Fans of Lovecraftian horror, this Fiendish flick is for you. Welcome back, my little mad gods, it’s Friday yet again. Are you ready to get a little crazy? This week we’re going to look at John Carpenter’s 1994 film, In the Mouth of Madness.
“A reality is just what we tell each other it is. Sane and insane could easily switch places if the insane were to become the majority. You would find yourself locked in a padded cell, wondering what happened to the world.”
Starring Sam Neill as Insurance Investigator John Trent, who thinks he has been hired to investigate a simple case of insurance fraud, but starts to wonder if he might be being played by the very people who hired him. Trent is hired to find renowned horror writer Sutter Cane (played by German Actor Jürgen Prochnow), who has up and disappeared with a book past due. Cane’s novels have a rabid, cult-like following, who have no problem shedding blood to show their appreciation for a few new pages. The publishing house teams Trent up with Cane’s sultry Publicist Linda Stiles (Julie Carmen), sending them both on a quest to find the missing Author, by following clues pieced together from the covers of his books. They of course find what they were looking for, but weren’t looking for what they found. Cane’s stories have a life of their own in the sleepy little New England town of Hobb’s End, where curiously enough, none of the locals have ever heard of Sutter Cane.
The works of Sutter Cane Drawing directly from the works of H.P Lovecraft, In the Mouth of Madness asks the question, is sanity merely majority rules? Is it possible to be the only sane person in a society seemingly gone mad? Or are you by default the insane one? Questioning sanity is high up on my fear factor list (U.S. politics makes me question this often), and this flick does an interesting job illustrating what it’s like being a reasonable person in an unreasonable world. The movie is an obvious nod by John Carpenter to Horror Writer Stephen King. Hobb’s End mirroring King’s fictional town of Castle Rock, and what it would be like to have the sudden realization that you were a figment of the iconic Writer’s imagination. That notion combined with the Mad Gods of Lovecraft, a random Rosemary’s Baby reference, and some awesome practical effects, make this a horror movie must in my opinion. Lovecraft alone has never scared me. Monsters beyond the scope of human comprehension have always been just that, beyond comprehension, therefore unrelatable to me. Fear of Madness though, that is more frightening than death itself, and John Carpenter mixes these ideas with his King/Writer concept like the Master of Horror that he is.
Though, I may be biased being a Writer myself. Of course I’m going to get a kick out of a flick where the Writer makes all the rules, and can make you do any little thing he/she wants. “Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?” -Ruby