Movie of the Week: In The Mouth Of Madness (1994)

John Carpenter directs Sam Neill, Julie Carmen and Jürgen Prochnow in this Lovecraftian horror where an insurance investigator must track down a missing horror author whose best selling books might be driving the world psychotic.

“Do you read Sutter Cane?”

My first 18 certificate at the cinema. Snuck in between my sister and cousin at the Warner Village multiplex in Park Royale. What a baptism of fire?! Creeping psychological disintegration meets gore, monsters and jump scares. You can approach it as a loving parody of the Stephen King phenomena and tropes or as an apocalyptic vision of our world giving way to mania. Either way it constantly slaps. We are the only sane man in the asylum. We are seeing the axe murderer slowly cross the street towards us with only a window to protect us. We are looking down the alleyway at police brutality that doesn’t need a face covered in rotten latex to feel frightful and deranged that we accept it is as reality. We are pulling at the tear in the marketing poster peeking at the writhing truth that lurks behind it à la They Live. We are caught in a timeloop with boy on a bicycle whose journey never ends. We are arriving at Hobb’s End… one of those North Eastern little towns where Needful Things and Salem’s Lot occur… and we are arriving as the third act is about to get underway. Paintings live, zombie children swarm, somethings in the greenhouse, the old lady behind the hotel room desk is losing it, the church is besieged by gun shot wielding locals, and they are the good guys. The end is nigh and we are just getting started. The only way out of Hobb’s End is a pulsating door to oblivion, a passageway guarded by a wall of monsters (one of many half glimpsed treats from the gloopy lunatics at KNB EFX Group), a rip in the pages of an unpublished bestseller, a peek into the abyss of our nightmares. Sam Neill is playing against type here, his diamond cut movie star looks and innate decency chafing against a cocksure sleaze role. Carpenter’s score goes for head banging rock to ease us in. He plays with so many horror modes so masterfully here that I’m surprised In The Mouth Of Madness has not outgrew its cult standing and become a key classic in the horror canon. Then again I had to order the Blu-ray from Spain to own a copy so someone is missing a trick over at Warner Bros.


Perfect Double Bill: Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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