In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 26, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 92 minutes
The Movie
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen, Charlton Heston, Frances Bay
Screenplay: Michael De Luca
Country: USA
H.P. Lovecraft was a wonderful horror writer. He gave us such classic stories as At The Mountains of Madness, The Rats in the Walls, The Color from Outer Space…more stories than I could ever possibly name here. Many filmmakers have taken his stories and adapted them to the screen: Dagon, Re-Animator, From Beyond, not to mention the filmmakers who have make films inspired by him: Alien, The Thing, Hellboy, again far too many to mention, any filmmaker who has made a film with 'the slimy darkness. Crawling from beneath the earth, driving men insane' styled storyline has, at some point, gotten some influence from Lovecraft. John Carpenter wears his Lovecraft on his sleeve in his 1995 picture 'In The Mouth of Madness'. Though the name Lovecraft is not mentioned in this film, his dark influence is surely there (other Lovecraftian names do appear) and it lies as a great homage to his work. Don't just write this off as a monster flick, though, this film is also a fascinating journey into fear and one's perception of reality and how it differs from another.

In the Mouth of Madness in the tale of John Trent (Sam Neill), an insurance investigator who, along with a representative from a publishing company, Linda Styles (Julie Carmen), is sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of author Sutter Cane (Jurgen Pronchnow), whose horror stories do far more than just inspire and entertain the reader. Trent finds himself in the imaginary town of Hobb's End, or is it imaginary, or is Trent's frame of mind being tried, and his predestination already written?

Sam Neill is always best in his manic roles, like the Dr Weir character in Event Horizon, and his nutso portrayal of the insurance investigator John Trent is right on the mark, and with cast mates such as David Warner, Jurgen Pronchnow and Charlton Heston, how can you go wrong?

At Fantasporto in 1995, this film was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film, and John Carpenter won the Critics Award. Again this is a film that is far too good to be treated the way Roadshow have treated it.
In the Mouth of Madness' intended aspect ratio is 2.35:1. Sadly, Roadshow has only given us a cropped 4:3 transfer here, but at least it is clear and free of any major artefacts.
It is clear and crisp, but unfortunately In The Mouth Of Madness is only available in Dolby 2.0. Turn up the volume though; it does really kick in now and then, even in stereo.
Extra Features
There are no special features on this disc.
The Verdict
Bend over horror fans as Roadshow disappoints with another poor representation of a great film. By all means, hire this film if you have not seen it, but don't waste your money on this pathetic release.
Movie Score
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