In the Mouth of Madness is a 1994 horror film scored & directed by John Carpenter (Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Someone’s Watching Me!, Body Bags, & Big Trouble in Little China). It’s the final installment for the Apocalypse Trilogy which includes The Thing & Prince of Darkness. Originally it was announced & developed in 1989. John Carpenter turned down the project at first. The two other choices to direct after that were Tony Randel (Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, & Ticks) & Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary 1/2 & Urban Legends: Bloody Mary) but the film didn’t get made until many years later with the master of horror deciding to give In the Mouth of Madness a chance after saying no when it was offered to him a long time ago. The feature plays homage to horror authors H. P. Lovecraft & Stephen King. It barely made it’s budget back at the box office.
After disastrous events, Dr. Wrenn (played by: David Warner from The Omen, Waxwork, The Company of Wolves, & The Island) visits John Trent (played by: Sam Neill from The Final Conflict: Omen III, Dead Calm, The Hunt for Red October, & The Piano) at a psychiatric hospital. Trent is a freelance insurance investigator & he’s offered a job looking for the missing horror author Sutter Cane (played by: Jürgen Prochnow from Das Boot, Dune, The Keep, & Beverly Hills Cop II) plus recovering the manuscript for his final novel by Arcane Publishing director Jackson Harglow (played by: Charlton Heston from The Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Ben-Hur, & The Ten Commandments). Cane’s editor Linda Styles (played by: Julie Carmen from Fright Night Part 2, Last Plane Out, & Manhunt: Search for the Night Stalker) is assigned to join John Trent for the investigation. They must find a town called Hobb’s End that’s not even on maps. After dealing with various weird situations, something doesn’t sit right with John Trent. He calls out Linda Styles about the whole thing being a hoax & the publishers just trying to promote Sutter Cane’s upcoming release. She admits it was all fake at first but everything that has happened in this mysterious town was very real & they had nothing to do with it. John Trent finds Sutter Cane & it changes his life forever. This new novel takes over the reader & turns fantasy into reality. In the Mouth of Madness is corrupting the world & no one can stop it now. Chaos has been set in motion & it’s nothing but delusions taking over from now on.
I might catch some heat for this but I consider In the Mouth of Madness the last great film for the legendary master of horror John Carpenter. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the other features after this like Escape from L.A. & Vampires but they honestly didn’t come close to this. The visuals, the atmosphere, the cast, the writing, the special effects, & the music were all top notch in this. The concept alone for this just grabs your attention & makes you want to check it out. Besides diehard horror fans, I don’t really see this production get brought up that much when it comes to everyone. I know it didn’t do that great during it’s original theatrical run but it stands out. It’s kinda been forgotten by the general public & that’s a shame because as far as horror goes it’s one of the best around from the 90s. It has so many memorable moments & it never gets old even after countless viewings. It’s one of those films that you notice stuff that you missed before & it adds to the excitement of the overall entertainment experience. I’ve owned this on damn every format & I am glad it finally got the proper high definition treatment from Scream Factory!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Scream Factory! This new 1080p (2.35:1) 4K scan of the original film elements completely blows away the old New Line Cinema / Warner Bros blu ray & any other previous home video release. In the Mouth of Madness has never looked this good before, it’s a HUGE upgrade! The English 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is top notch & it sounds fantastic in the home set up. Especially the score & soundtrack for the feature, it’s one of Carpenter’s best. It also has English subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this collector’s edition! “Audio Commentary” # 1 with director John Carpenter & producer Sandy King Carpenter. The married couple talks about this project being the first one that they shot in Canada. They discuss the cast, crew, & locations for the film. They have some great stories about the actors. They mention working with a lower budget on this. They talk about the Stephen King influence in this. It’s more of a scene specific track than anything, they go into detail about what’s in front of them at the time with various facts & information thrown in every once in awhile. “Audio Commentary” # 2 with director John Carpenter & Cinematographer Gary B. Kibbe. The visual team behind the film give their thoughts on the production covering various subjects. John Carpenter talks about this being apart of this Apocalypse trilogy. He goes into detail about the story & concept for the project. Gary B. Kibbe chats about his techniques & visual style for this. They bring up how they shot the special effects & creatures. Non stop conversation on this track & it’s very technical. It’s pretty cool to hear how they put this together visually. I prefer this over the other commentary. “Horror’s Hollowed Grounds” with Sean Clark is a little over 11 minutes. It’s good to see this familiar extra make a return on a Scream Factory release. Various locations used in the film are shown in this. Sean also includes some fun facts & reenacts some scenes. It’s hilarious & very entertaining.
“The Whisperer Of The Dark” is an almost 10 minute interview with actress Julie Carmen. She talks about how she got the role. She says it’s one of her most memorable characters that she’s played. She chats about working with Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, & John Carpenter. She brings up a few scenes that didn’t make the final cut. She says the world is crazy like how this production predicted. “Greg Nicotero’s Things In The Basement” is a little over 16 minute interview with the special effects artist. He talks about going straight from Body Bags to this project. He chats about his appreciation for the master of horror John Carpenter & his experience working with him. He goes into great detail about the special effects & creatures in the film. He covers most of the key moments from the production in this. It has all kinds of behind the scenes footage. “Home Movies From Hobb’s End” is a little over 12 minutes. If you are into behind the scenes footage & a deeper look into the special effects then you will love this extra. Greg Nicotero provides his unreleased home video material from the set of In the Mouth of Madness. “Vintage Featurette: The Making Of In The Mouth Of Madness” is 5 minutes. It has interviews with director John Carpenter, actors Sam Neill, Charlton Heston, Julie Carmen, Jurgen Prochnow, & crew members. It’s a quick overview of the story & the characters featured in the production. Last but not least, you get promotional material which includes the Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots. It has a slipcover & reversible artwork. It’s available everywhere right now & it comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!