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…