John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness was released in 1994 costing roughly 14 million dollars and bringing in a shade under nine million at the domestic box office. Written by Michael De Luca whose only other horror screen writing credit is for the screen play to Freddy’s dead In the Mouth of Madness is a creative and original script executed masterfully by John Carpenter.
The plot follows John Trent played by Sam Neil as he investigates the disappearance of horror novelist Sutter Kane(clearly inspired by Stephen King). He is accompanied by Linda Styles a representative of Kane’s publisher played by Julie Carmen. The publishing house run by Jackson Harglow (played by Charlton Heston) stands to lose untold millions because Kane’s book is due and both he and the manuscript are missing.
The film’s strength comes from its unhinged and playful concepts of reality and how people define reality. Elements of Kane’s novels seem to be creeping into the “real world,” but even this could be perception of the paranoid.
Carpenter structures the film as a traditional detective story that descends step by step further into a truth that cannot be understood. Simple camera shots become haunting in conceptual reveals. In the Mouth Of Madness is thoughtful and intelligent horror at it’s best. If you missed the film I strongly urge you to check it out for yourself. If you’ve seen it before, revisit it, the movie holds up well by and is much stronger than the bulk of horror films produced.