Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Horrors of October 2013 - In the Mouth of Madness (#23)

In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

When I reviewed THE CALL OF CTHULHU on the 4th, I forgot to mention this mainstream Lovecraftian attempt, headlined by John Carpenter. A private dick (Sam Neill) is hired by a book publishing company to locate Sutter Cane, a popular horror writer whose stories are literally degenerating human life, and the titled manuscript. He figures out that the author is hiding out in Hobb's End, a quaint little town in New Hampshire that isn't on any map because it's a place Cane created in his dark writings. This movie is certainly something weird but in a great way. It actively wants to fall apart at the seams, delivering a rush of unexplainable horrors so you too can suffer like a Lovecraft protagonist. This may throw off and annoy some viewers though but at least Carpenter goes for broke, often helped out by the disturbing creations of Robert Kurtzman, Gregory Nicotero, and Howard Berger. What makes the film so thoroughly juicy is its meta-textual view of authorship; it plays with the notion that Cane is the true auteur of the picture, directing his peons to move forward under his strict guidance. "He" can even gleefully punish them, cutting out their time in the world simply by editing the film. This is pretty heady but trust me when I say that it makes sense when you watch it. In fact, just go out and see this now or go through the other entries of Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy (THE THING and PRINCE OF DARKNESS) before concluding the extinction of humanity with this.


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