Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Most Terrifying Part Of The Mist Isn't What You Think

Few filmmakers in the history of cinema have had quite as much success in adapting the work of famed horror scribe Stephen King to the big screen as Frank Darabont. In fact, many consider his treatment of The Shawshank Redemption to be the best adaptation of King's work in film history — if not one of the greatest movies ever made. Darabont followed that success a few years later with an equally beloved adaptation of King's spiritually-charged prison fantasy The Green Mile, introducing the world to the late great Michael Clarke Duncan in the process. 

However, it wasn't until 2007 that the director adapted one of the author's true-blue horror confections. There was genuine excitement when Darabont took on a lesser-known King short story called The Mist, which depicts a small New England town consumed by a thick fog rife with ungodly creatures that feast on human flesh. Darabont more than delivered the goods, too, conjuring a nihilistic nightmare of a film steeped in Lovecraftian lore and boasting creature creations that inspire awe and absolute terror in equal measure.

Unfortunately, not many people actually witnessed the grotesque wonders of The Mist in theaters, with the film bringing in just under $60 million during its theatrical run (Box Office Mojo). Thankfully, folks have continued to discover the film in the years since, with The Mist boasting some serious cult cred these days and often being ranked among horror's all-time greatest films. And while fans new and old continue to tremble at the sight of the ghastly behemoths that linger in The Mist, a recent Dreadit thread confirms that many viewers are far more terrified of the film's human foe.

Marcia Gay Harden's religious fanatic is the most terrifying monster in The Mist

If you've seen The Mist, you know that human foe is Marcia Gay Harden's religious zealot Mrs. Carmody, who believes the killer creatures are God's ultimate judgment and that their hunger can be quelled by "expiation" — which essentially means blood sacrifice for those not familiar with the finer points of biblical insanity. In the case of The Mist, that comes to mean human sacrifice, with Mrs. Carmody and her flock casting supposed sinners to the beasts in hopes of saving their skins. And yes, Marcia Gay Harden's wonderfully over-the-top work as Carmody is every bit as horrifying as all those Dreaditors make it out to be.

In fact, user Daethheven claims the actor actually stole the show from Darabont's creatures, writing, "She was amazing in this movie. She was more memorable than the actual monsters." Likewise, Mst3Kgf claimed Harden so sold the role that you fully understand why the film's heroes would rather brave the beasts instead of Carmody and her crew: "You believe that the heroes would rather take their chances with the Lovecraftian monstrosities than stay trapped with her and her insanity."

User ZombieStarfish clearly agreed, adding, "She is why I loved this movie. The human aspect terrified me more than the creatures. It's so terrifying because it's so real." Not surprisingly, pretty much every post hails Harden's performance as one for the ages, with Juniper Man claiming the actor made her character so detestable, her death earned cheers from a usually subdued British audience: "I'm from the uk, people don't really vocalise anything at the cinema but when her character was killed is the only time I've experienced people cheer."

Indeed, most fans of The Mist likely cheered when Mrs. Carmody finally met her end, because real-world monsters are always scarier than the stuff of even your worst nightmares.