Likely the most ingenious meta narrative ever committed to film. In casting the author as creator of an internal world that exists in the minds of the social collective and externalizing it, Carpenter posits the artist as a god. Though he's of a different stripe than the god of the Bible, he has more power to shape the cultural reality we live with day to day, warping it by the mere act of putting pen to paper.
Too focused on its plot line that keeps over-complicating itself, making the film creative in its ideas, but akin to the recent Inception, causing it to muddle, not linger and settle. The Lovecraft influence is evident, but its more a homage with its setup, lacking the author's straight-told mindfuck style, not to mention consistently straight-faced dark tone and scary atmosphere, preferring a more campy approach.
Rewatch (had not seen since I saw it in a theater in 1995). Carpenter's last 'great' film. Keep in mind you need to watch this with the episteme of someone in 1995, before the studios started trotting out pop-existential, cheap-meta, 'reality-bending' films that turned a generation of young people into faux-intellectual, 'dorm-room deep' dickhead cinephiles.
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS is a decent movie from director John Carpenter. Unfortunately, I think - it was overshadowed by his other masterpiece, such as THE THING or HALLOWEEN. Some people said this movie is heavily influenced by Lovecraft's works (which I haven't read all of his works yet). Despite its mediocre acting and awful soundtrack, it's still entertaining. This movie succeed to keep me intriguing until the end
Some interesting ideas here however many of them i felt wasn't executed as well as they could've been. It is moderately successful at achieving and maintaining a mood/feeling of dread throughout and some quality make up/practical effects otherwise not much else... Recommended only for people serious about Carpenter and/or Lovecraft. 2.5 - 3 star film... can't make up my mind.
King is the obvious comparison but the ideas reminded me far more of Gaiman - imagination at the frontier of humanity's evolution, a flight from the corporeal into any number of realities... Mouth is Carpenter in a mode more meta than I had pegged him for, but it's also atypical; a man against the world, sceptical of politics and the institutions of fiction.
3.5 stars. Such a bracingly ludicrous approach is perhaps the only way to make Lovecraft palatable on screen, however counter-intuitive that might seem. Considering Sam Neal's bugged-out performance, might we consider this a kind of sequel to 'Possession' (1981), in which Mark's doppelganger has lived to become a successful horror author? It would sort of explain why his books are able to summon squamous beasties!
Carpenter is in both Neill's character and Cane himself, both the author and skeptic of his own work. Just like Neill, perpetually placed in a labyrinth of narratives, we find ourselves to be characters in the stories of other people's design. This is not something to escape from, but simply a condition of life in which all we can do, as the film's ending would suggest, is laugh in the face of its absurdity (cont.)
There's a lot to pick on in this film, but I'll just name one problem: Carpenter's terrible score! It's beyond clichés; it's stock music, wallpaper music, and it manages to ruin many scenes by interfering their rhythm and stepping on actor's toes. It also bridges scenes that should stay separated. It's like someone left the radio on. Highly unimaginative crap that sets the mood on cheap 90s suspense tv show.
You'd have to care more about pulp horror than I do to see any prophesy in this particular apocalypse, but the film is up to something interesting. Movies, by nature, have irrational power over a viewer, and the film seems to be playing with that idea by scaring you (sometimes impeccably) while making as little sense as possible. For a more artful rendition of said theme, see Don't Look Now. For now, a Carpenter gem.