“The more we progress into the future,” Darabont continued, “the more there’s going to be a part of society that wants to go back to a very primitive, very superstitious [time]. And ‘The Mist’ really spoke to that.”
Darabont also unpacked the movie’s central theme, pointing to the scene where Thomas Jane’s protagonist, David Drayton, says, “Yeah, when the machines are running and everything’s fine, okay. […] But turn off the lights, and no lights, no machines, no rules, you’ll see how savage people get.”
“I love when an unpretentious genre movie will actually present a significant theme like that,” Darabont said. “It’s under the donuts and candy, there’s actually a very nutritious meal and I love when that happens.”
To preserve the integrity of its shocking ending, “The Mist” was made under a much tighter budget than “Shawshank” or “The Green Mile.” And since it was coming from the creature feature tradition, anyway, it saw Darabont shifting into B-movie mode. Yet this is something that was hard-wired into the DNA of the story, which was also perfect fodder for a black-and-white director’s cut, available on the two-disc Blu-ray.
“When I was reading [‘The Mist’], somehow I just pictured one of those low-budget movies that we grew up all watching. In my case, pre-video, late at night usually on some creature feature. It just reminded me of that sort of ’50s, early ’60s, low-budget, usually black and white, grainy kind of horror movie. It just felt like one of those things. And that appealed to me greatly as well. So it’s a fascinating balance to me between very high-brow and very low-brow elements. And nobody does that better than Stephen King.”