Saturday, September 7, 2013
In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
In the Mouth of Madness is a masterfully unsettling pastiche of H.P. Lovecraft's notions of terrifying old gods who once ruled the world and very much want to do so again. Sam Neill plays John Trent, an insurance investigator who is called in by a publishing house run by Charlton Heston to try and track down a famous horror author named Sutter Cane who is Stephen King's career (biggest author in the world) mixed with Lovecraft's story ideas.
Trent, accompanied by Cane's editor Linda (Julie Carmen) tracks the author to a little town called Hobb's End, the same town he writes about and gradually, the line between reality and fiction starts to fracture. We get the usual Lovecraftian elements in the film: a doomed to insanity protagonist, creepy small towns, horrible mutations, it's all there and it all works.
Carpenter directs with his usual flair and the film has a wonderfully creepy vibe to it, a vibe helped by Carpenter's score. Acting is also top notch with Neill turning a great performance as a man slowly losing his grip on reality, Carmen does pretty well with what she has to work with and Jurgen Prochnow is fun as usual as the author. I also enjoy David Warner and John Glover who appear in the beginning and end scenes as a psychiatrist and mental hospital administrator respectively. Warner is his usual reliable self but Glover just decides to make his character so damn odd that it becomes awesome.
The f/x stuff is good too as KNB turns in a nice variety of bloody hits, creature f/x and creepy visuals. The only issue I can think of is that you don;t really get a good look at the monsters that appear towards the end, but then again not seeing them makes them a bit scarier anyway so it's all good.
In the Mouth of Madness is a great, wonderfully creepy little flick that I've always enjoyed. It's well worth checking out.