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John Carpenter Wanted to Use Metallica for the Opening Credits of ‘In the Mouth of Madness’

John Carpenter Wanted to Use Metallica for the Opening Credits of ‘In the Mouth of Madness’

While Halloween, The Thing, and Escape From New York are John Carpenter staples, his Lovecraftian In the Mouth of Madness has always been one of my personal favorites. Carried by Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill‘s performance as an insurance investigator in search of famed horror author Sutter Cane, the 1994 horror film also boasted an electric score by Carpenter and Jim Lang.

Out today, John Carpenter Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 brings together 13 classic themes from Carpenter’s illustrious career together on one volume for the first time. The opening track is that from In the Mouth of Madness, a Metallica-inspired riff originally played for the film by Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, and now played by his son Daniel Davies.

Carpenter, in speaking to CoS, explains why the theme song is in the vein of something off Metallica’s famed self-titled 1991 album:

“Jim [Lang] tried his hand at a main theme, and it just didn’t go,” Carpenter explained.

“What I really wanted was … I wanted Metallica. We tried to get ‘Enter Sandman’, but we couldn’t afford it, or they wouldn’t give it to us.

“I can’t remember what it was, but probably that they wouldn’t give it to us. I sat down and developed this theme on my own because I wanted something that gets up and goes there, you know? Not some spooky music. I wanted something to sound like heavy metal, and that’s what you hear.”

It all makes sense now…



  • jasonlives1986

    What’s with all the John carpenter non news stories lately

    • JoeInTheBox

      He’s out doing the press tour for his new album.

    • The chicken man

      He’s awesome.

    • MeeGhoulz

      Better talk about a legend while he’s alive. It pisses me off how often we only seem to remember some very relevant people when they die.

  • Demonizer

    Awesome article. Always thought it sounded like Sandman. Didn’t know they tried getting it though. Love the movie!

  • gjk2012 .

    The intro song of Carpenter’s is really good. Not many people can say they directed and made their own music for their movie.

  • The chicken man

    I rock out to the intro every time I watch that movie. It’s perfect.

  • Grimphantom

    It does have some Metallica vibe to it. Still glad Carpenter came up with his own, i really dig it!

  • Necro

    My personal #2 favorite film from Carpenter! ‘The Thing’ of course being #1 and ‘Halloween’ being #3. I absolutely adore this film and watch it at least 3 times a year! “What scares me about Kane’s work is what if reality shared his point of view.” “The sane and the insane could easily switch place if the insane were to become the majority, you’d find yourself locked in a padded cell wondering what happened to the world?”

    Love the theme to this as well, and I’m glad he came up with his own score. I gotta say though his score for ‘Ghosts of Mars’ was much heavier!

  • MrX13

    Does have a Metallica vibe to it! Sounds pretty good! Carpenter is a very talented man, writes, directs, compose music,…guy does it all!

  • thegunshow

    The initial opening sounds very reminiscent of Metallica and I dig it. But then it becomes a little Joe Satriani for me. Personally, I wish he had gone with another synth score since he is such a master of it.

  • Sean Smithson

    The theme is basically ENTER SANDMAN backwards. I actually had a laugh over this with a member from the band one night, when it first came out.

  • Alanmac

    LOVE In the Mouth of Madness. An absolute classic IMO. Thank god they didn’t get Enter Sandman. That would’ve definitely been a strike against the film for me.

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    They probably wanted more money for the song than Carpenter was getting paid to make the movie.

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