judgment on humanity for its scientific inquisitiveness; she also makes several predictions about what will happen and demands that David (the main character) and his allies (including his five-year-old son) be sacrificed to placate the Almighty. Anybody think that she might have been right? if yes, why? If not, why not?

I will point out, The Mist was defeated scant seconds after the majority of them die. In movieland, correlation ALWAYS equals causation, so… :smiley:

I’m sure that second correlation is a typo for causation, caused by your being distracted by work or chocolate ice cream or bare boobies, but I’ve scheduled some time to make fun of you anyway.

ETA: Damned edit function!

What kinda cookies we talkin’ about here?

Chewy chocolate cookies with chocolate chips. I also have some Glenfiddich but I’m not sharing that on account of being a bastard.

You left out the best choice: she was obviously wrong. Absolutely no evidence in the movie supports her claim (beyond one incident easily put down to coincidence, because as far as I recall it does not reoccur), and plenty of evidence indicates the mist was created by people. Moreover, the mist and the creatures in it could be defeated through ordinary human means, ergo, it was neither caused by god nor supernatural at all.

Serious answer: she was a nut, and completely wrong. I sure did enjoy watching her get shot.

I’ll share some lagavulin for that glenfiddich.

In the movie, she’s clearly wrong, for the fairly obvious reason that within a few days, the government is already restoring order to the area. The events of the movie are a terrible disaster for a small region, but clearly not the apocalypse.

Which I feel makes a lot more sense than the short story, which implies that the arrival of the mist has basically wiped out civilization. I found that hard to swallow, considering that we’d just seen a group of unarmed and untrained civilians hold out for two or three days in a big, glass-fronted supermarket. If those people can survive that long in that place, I don’t see any way a prepared military base could be overrun. The creatures are just animals. Exceptionally dangerous animals, but still just animals. A bunch of megapredators suddenly spilling out of a hole in time and space can fuck up your day real good, but they’re not going to topple human civilization. If they suddenly appeared worldwide, instantaneously, maybe, but as established in the beginning of the story, the mist is propagating from a single origin (the military base on the other side of the lake), and moving at the speed of a normal (albeit fast) weather front - the protagonist watches the fog bank spreading across the lake just before he takes his kid to the store.

Which leads me to my fan theory about The Mist. The titular atmospheric phenomenon is not just water vapor, it’s a subtly psychoactive substance that induces paranoia and impairs cognitive function in humans. Like most psychoactive substances, it doesn’t affect everyone equally: some people, like Mrs. Carmody, go psychotic. Other people, it impairs their ability to think logically to the extent that they start listening to lunatics like Mrs. Carmody. And in some people (the soldiers, the protagonist) it can induce suicidal despair. This is why, at the end when the military shows up, they’re all wearing gas masks - they’ve figured out the mist’s properties, and have realized that by neutralizing its effects, they vastly reduce the dangers posed by the creatures that live in it.

It’s either that, or Maine is populated almost entirely by credulous idiots perpetually teetering on the edge of barbarism.

Now that I think about it a bit, that might be an even better mind-fuck ending to the movie: a reveal that there was never any sort of portal to another world. The base was working on a weaponized hallucinogen that was accidentally released, and none of the monsters they saw were ever even real. The last scene of the movie, the protagonist is standing by his car, his dead son inside, screaming for the monsters to get him. A hideous beast lurches out of the fog and sinks a massive stinger into his neck - and then dissolves into a CDC worker in a bio-suit, with a syringe full of antidote.

Damn, Miller. That’s a pretty awesome alternate ending. I don’t like it as a complete substitute, as I love The Mist (and love the movie even more), but that’s fantastic.

Some persons might say that it was God, acting through the military, that ended the disaster; that it was David’s unwitting sacrifice of his son, the hot blond chick, Brenda Johnson’s mother, and the old dude whose name I don’t know that persuaded the Almighty to stop fucking with mankind. Obviously the world of the mist isn’t a just world, after all. The movie itself is my cite.

Maybe. On the other hand, it could be that the monsters we see at the store were only a tiny, tiny fraction of a much larger invasion.

Are you sure? Do you really want to say that to me of all people? :wink:

I had a response to this but after I put the above in a quote box I decided it was stupid. Rhymer policy prohibits me from undoing the quote box, though.

I don’t think Mrs. Carmody was insane. She was evil, hateful, ignorant, selfish, vile, malevolent, vicious, cruel, and probably from Etruria, but she wasn’t detached from reality.

So…it’s on Earth, inhabited by human beings, then.

I hate it was all a dream endings. The story ended better though.

If you’re basing it on the movie, there’s pretty strong evidence she was wrong - or outright lying.

She kept repeating ‘my life for you’.

When that line came up in King’s work before, it was directed to Randall Flagg, and there’s no reason to assume it’s directed at his opposite number, here.

So, God doesn’t have anything to do with Carmody - she’s with the devil, or close enough to.

Unless, in this context, God is the devil–i.e., is malevolent towards mankind, or is so different from man that we cannot understand his motivations but should only obey his dictates (i.e., man is Totally Depraved).


So much of my life makes more sense now!

In King’s universe of books, God doesn’t punish people. Anyone or anything that could reasonibly be interpreted as being God or acting on his behalf usually acts as a benevolent counterbalance to some evil. Randel Flagg had Mother Abigail. ‘It’ had whatever force drew the Losers together. So on and so forth.
Many, if not most, of Kings works are linked together. In addition to the Flagg reference, the mist itself and the creatures inhabiting it resemble an alternate horrific reality called “todash space” from the Dark Tower series (whose book cover David is painting in the beginning of the film).

So basically the consensus is that Project Arrowhead, either through their own misfortune or Randel Flagg’s manipulations, punched a hole in reality, releasing the most horrific safari imaginable.

We don’t know that. It’s deliberately ambiguous since the last lines of the story indicate they are following a garbled radio transmission to Hartford (or hope).

If the hole couldn’t be closed, it would. Forget the animals. Covering the entire world with a thick mist would destroy civilization by itself.

That only works as a plot element if the characters are only killed by other characters. Because you know what also induces paranoia and impairs cognitive functions? Swarms of unseen monsters tearing people limb from limb. Turning the mist into a halucinogenic then requires an even more complex explanation as to how those people died.
The purpose of the mist from a storytelling perspective is to a) indicate to the audience that this phenomenon is otherworldly. As in it is literally the atmosphere from another world flowing into ours. And b) obscure the creatures that live in the aformentioned mist making them b.1) more dangerous and b.2) scarier. Better to just keep it simple.

Have you been to Maine?

That doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Why would sacrificing this particular kid be the key to ending the ordeal? There’s no connection between the David and his family, and the rift to the other world, except vague geographical closeness. There’s no particular connection between David and the idea that “scientific inquisitiveness” caused the disaster. David’s not a scientist or philosopher, or really any kind of an intellectual. He illustrates horror novels. Why is it this guy, out of all the people in the world, who has to sacrifice his son? I don’t mean that in a, “How is that fair?” sense, I mean it in a “Why would a deity care about this particular guy and his son?”

Also, the military rescue has clearly been going on for some time before David pulls the trigger. While a deity doesn’t necessarily have to obey the laws of linear causality, we’re starting to define a god here whose actions are indistinguishable from the workings of random chaos.

We could also look at the question from the perspective of established religious tropes, particularly in horror fiction. If we’re positing a standard Abrahamic God, then the idea that David ended the invasion by sacrificing his son is right out. One of the definitive features of the Old Testament god is that he’s dead-set against child sacrifice. The mist could have been created by the devil, and the military intervention might have been an act of god, but these facts would be entirely divorced from what happened to David and his kid.

Of course, there were the various pagan religions that did practice child sacrifice, which is what the Bible is reacting against when it talks about forbidding the practice, but that model doesn’t really work here. The idea behind child sacrifice would be to show that your devotion to your god outweighs your love of your own child. That aspect is wholly missing from David’s sacrifice. He killed his son because he thought it was the best way to protect him, not because he was giving it up in favor of something he valued more. I don’t see how that sort of sacrifice would mollify that sort of pagan deity. Now, if Mrs. Carmody had killed David’s son, that would be a different story, because presumably, the people in the supermarket would form the seed of a new cult of worshipers. But David isn’t likely to become a cultist because of what happened. He’s more likely to just eat a bullet the moment he gets his hands on a loaded gun.

Lastly, there’s the Lovecraftian eldritch horror type of deity. Frankly, this story has their tentacle prints all over it. But the Great Old Ones (excepting maybe Nyarlathotep) don’t show mercy, and they don’t cut deals with humans. If one of them could kick a hole in the walls of the universe and let monsters in, they’re not going to repair it for any reason relating to the actions or needs of humanity. And even if Nyarlathotep is behind this (King’s hinted that Randall Flagg might be an avatar of Nyarlathotop), you’re still back at the same problem with the pagan gods: David isn’t a worshiper, and he didn’t kill his son in exchange for anything.

I’m not scared of you, Skald. At my disposal, I’ve got a team of Japanese teenagers in jumpsuits that can turn into a giant robot. Do your worst.

She’s absolutely insane. Even if she’s right, and she is channeling some eldritch abomination, she’s still fucking crazy, because worshiping an Old One and good mental health are mutually exclusive, by definition.

I don’t think the behavior of the characters in this story is particularly realistic. I’d expect social order to break down eventually. I don’t expect people to revery to stone age paganism in the span of three days, particularly since the events they’re witnessing can be explained through a traditional Judeo-Christian theological framework. People in that situation would, at worst, revert to an extremely insular and violent interpretation of their native faith. In short, if the social contract disintegrated entirely, they wouldn’t rally behind Mrs. Carmody’s call to return to the “old gods.” They’d burn her as a witch.

And even then, it would take more than three days for them to degenerate that far. Humans are a lot more resilient than that.

Well, it wouldn’t “all” be a dream. I’m thinking more along the lines of an unreliable narrator, a la Fight Club or A Beautiful Mind, or a PKD-style “What is reality” mindfuck. Although generally speaking, I’m usually disappointed with monster movies where it turns out there was never a monster. I definately prefer the movie’s real ending to the one I suggested.

I question the idea that a world-wide fog bank would doom human civilization, but setting that aside, if they can reach the location of the breach, and secure it, then they can just build an airtight box around it, and the mist problem is solved. If it really is just water vapor, it will eventually evaporate into our atmosphere. Might have some interesting effects on global warming, but probably nothing catastrophic.

Sure, I don’t think this would work if you took the movie as-is, and added a new ending to it. You’d have to change up a lot of the action scenes, make it so that you never directly see anyone killed by a monster, have a lot of the deaths accidental or self inflicted from fighting the hallucinations. It would necessarily be a very different movie in a lot of regards. As a monster movie, I think it would be much less interesting. But one of the things I loved about the film, in particular, was that absolutely brutal ending. I’d be interested in seeing that aspect amped up, even if it means sacrificing some of the coolness of the monster movie aspect.

Note that I’m not arguing this ending would be better, just that it would be an interesting approach to the concept.

Have I ever been to Maine? Yeah, right! I went there as part of a package tour to Atlantis and the Plateau of Leng.

“Been to Maine.” Jeez, the things you hear on the internet. :stuck_out_tongue:

Why does any god other than Athena do anything? Non-Athena deities are generally inscrutable, by which of course I mean they’re assholes. And the god Mrs. Carmody worships seems very like the god in the early Old Testament.

Hey, I just said it wasn’t Athena, now didn’t I? :wink:

I agree with you about Yahweh coming out firmly against child sacrifice; in fact, in the parts of the OP I edited out for brevity, I commented on that. I can’t say much about horror fiction in general, as I don’t like it much and haven’t read many horor novels or watched many horror movies.

You’re right in virtually every way there. Fortunately the OP is just a hook to talk about the movie.

Actually my thought is more that whatever God exists in this world saved David after the killing of Billy et al as a very dark practical joke.

How many times must I tell you people not to tell your opponents what your assets are?

You’re right there, but…

… wrong here, I think. People would be looking both for some ordering framework to make sense of things, and some sort of scapegoat to vent their fear on. I think a Mrs. Carmody could have accomplished what she did in the movie. I’d have been out of there a lot sooner than David … or, denied that opportunity, I might have broken Rhymer Rule #2 and done violence to a woman. Bound & gagged her and placed her in a storeroom, perhaps.

It must be a pretty big hole in spacetime. Remember that gigantopod they saw at the end? It was the size of an office building. Plus it’s a hole in the fabric of reality. I’m not sure you could put a box around it any more than you could put a box around a black hole.

Covering the entire world in a thick mist would have a catastrophic effect on global warming.

It’s not just creepy mist and dangerous animals. It’s a whole alien ecosystem that is far more aggressive than our own.

Although there’s no solid evidence Mrs. Carmody was right and you can believe that the death of the main character’s son and the arrival of the army was merely a coincidence . I believe that it was strongly inferred by the director when we see the main character stare at Mrs. Carmody as she passes by on the bus. This always annoyed me.

Mrs. Carmody isn’t on the bus at the end. She had her brains blown out by Karl Rove back at the supermarket. The person David sees on the bus is the woman who begged for help to go and rescue her own son at the beginning of the movie, and was refused.