"You are what I write." - Sutter Kane
Last week, one of John Carpenter's most horrifying films, In The Mouth Of Madness, made its way to Blu-Ray from Scream Factory. This edition is a 4K remastering of the original negative loaded with extras.
When acclaimed horror writer, Sutter Cane goes missing, insurance investigator John Trent is tasked with the case. He's a no-nonsense, by the book fraud investigator; he feels there is always a con, it's just a matter of when and how. But when Cane's trail leads him and book editor, Linda Stiles, to the seemingly Rockwellian town of Hobbs' End, which until now only existed in one of Cane's books, the lines between fantasy and reality become nonexistent and horrifying: It's Cane's world, Trent just meandering around the plot points and characters.
Sutter Cane was no doubt based on H.P. Lovecraft, the famed horror writer that created the old god, Cthulu, among other monstrous, cosmic entities. In The Mouth of Madness shows what would happen if all the slimy, tentacled creatures that Lovecraft wrote about were all real. And, not only real, but influencing the author from beyond time to write stories so realistic that the readers believe them without question. These beliefs give the creatures power to break the barriers of their cosmic prison and ooze into our reality.
In The Mouth of Madness is one of my overall favorite John Carpenter films along with The Fog, Prince of Darkness, They Live and Halloween. It genuinely scared me when I first saw it as a kid. The idea of someone so grounded in reality suddenly getting the script flipped on them and finding that they are a character and their reality is a book, is absolutely horrifying.
The 4K transfer of In The Mouth of Madness is nothing short of excellent! The creature FX that were already amazing are even more so now, as you are able to see just about every oozing, sinewy tendril of distorted flesh. The biggest set-piece, the black church, looks genuinely frightening. It gave me an uneasy feeling to begin with, but the 4K transfer compounds that dread. Another way the 4K transfer shines is in all the background details like the covers of the Kane's books, or especially that morphing painting in Mrs. Pickman's lobby.
As with most Scream Factory releases, there are a decent amount of extras. I wish there were deleted scenes, but there was one still of an alternate ending and some FX they were testing for it, so that was cool. The still they show is of Trent in the theater with Stiles leaning over from behind and her irises are splitting. For some reason, her overall look reminded me of Isabella Adjani in Possession...
Greg Nicotero's Things in the Basement: Monsters, Make-up, and Mayhem of In the Mouth of Madness is an in-depth look at what went into creating the breathtaking FX and offers great pre-production looks at the creatures.
With the current overall...shittiness of today's world, In The Mouth of Madness doesn't seem so far-fetched, but then I just remember, "This is reality!"