Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carman, Jürgen Prochnow, Charlton Heston
Written by: Michael De Luca
Directed by: John Carpenter
Original Year of Release: 1994
Distributor: Scream Factory (Shout! Factory)
Run Time: 1hr, 35 minutes
I can honestly say that I saw John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness in the theater back in 1994. Truth be told, I saw it again on the big screen just a few years ago. It is his last great film work. Sorry John, but after watching the Ghosts of Mars (2001) and Vampires (1998) most fans of your work will agree with me.
The film has endured. Which is a true testament to any horror film today, whenever it was released. Sam Neil plays John Trent, a man brought in to debunk a phony insurance scam by a book publisher. Their claim is that their highest grossing horror novelist, Sutter Kane (Jürgen Prochnow), has disappeared. It is up to Trent to prove that it is all a publicity stunt and bring Kane in. However, the film doesn't open so black and white. In fact, we find Trent being admitted into an insane asylum telling his story to a therapist. Is Trent crazy? Is Sutter Kane real? To carry it one step further, can Kane's fiction become reality? All this and more awaits you In the Mouth of Madness.
Neil plays Carpenter's typical modern day gunslinger. He wants a challenge, needs the challenge and will stop at nothing to win. Where this character really takes a departure from the likes of Snake Plissken (Escape from New York), MacReady (The Thing), and Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China) is that in of the adversary in which he must face. Those other three characters, all played to perfection by Kurt Russell, didn't have a mind-bending reality conundrum to tackle, nor were they the "audience". Trent’s quest seems simple enough to find Sutter Kane and prove the whole thing is a hoax, but that is where the story keeps throwing curve balls at him. Unlike Carpenter's other gunslingers, where we were observers, here we are a participant. So much so that we too go insane with each twist the story takes. In short, the film’s story becomes our reality.
As I mentioned above the film has endured the test of time. A reason for this may be that the Horror genre itself has evolved. Now we find Horror on television in every capacity from anthology stories to weekly episodes. Fans of the genre have always wanted something different and In the Mouth of Madness is exactly that. A horrific thrill ride that keeps you guessing as the lead character cannot find his way out of his predicament. All of John Carpenter’s work, up until this point, have become the horror standard to which critics and fans hold new entries into the genre against. There is one in that lot, prior to 1994, The Prince of Darkness (which also has a Scream Factory Collector’s Edition), has become more popular now than it has ever been. It too is a film, like In the Mouth of Madness, which pushes the boundaries of our understanding and give the audience some much more to chew on.
Again, Scream Factory has delivered a stellar 4K transfer and enough NEW special features to keep old and new fans of the film satisfied long after the credits have stopped. What more could you want to during the Halloween season?
- NEW 4K scan of the original film elements
- NEW Audio Commentary with director John Carpenter and producer Sandy King Carpenter
- NEW Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – a look at the film’s locations today
- NEW The Whisperer of the Dark - an interview with actress Julie Carman
- NEW Greg Nicotero’s Things in the Basement – a new interview with special effects artist Greg Nicotero including behind-the-scenes footage
- NEW Home Movies from Hobb’s End – Behind the Scenes footage from Greg Nicotero
- Audio Commentary with director John Carpenter and cinematographer Gary B. Kibbe
- Vintage Featurette – The Making of In the Mouth of Madness
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots