The Mist is a thick, unnatural mist inhabited by various species of otherworldly creatures and deadly predators, believed to be from another dimension, and it plays a major titular role in the Stephen King novella The Mist, the 1985 interactive fiction computer game of the same name and the 2007 supernatural sci-fi/horror movie adaptation of the same name. It came upon the coastal American town of Bridgton, Maine after a severe thunderstorm that occurred at the mountains where the controversial military experiment codenamed "Arrowhead Project" (intended only as an extradimensional window to see what's awaits on the other side) took place. It becomes a living nightmare for all of the town's citizens including those trapped in the Food House supermarket such as famed commercial artist David Drayton and his son Billy, his disgruntled laywer neigherbor Brenton "Brent" Norton and the kind 3rd Grade teacher Amanda Dumfries. A delusional Christian woman by the name of Mrs. Carmody (also arrogantly called herself "Mother Carmody") with a twisted belief in an angry God who was among the trapped civilians in the store, sees the Mist as fulfillment of the End of Days prophecies and proof of God's punishment of the human race for their unrepented sins and dissolution.
On the night after a freak thunderstorm, the mist manifested, spreading first across Bridgton, Maine, and then an unknown amount of the country or possibly even the planet Earth.
In the novella, the mist lasted for 3 days and presumably even longer. It is unknown whether the mist was contained to an amount of the country or spread across the planet.
In the film, about three days into the mist disaster, the creatures were exterminated by the military, and the mist dissipated for unknown reasons.
In the novella, the mist is white, has an acrid smell, and warps acoustics, causing close things to sound far away and vice versa. It also darkens to grey at night.
In the film, the mist is chrome and apparently does not warp acoustics. It also turns a dark blue at night, and it is unknown whether or not it has the acrid smell it does in the novella.
Theories and evidence throughout the novella and the film suggest that the mist is an alternate dimension which poured into our own when the Arrowhead Project went awry. This theory is supported by the fact that the mist originated in Shaymore (which is where the Arrowhead Project took place) and there was a large amount of police and military forces heading towards Shaymore at the time when the mist appeared.
In an early draft of the script for the 2007 film, it was revealed that the Arrowhead Project did indeed cause the mist. During the storm, the personnel at the base were able to successfully open a portal to another dimension. However, just then, lightning from the storm struck the base, causing the machinery to overload and the mist and the creatures inhabiting it to pour through the portal from the other dimension.
The mist is inhabited by a large number of species, all of which hunt on the basis of scent (as the mist makes sight almost useless to them), but some of which can also be attracted to light. Most, but not all of the creatures are only active at night. They include:
- Tentacles (also called "Tentacles from Planet X")
- Gray Widowers
- Killer Kites (novella only)
- Green Flies (novella only)
- Giant Spider Creatures (film only)
- As it is very similar in both inhabitants and appearance, some Stephen King fans believe that the mist is the "Todash Darkness" from Stephen King's Dark Tower series - a monster-filled void that exists between universes.
- In the original script for the film, a prologue scene showed the military personnel at the Arrowhead Project base opening an interdimensional portal that allowed the mist and the creatures in it through into our dimension. However, this scene was scrapped to leave the origins of the mist more ambiguous.
- Very similar creatures to the ones inhabiting the mist appear in another Stephen King novel From A Buick 8. They die and turn to sizzling, black liquid outside of their world, just like the Tentacles from "Planet X" in the film, and are also believed to come from another dimension; possibly the same one.
- The Mist shares similarities with the Fog World from the Silent Hill survival horror videogame franchise series.