In the Mouth of Madness
Relying on the clichéd, gimmicky premises that "reality is not reality" and "only the insane are sane," John Carpenter's worthless In the Mouth of Madness is a perfect specimen of the fright film cop-out. Sam Neill stars as a shrewd insurance investigator hired by a publishing company to find their missing marquee author: Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow). Cane, you see, is a horror writer whose popularity makes Stephen King look like a Hare Krishna peddling pamphlets in the airport. Lately, however, Cane's books have been having strange effects on readers, and the anticipation of his new tome has inspired murders and riots. Neill mysteriously winds up in the town of Hobbes End, the fictional setting for Cane's body of work. There, Neill is confronted with all manner of fright scenes: demonic children, bleeding mutants, angry mobs. The problem is that by setting the film in the alternate reality of Cane's imagination, Carpenter establishes no context for the scares, and absolutely no structure through which to combat them. It's simply a futile, boring routine of Neill confronted by random special make-up effect-laden monsters with no motives or purpose thus, while Neill is being driven insane, there's no incentive to care. Written by Michael De Luca, based on stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Presented in both 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full screen (both on the same side of the dual-layer disc), and both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Surround. Includes a commentary with Carpenter and director of photography Gary B. Kibbe. Trailer, snap-case.