the 15th anniversary of john carpenter’s, in the mouth of madness


Today…February the 3rd, 2010, marks the 15th Anniversary of one of my many favorite John Carpenter films.  In The Mouth Of Madness is another team effort by John Carpenter, Sandy King, and writer Michael De Luca.  The cast is a brilliant ensemble of characters played by Sam Neill, Charleton Heston, Julie Carmen, David Warner, and Jurgen Prochnow.  The story is loosely based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and Mr. Carpenter again delivers a fine tale woven with his great talents and unique style.

This one is a heavy dialogue piece, and it is a journey that takes a normal, well grounded in reality private investigator and follows him deep into the realm of insanity as the apocalyptic tale engulfs and makes him the main character in the story of the world’s end.  Sam Neill plays John Trent who is an investigator/specialist at insurance fraud.  He is hired by a publishing house to find their best selling horror novelist who has gone missing.  Sutter Cain is the author’s name, and his books, if you read them, will somehow give you horrible nightmares that will soon possess you and make you a follower of Cain!!!  Sam Neill is convinced this is a publicity hoax even though bizarre things start to happen around him after he  leaves Charleton Heston’s office.  Hell bent on proving this is all a hoax, Sam Neil buys all of Sutter Cain’s books and starts to read…yes the nightmares begin immediately, and Carpenter’s magic begins to drag you in and scare you but good.  Neill’s character discovers that all the book covers have some unusual artwork and, with scissors, he cuts away revealing a puzzle that in turn represents a map that takes you to the fictional town from all of Cains stories called “Hobb’s End”.  It takes a hellish nightmare to get you there, but once in Hobb’s End, you can not leave, and this is where the real horror and twists begin!!

This is a very rich tale done with great skill and John’s very dark sense of humor. The score is a wild rock and roll piece written and performed by Carpenter and Jim Lange.  Carpenter is always maturing as a story teller, and unique to this film is that he frames buildings and architecture through his camera in such a way that they, too, become characters in the story!!!  Carpenter is definitely a master at what he does, and this one makes for  another fun Saturday night flick to watch with a bunch of friends!!  Below are some pics from the film, the trailer and a couple of links to fully immerse you into the Mouth of Madness, Enjoy and Happy Anniversary.


nothing like having lunch with an axe murderer watching you

the madness begins

the mystery of the book covers

the map to Hobb's End

the scary church

It's Trent's story now

Trent is gone for good

when the world is about to end, don't forget the popcorn!!!

52 Responses to “the 15th anniversary of john carpenter’s, in the mouth of madness”

  1. 1 deg
    February 3, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Never saw it. Added to Netflix. I’ll come back later once I’ve seen it. Thanks for the heads-up, bro. 🙂

    peace | deg

  2. 2 johneaves
    February 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

    WOOO this one is a lot of fun!!!

    • 3 deg
      February 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Coolness. 🙂

      BTW, see The Book of Eli, eh. Excellent film, excellent faith-based film, excellent and unique sword-play/fight choreography, excellent acting, excellent art-direction, and killer score. 😉

      peace | deg

      • 4 DeanneM
        February 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

        I was trying to figure out which film I will see, as I only have the time to see one with my busy semester in full swing. This was on the list and will most likely win.

        Thanks for the nudge! 🙂

      • 5 Barrie Suddery
        February 4, 2010 at 5:27 am

        Seen it and I agree on all counts. A brilliant tale of how religion can heal wounds and be abused (in the case by Gary Oldman’s character) for power hungry ends.

        I’d like to recommend District 9 and Avatar (I saw it in IMAX 3D and it blew me away!)

  3. 6 Barrie Suddery
    February 3, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Haven’t seen it either, but since you’ve recommended it John and since Sam Neill is one of my favourite (and underrated) actor’s, I’ll give it a go.

  4. 8 DeanneM
    February 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I haven’t seen it either, but it looks like a fun ride! I love popcorn when I’m watching end of the world movies. 😀

  5. 9 DeanneM
    February 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    FYI – I’m working on the error with the 3rd image…it says it’s showing “mm6” but it’s showing “mm3”. When it’s fixed I’ll reply to this.

    • 10 DeanneM
      February 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      Well, if you click on the duplicate (second) image, you’ll actually get to see the right one. 🙂 Don’t know what’s up with this page.

      • 11 johneaves
        February 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm

        Hey you should watch this one and Alien back to back,,, and ALONE!!!

      • 12 DeanneM
        February 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm

        I just don’t see me watching either of these alone!!! Maybe next time you’re in the neighborhood, you can bring your copies. 🙂

  6. February 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    You all have never seen it? What’s wrong with you. I saw it at the theatre when it came out. Sam Neill is actually very funny in the movie. This is one of the few Carpenter movies that I like without Dean Cundey as the Director of Photography. I think Gary B. Kibbe tends to be a little flat. It also has another good commentary on the DVD but Carpenter always has to get Kibbe to talk about his work on the film. :)Love that poster also.

    • 14 johneaves
      February 3, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      your right about that commentary!!! Gary is a pretty shy guy and sounds pretty Nervous,,, I’m sure he must have sweated off 30Lbs while doing that commentary with John, Loved hearing what he had to say!!! He too is quite a master at his craft

  7. 15 Eric
    February 3, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Agreed, this is my favorite John Carpenter film next to “The Thing”. I dig the HP Lovecraft nature of “In the Mouth of Madness”.


  8. 17 Eric
    February 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    BTW, look out for young Hayden Christensen, on the bike.

  9. 19 the bluesman
    February 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I’ll have to check this out. Of course if Charleton Hesstion is in it then its an automaticmsut see for me.

  10. February 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    To this day, my very favorite horror movie, and the best Lovecraft on screen I think we’ve seen so far, even if it is more a homage than an adaptation. Love this film.

  11. 24 JNG
    February 3, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Ditto–from the description it seems like something I’d have checked out right away if I had known it existed.

  12. 26 Matt Boardman
    February 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Well, glad to see that I’m not the only one who hasn’t seen or heard of this one. Off to Netflix!

    • 27 johneaves
      February 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      not many have seen this one!! It came and went very fast!!! it was released right in the middle of the Oklahoma city bombing and everything else going on at that time was pretty much passed over.

  13. 28 Buckaroohawk
    February 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    This is one of Carpenter’s lesser-known films, but it’s definitely one of his best. You get pulled in right along with Sam Neill’s character. Your perception of reality changes as his does and I’m betting that you’ll feel more than a little bit uncomfortable at the end.

    This movie and “Prince of Darkness” would make an amazing stormy night John Carpenter double feature.

  14. February 4, 2010 at 3:00 am

    You are a wonderful man. I saw this a few years ago while channel flicking. I’ve wanted to give it another watch but could never remember the name.

    It’s now added to my rental list. And is slightly more classy than my latest pick, Zombie Strippers.

  15. 32 R.J. Minnes
    February 4, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Funny to see that so much supernatural mayhem seems to take place in New England…

  16. 34 huth
    February 4, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I grew up two streets away from the asylum. It’s actually a water cleaning facility.

  17. 42 Will Cox
    February 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Good lord, has it really been 15 years? It really doesn’t seem that long at all. I saw this when it first came out in theaters. It’s not the best John Carpenter movie, but on the whole it’s not too bad, and Carpenter does provide some creepy stuff here. Definitely see this if you are an H.P. Lovecraft fan.

  18. 43 Jay
    February 4, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    One of Mr. Carpenter’s better latter day films, in my opinion at least, and while not an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, its more Lovecraftian than a lot of movies that claim to adapt his work directly. Lovecraft is a tough cinematic nut to crack though, to be fair to everybody – although for my money, Carpenter’s “The Fog” feels more genuinely Lovecraft-y to me. I actually liked “In the Mouth of Madness” more in later years than I did when it was first released, and there are some elemts of it that I’m still not crazy about (ha!) but one aspect of the movie that was unquestionably fantastic was Sam Neil. He’s the linchpin that holds the whole thing together with the way he elegantly plays a man losing his grip on reality – or perhaps a man keeping a grip on his own sanity while reality slips away, depending on how you look at it. Bold casting there, as despite starring in “Jurassic Park” a couple of years before, Sam Neil wasn’t your standard central casting leading man. But, wow, what a performance.

  19. February 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Can’t believe I haven’t watched this one… or heard of it. I’ll add it to my list.

  20. February 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I’ve seen this a couple of times over the years, late at night on the BBC. IIRC, there’s a scene where Sam Neill stops his car in a street in front of a huge mob that look like they’ll tear him limb from limb. That really freaked me out the first time I watched it, because it’s the kind of situation you can actually imagine happening. No monsters or space aliens, just a group of people who out number you, out gun you and want you dead.

    I actually thought it was a Stephen King film, though. Just seems like the kind of thing he’d write. Sort of… “what would happen if my novels drove people insane?”.

  21. 51 Jeff Wright
    February 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    In a related note, I think the Dr Who program “Waters of Mars” Owes a lot to this film:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Darkness_(film) which was part of Carpenters Apocalypse Trilogy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_Trilogy

    I think Stephen King and Carpenter both had dreams of Mists and Fogs, with one remembering a dream of God striding just beyond visual range, that we saw from the hive creature at the end of the film adaptation of the Mist, that also dealt with religion’s abuses. There is a woman in Congress who is just like Carrie’s Mom-and Bachman is her name of all things!

    Strange, strange the universe is….

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February 2010

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