THAT’S NOT ROTTEN! John Carpenter Crafts a Lovecraftian Nightmare with ‘In the Mouth of Madness’

GameStop, Inc.

madness-1

After an incredible start as a filmmaker, John Carpenter started running into trouble in the ‘90s. The Chevy Chase led Memoirs of an Invisible Man was a total dud, though Carpenter was merely a hired gun. Returning to his roots in horror, Carpenter made In the Mouth of Madness, a Lovecraftian tale of terror. Despite the significant upgrade in quality over Memoirs of an Invisible Man, In the Mouth of Madness didn’t capture the affection of audiences or critics. In its opening weekend, the film ranked 4th, just behind The Jerky Boys movie. In the two decades since its release, In the Mouth of Madness has aged incredibly well, which explains why the film has earned a modest cult following.

Sutter Cane is one of the most popular authors working. He outsells Stephen King and readers are anxiously awaiting his next book. But there’s a catch: he’s gone missing. The president of the publishing house, Jackson Harglow (Charlton Heston), brings in John Trent (Sam Neill), a no-nonsense private eye. Trent is apprehensive about taking on the case as he believes it all to be a marketing gimmick. However, Trent’s mind is changed when he’s attacked by a random axe-wielding madman who asked, “Do you read Sutter Cane?” before being gunned down by police. When Trent learns that the crazed assailant was Cane’s manager, he takes the case. Teaming with Cane’s editor, Linda Styles (Julie Carmen), the duo travel to the idyllic New England town where Cane spins his tales of madness. In the town of Hobb’s End, the worlds of fiction and reality collide with terrible results for Trent.

madness-2

The script by Michael De Luca, who had a story credit on Judge Dredd, is filled with allusions to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Understanding the tone of the work perfectly, Carpenter doesn’t rely on simple jump scares. The film plays out in a slowly escalating manner of what-the-fuckedness. This is a film that embraces ambiguity when necessary. As he often does, Carpenter slides in his commentary upon those who find a correlation between violent art and real life violence, like the nightmarish visions that motivated Tipper Gore in the ‘80s. In one fell swoop, Carpenter takes the mantle of the mad creator Cane and the man driven mad by a world he didn’t create.

Providing journeyman work as usual, Sam Neill is a driving force in keeping In the Mouth of Madness a non-stop creepfest. His slow transformation from a reason-driven skeptic into a raving lunatic is slow and steady. Neill goes over the top, but not to the point of absurdity a la’ Nicolas Cage. Julie Carmen plays the role of Linda Styles as an opposite to Neill’s Trent. Where Trent is assured of the invalidity of Cane’s disappearance, Styles is assured that her terror is real. As the mad author, Jürgen Prochnow cashes in on the inherent creepiness of the German people. Francis Bay, best known as the grandmother in Happy Gilmore, has a brief but memorable appearance as the owner of a quaint bed and breakfast.

madness-3

While it’s easy to say that In the Mouth of Madness is a minor film from John Carpenter, it remains likely the strongest of his later efforts. In its own quirky way, In the Mouth of Madness is about creative control and coming to terms with how little control you may actually have. In a nice little meta topper, Trent enters a movie theater and watches the film version of Cane’s novel, the story he’s just lived through. Trent sits through the movie like countless gorehounds out there, maniacally laughing at every little glimpse of horror. Seemingly knowing that the film wasn’t meant to be a mainstream hit, the theater that Trent views the film in is entirely empty. Then again, the world had devolved into chaos following the release of Cane’s novel. Had more people seen the movie, we very may well have dealt with the collapse of society. Carpenter has that effect on people.

 

 

//

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Lim Kay Siu Talks About His Role as Gyatso in Netflix’s ‘Avatar’

International Star, Lim Kay Siu talks about his role as Gyatso...

Ernie Hudson Talks ‘Quantum Leap’ Season Two – Interview

Legendary Actor, Ernie Hudson Talks ‘Quantum Leap‘ Season Two, 2-Hour Season...

Morgan Jon Fox Talks About his Card Collecting Documentary ‘The Hobby’

Morgan Jon Fox Talks About his Card Collecting Documentary ‘The Hobby‘...

Event News Event Reviews
Aiden Sinclair and Michael Rangel Talks ’57 Ghosts’ Aboard the Queen Mary Séance

Aiden Sinclair and Apparitionist, Michael Rangel Discuss their new Theatrical Séance...

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open ‘Slashers Axe Throwing’ – Interview

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open Orange County’s first ever horror themed...

Charity Hill and Steve Sheldon, EPIC Ent. Host Immersive Christmas Experiences Across the U.S.

Charity Hill and Steve Sheldon, EPIC Entertainment Group Host Immersive Christmas...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre – Interview

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre on Sunday,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Saga! Back to the story!

Alright you monkeys, back to work!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Valentine’s Special 2024: pt 2

Happy Valentines day, Sugar Beet!

Cultural Junkdrawer: I’m not a Swifty, but…

CULTURAL JUNKDRAWER I‘M not a Taylor Swift fan but…     This...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...