In The Mouth of Madness

Film, 1994

I was pretty mad at you, Ashley Hansen, for telling me to watch this movie when I saw John Carpenter’s name in the opening credits and has ever-present self-composed electric guitar score blaring behind it. But, thankfully, the hallmarks of what ruin Carpenter’s work for me ended there. There was a narrative arc, rather than a bunch of events mashed together, and the score was distinctly un-Carpenter. It maintained one of his best strengths, however- cool monsters. I’d never seen Sam Neil be a cocksure playboy before, and it turns out he’s pretty good at it, especially in this paranoid horror setting. The movie taps into the main strength of it’s inspiration, H.P. Lovecraft, which is an exploration and, ultimately, a validation of insanity. That’s a powerful idea and, I realized as I was watching this movie, the only thing that really scares me anymore. What if a crazy thing that someone says, the type of thing you always dismiss, has some validity? Alien encounters, ghosts, all types of visions. Taking them seriously for even a brief second can be a terrifying prospect. Think then how absolutely horrifying they must be then for the people who think they are real. Would it be so hard for some of the reality they live in to come creeping into yours? Are you so different?


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