Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In the Mouth of Madness

In the Mouth of Madness; Horror, USA, 1995; D: John Carpenter, S: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, David Warner, John Glover, Charlton Heston

In a mental asylum, John Trent is screaming and talking with a psychiatrist about how he came here: he was a private detective and, together with Linda, got the assignment to find Sutter Cane, the missing writer of a horror novel. But there were traces that the evil forces from the novel truly came to life: when John and Linda drove to the town Hobb's End, they discover it''s almost identical with the town from the book. Then monsters showed up and kidnapped Linda, while Cane showed up to John and gave him his newest novel, "In the Mouth of Madness" in which he is the main protagonist. John escaped, but simply couldn't get rid of the book that got published all by itself and caused violence throughout the world. John gets out of the asylum and watches a movie about his events, laughing at it.

The second best John Carpenter film in the 1990's, right after "Memoirs of an Invisible Man", "In the Mouth of Madness" is an intelligent and philosophical horror that queues small but fine stylish details and procedures, and not disgust from excessive use of horror. The movie didn't do well at the box office and has a few disappointing moments, but it unravels just fine. It's intriguing when John Trent (Neill) draws crosses on his face to protect himself from Cane, as well as the scary story in which it seems he became just a character in Cane's book, whereas it's especially amusing how he tries to get rid of the novel by burning it, but it just keeps appearing all by itself again and again. It's a pity Carpenter didn't go a step further and turned it into a metafilm art-horror because there are still a few banal scenes and monsters that weren't used properly - for instance, John is in one scene chased by a bunch of monsters, but in the next they are gone and won't appear ever again. It seemed they are just designed for one time use, but this still remains a rather clever film.


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