Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Studio: New Line Cinema
MPAA Rating: R
Director: John Carpenter
Review Rating: 8
When an infamous horror writer goes missing, insurance investigator John Trent has to descend into madness to find him.
This is actually one of the better horror movies out there today, being a John Carpenter film of course, but also belonging to that small sub-group that is the pride of my personal collection – movies where the Bad Guy wins. In the Mouth of Madness receives this prestigious award by technicality, but, it still counts. We have Sam Neill as John Trent, who delivers the best one-liners with either the totally deadpan straight man bent, or revels in the insanity half of the whole thing with an abandon I’m sure we’d all love to emulate once in awhile. And Jurgen Prochnow stars as Sutter Cane himself, missing hack horror writer and new God. Julie Carmen does fine in the role as Styles, although I do think any number of other women could have done just as well.
So Sutter Cane is this very, we’ll say mesmerizing, horror writer and he’s gone poof somewheres. His style of writing has a tendency to drive people absolutely looney tunes, clearly demonstrated at the very beginning of the movie, when Trent while discussing the case with his friend, gets attacked by an axe-wielding maniac who somewhat calmly asks, “Do you read Sutter Cane?” Trent and Styles, an editor assigned to the case, go off looking for Cane and somehow find themselves in the sleepy little town of Hobb’s End, which is only supposed to exist in Cane’s stories anyhow. And from there the discoveries and realizations get remarkably worse, we find out that Cane’s writings are literally changing the world, and getting ready to unleash a kind of new Hell on earth. Along the way the movie cleverly poses the idea, that if enough people believe strongly in something, does that make it real?
For this magnum opus, Carpenter throws a little of everything our way – the slimy Cthulhu-like monsters, the kindly little old lady axe-murderer, the contorting possessed people, even the demonic children! A must-see for any horror-phile who wants a little of everything at the buffet line of Carpenters’ genius!