In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
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Epic. Scares the shit out of most people even today... Do you read Sutter Cane?
John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness seems of a piece with They Live. The Lovecraftian title is no accident. In the film, an insurance investigator (Sam Neill) tracks a horror novelist whose books are making people go insane. The trail leads him to a fictional town where he is in danger of being absorbed by the fiction, of turning into a character in the Lovecraft/King stand-in's next novel. Even the audience can't trust reality when the protagonist keeps slipping in and out of consciousness. The film has the perfect nightmarish quality to achieve these effects, but at the same time, that arch comedic tone found in other Carpenter movies. Beyond the chuckles and the frights, is the existentialist horror that comes when you realize reality is manufactured, that if enough people believe an idea, it becomes true. This theme returns again and again, not just in the main plot where the book's ideas rewrite people's psyches, but in small details like Neill's inability to smoke in the presence of others, a symbol for changing social mores. In the Mouth of Madness will reward multiple viewings.
I would not read Sutter Cane since I don't read Lovecraft, King nor Koontz, but I am happy to wait for the movie. This is the most meta-horror movie I've ever seen that doesn't wink at the audience. It forces you to question your own sanity and reality to the point where your reaction to this will reveal alot about the type of person you are.
Plus this has Vigo the Carpathian and young adult Anakin Skywalker. What more can you want!
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!
In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #150 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
This movie ranks #320 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists