Eldritch Horrors: In the Mouth of Madness

Do you read Sutter Kane?  Because In the Mouth of Madness is the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the movie poster or the title above to download our review of the film, featuring Sean “Hollywood” Hunting.

Review in a Nutshell: A reality-bending, Lovecraftian pastiche that never really comes together, In the Mouth of Madness is an interesting failure. It’s not nearly as bad as everyone claims it is, though.

And thus we conclude our H.P. Lovecraft theme month. Thanks for listening, Lovecraft fans, and eldritch dreams to one and all.

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14 Responses

  1. Though in the end, I like this movie, it always felt like the cinematic equivalent of a basketball player blowing a slam dunk. You cheer and cheer as you watch him sail up for the sure thing, and then…

  2. I am glad that I’m not the only one who hated the paper-reality tearing scene. It wasn’t that it was a bad effect, I hadn’t been expecting ILM level effects in the first place. But to plop such an pointedly unrealistic and dreamlike image into the film when they’d been taking such pains to establish an is-this-real-or-a-dream feel takes me right out of the movie every time.

    Other than that one scene, as a Lovecraft fan I’ve always greatly enjoyed ItMoM and am glad you finally got around to it. Though if you think about it, you could have used several of Carpenter’s films.

    You mentioned Prince of Darkness, which has already been covered by the podcast, but the remake of The Village of the Damned, The Thing, and even The Fog have strong Lovecraftian themes.

  3. We’ve already covered The Thing, too. As for the other ones, none of them are as overtly Lovecraftian as In the Mouth of Madness. I wouldn’t describe Village of the Damned or The Fog as some of Carpenter’s stronger work, either, although The Fog does have some great examples of his trademark establishing shots.

    The paper-tearing scene is definitely a directorial miss-step, but at least we know where it came from, i.e. not having the time and budget to do a bigger, more realistic special effect. I even like the idea of it, it’s just the execution is a clunker.

  4. I didnt know David Warner and Jurgen Prochnow where in this. hhhmmmmmm……. maybe I should check this out

  5. I love this movie so much. This and Big Trouble were my first two John Carpenter movies. At this rate you’ll be done with all of John Carpenter’s films in no time. I remember being a little disappointed in the commentary that comes with the film as the commentary was very technical in nature. I love hearing about how the movie was shot but sometimes too much is just too much. I guess it comes down to personal preference. Thanks so much for posting this episode. Hoping you do an episode on ‘The Fog’ one of these days. There’s just something about that film that I love so much.

  6. Paul,
    When are you going to open a Twitter account. I would so follow you.

    Please do another Godzilla movie soon.

  7. I do have a Twitter account now. Look for gooberzilla; I think you’ll find me. Not that I have much meaningful to say on there. Mostly it’s just me razzing my friends and getting in 140 character long arguments with people.

  8. I’ve always thought they needed to do a Godzilla vs. Cthulhu movie.

  9. In the Mouth of Madness is a personal favorite of mine; it was one of the first DVDs I ever bought, along with The Matrix and The Crow. This movie, along with the works of author William Browning Spencer (in particular his novel Resume With Monsters), was my first introduction to Lovecraftian ideas; I then read The Rats in the Walls, which was in an anthology for a class I was taking, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

  10. I can’t believe you still haven’t done Point Break yet – it seems like the kind of film this podcast was made for. I totally skipped the Lovecraft stuff (I’m British so don’t have the same, built-in appreciation for his work), so I’m hoping for something to draw me back in.

    Come on Gooberzilla, Point Break…it’ll be gnarly, or something.

    Anyway, keep it up and whanot, cos you’re doing a good job.

    P.S. Your website doesn’t display very well on a 4:3 screen. You should tell your web design dude to switch to a fixed width layout.

  11. Unfortunately, Simon Pegg has ruined Point Break by feeding it to a generation of hipsters that only appreciate its greatness as a punchline, not as the Greatest Movie EVER. I plan to do it at some point, but I’d rather let the furor die down a bit, lest I AGAIN be accused by my cohost of being a hipster. Would you settle, perhaps, for Navy Seals?

    I don’t have a web design dude, so if the layout looks terrible, I have no one to blame but myself. Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  12. I can’t wait for the sequel to that Swayze classic, Point Break 2: Break Point

  13. My first encounter with this movie was before it was even released when I saw a TV special feature about movie special effects which had a segment on ITMOM.

    They showed all the rubbery monsters, their names and how they were put together which really made me want to see it, but I never got around to it. I think they called the 30 puppeteer one “Monster Mass” and there was one called “Meatball Eater” because of the structure of its mouth.

    Your review really makes me want to finally watch it and maybe even finally read some Lovecraft, but the former is far more likely to happen.

  14. The big problem with Carpenter is that he wears his influences both lovingly and defiantly on his sleeve. Quentin Tarantino has the same problem but there is a difference. Tarantino bludgeons you with his influences so he can either a) fill in gaps that occur due to his lack of talent when creating his narratives or b) throws so many of them into his creations that he might as well have both a Reference and a Resources section in the ending credits just to show how cool he is for including them.

    John Carpenter truly loves his influences to the point that they get in the way of his own vision. Even to the point that these influences overwhelm and suffocate whatever story he is trying to tell.

    When Carpenter can walk that fine line between influences and inspiration its magic (The Thing is arguably his finest work) otherwise you encounter the problem with a lot of his movies; something that could have been great but turned out to be merely good.

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