in the mouth of madness

Halloween Spooktacular: Day Twenty-Eight

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In the Mouth of Madness, 1994
dir. John Carpenter

I’m super John Carpenter trash, I literally enjoy everything he makes, what can I do? But, yeah, this film is really great, I thought, even though it probably feels the least like a John Carpenter film than I’ve ever seen. Probably because the font is all wrong in the “John Carpenter’s” bit in the title (it’s called “Albertus” if you’ve ever wondered what font he uses — side note: Woody Allen’s is called “Windsor.”)

The plot of this is totally bananas, but it’s very psychological and really plays with the viewer’s perception of what is and isn’t real. Are we in Sam Neill’s mind? Is he crazy or is all of this actually happening? Which I think makes for quite a gripping story because there are many layers of creepy to peel off. But, yeah, it still feels more like a Stephen King adaptation than a Carpenter film.

Overall, though, it’s as usual a really competent film, and a great end of the Apocalypse Trilogy, because just like The Thing and Prince of Darkness, there’s a bleakness to it that is rare nowadays. It’s one thing to have your Scary Monster kill everybody and whatnot, but to leave your characters hopeless at the end, gone mad, in the midst of utter destruction — it’s cruel and brilliant, because it adds all the more to the horror aspect of the film. It’s more than jump scares, and it should be. Jump scares are the laziest way to make people frightened in a horror film. Of course The Horror Master is above that!