Julie Carmen

In the Mouth of Madness (1995) - John Carpenter

A marriage between writers Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft and horror director John Carpenter. A deep dive into the depths of insanity and psychology. It's a strange movie with some really key scenes for any horror movie fan. It came out during a time when Sam Neill was very popular.

The story is told in a flashback. An insurance adjuster (Sam Neill) is investigating the disappearance of horror writer Sutter Cane. After his books seem to be having a strange effect on his readers. He goes with the writers editor (Julie Carmen) to look for the fictional town, Hobb's End. In hopes of finding the reclusive writer. They actually find the town and find themselves being written into the next bestselling Sutter Cane book. Or, did they not exist until Cane wrote about them?

This is a pretty close attempt to get Cthulhu on screen. I love the Lovecraftian imagery. The entire Mrs. Pickman thing is awesome. You even get a Cthulhu cameo in the painting in the lobby of the hotel. Again, really awesome. The name of the author Sutter Cane is obviously a reference to Stephen King. There is even a scene where Sam Neill remarks that Sutter Cane has out sold Stephen King.

The content itself is beautiful. Done as well as only John Carpenter can do. The special effects are practical and very high-quality. Only a handful of scenes take advantage of CGI. But, only a handful of scenes really need a lot of effect. It's the subtle things here. This movie is really eerie and creepy without the need for copious amounts of violence, blood or gore.

This is the final film in John Carpenter's 

Apocalypse Trilogy.

To date, I have reviewed all three of these films.

The Thing, Prince of Darkness

and finally

In the Mouth of Madness.

If these movies spell out the end of days, then I cannot think of any better content. Each movie equally good in their own ways. Each ending with such despair.

In the Mouth of Madness

is highly recommended. It's a thought provoking psychological terror film with a really good cast and equally good staff. The story itself is frightening and Carpenter really pulls it out. It just misses out on a classic JC soundtrack.


John Carpenter


Sandy King


Michael De Luca


Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow and Charlton Heston


New Line Cinema

Release Date: 

February 3, 1995


United States

Did ya know: 

In the film, the works of Sutter Cane are occasionally quoted. Most if not all of these quotes are actually taken directly from several H.P. Lovecraft short stories with some adaptations to fit them into the film story. Most notably, in the scene where Styles reads to Trent as he gazes into the abyss--her speech lifts much of its description, including such elements as "the illimitable gulf of the unknown" from the last few paragraphs of Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls." In an earlier scene as well, Trent reads a line verbatim from Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark," in reference to the black church being "the seat of an evil older than mankind and wider than the known universe."