Wednesday, May 29, 2013

IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (1994) movie review

In the Mouth of Madness (1994) d. Carpenter, John (USA)

“Have you read Sutter Cane?” With echoes of Lovecraft’s mythology and blatant parallels to bestselling author Stephen King’s career, this represents one of Carpenter’s most intelligent and daring efforts. Called in to investigate the disappearance of popular horror writer Sutter Cane, insurance investigator Sam Neill attempts to determine whether or not the whole thing is a huge publicity stunt. Meanwhile, the release of Cane’s latest novel coincides with outbreaks of violence and maniacal behavior among the reading populace.

Written by Michael De Luca (who also exec-produced), this is as imaginative and apocalyptic as Carpenter’s 1987 bomb Prince of Darkness, minus the cheesy acting and lame attempts at comedy. Nightmare imagery (such as shifting painting figures, the double wakeup and the “all roads lead to the angry mob” sequences) combined with a strong stripe of dark humor creates one of the finest horror films to examine the dodgy line between fiction and reality.

Julie Carmen, whom genre fans will recognize from her sexy vampiric turn in Fright Night II, plays Neill’s traveling companion to the mysterious Hobbs’ End, a cursed town depicted in Cane’s novels (an obvious substitute for King’s Castle Rock, and a nod to Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit). Look sharp to catch Skywalker-to-be Hayden Christensen as the mysterious nighttime paperboy.

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