In The Mouth of Madness is one of my favorite horror films of all time. This film is a very underrated and highly thought provoking which is very unique to the genre, especially lately. The movie explores what would happen if insanity was sanity and normal was abnormal.
The film starts out with John Trent, (Sam Neil) who is a professional Insurance scam investigator, busing a scam artist. We get to know a little about the mentality and arrogance of Mr. Trent through this brief encounter and we get a picture of his beliefs and thoughts on the criminal world. He thinks of himself as the best at busting scam artists and takes his job very seriously.
John Trent is then brought in to help a publishing company find author Sutter Kane (Jurgen Prochnow), who is their best selling horror author that has recently gone missing. He is told about Sutter Kane’s work and how some of his readers are affected mentally by his books. John, looking for all angles and thinking this is a hoax to sell more books vows to find Sutter Kane and expose an elaborate insurance fraud, which he believes is spear-headed by the publishing company.
John begins his investigation by reading Sutter Kane’s books and finds a map by piecing all Sutter Kane’s book covers together. John returns to the publishing company and explains how he is going to find Sutter Kane and will travel to the fictional town in which most his books are written about. The publishing company wants their editor Linda Styles (Julie Carmen) to accompany Mr. Trent on his trip and they take off on an adventure of terror and mystery.
When they arrive in town everything about the town is from the writing of Sutter Kane. The people are the same, the buildings are the same and events that occur have all happened in Sutter Kane’s writing. Believing that his is an elaborate set-up, John Trent believes this is a publicity stunt by the publishing company to scare him and use his eye witness account to drive sales higher for the new book by Sutter Kane entitled “In the Mouth of Madness”. He has heard that this new book will actually make you crazy, and drive you to the brink of madness.
As the movie continues, weird and strange occurrences change John’s mind about the town and events that have been happening to him and Styles. Styles has turned on him and he comes face to face with Sutter Kane who reveals that he has not been writing fiction, but has in fact been writing the “New Bible” which will change the world forever. He is unleashing hell with his books and insanity will be the new sanity.
If I were to go any further into the story, I would spoil to many scenes and secrets. This is highly intellectual movie that leaves you thinking long after you have finished the movie. I believe this is one of the most underappreciated horror films of our time and needs to be seen by everyone who considers themselves a fan of the genre.
I have seen too many movies with cliché plots, unoriginal ideas and regurgitated scripts in the past few years. Isn’t it time you experience something truly original?
The cinematography is brilliant, and affects the entire feel and ambiance of the movie. John Carpenter uses little background details to heighten your sense of security and level of suspense. Some of the creative effects for creatures are a little cheesy, but it was good for the time in which this movie was shot. I like the way that information is given to the viewer slowly and purposely without giving too much away.
This is one of John Carpenters best pieces of work and I would recommend it to anyone!