Friends, it might be customary to present a gift of silver for a 25th anniversary but with John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness – it might be more appropriate to gift the film something… blue. It was 25 years ago today that John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness was released to movie theaters – an amazing tip of the hat from the Director to the works of H.P. Lovecraft as well as being the third film in his Apocalypse Trilogy. The first two being 1982’s The Thing and Prince of Darkness, which had it’s premiere back on October 21st of 1987. A splendid and delightfully dark story of a writer of incredibly popular horror fiction going missing and the insurance investigator tasked with finding him… and realizing that ‘Reality is not what it used to be.’
Although my being a fan of the literature of H.P. Lovecraft was actually started when I rented 1985’s Re-Animator and then From Beyond a year later – it wasn’t until High School that I was properly introduced to the author’s work. Thanks to a friend who got me hooked playing the legendary Call of Cthulhu role-playing game in the library before school started – I ended up picking up a collection of Lovecraft’s stories at our local Hasting’s. It took that evening to read the entire book and when I put the book down I could definitely count myself a fan of the mythos of the Great Old Ones and the cosmic horror that the Author penned in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t long though after that before I started seeing some influences of Lovecraft in the films of John Carpenter – in particular I would point to some of the minor elements of Lovecraft in The Fog from 1980. But with 1995’s In the Mouth of Madness the Director was ready to present a pretty bleak story posing this question – what if Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones were real and ready to make their return… and how they would be welcomed back.
I caught In the Mouth of Madness on it’s opening night – rushing to the theater to meet my friends to catch the last showing after finishing work in fact. The weather was helping us get in the mood as it was a pretty violent thunderstorm, as we took our seats the movie began and that amazing and rocking soundtrack kicked in – which to me was an audio clue that Carpenter wasn’t going to be holding anything back. And John Carpenter certainly did not…
In the Mouth of Madness still holds up 25 years later and it is a film I will watch and enjoy a couple of times a year. In case you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing the movie for yourself – Insurance Agent John Trent (Sam Neill) is hired to locate one of the World’s most popular horror Authors, Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow) – a mix of Lovecraft as well as Stephen King. Cane has gone missing and his publisher wants Trent above all to find the missing manuscript of the Author and return it – to aid the rather cynical Trent – the publisher sends along Cane’s editor, Linda Styles (Julie Carmen). The duo soon find out that thanks to Cane’s work – the belief in his work from his legion of fans is about to rip reality asunder.
So why not join in the celebration of In the Mouth of Madness‘ 25th anniversary by joining us at the Haunted Drive-In – or rent the film yourself if you can’t join us? Or if you are pressed for time you might listen to the Projectionist and myself cover the film on an episode of the Saturday Frights podcast!