#13: In the Mouth of Madness 1994 Dir. John Carpenter
I am a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Actually, I'm more a fan of his ideas. Lovecraft was responsible for creating what we know as the Cthulhu mythos, a loose pack of stories taking place in a shared universe, all centering around the idea of mankind discovering that ancient forgotten gods exist and they look upon humanity with indifference and cruelty. This is the world of In the Mouth of Madness. Sam Neil plays John Trent, an insurance investigator who gets hired to track down horror novelist Sutter Cane. Cane has dissappeared with the manuscript to his latest novel and the publisher wants it back. trent is told that Cane's books have had a violent effect on people, making them insane. Being the cynic, Trent beleives none of it and goes on a journey to track down Cane and his final manuscript. What follows is a journey into the nether-reaches of the mind, one from which Trent will emerge changed forever. In the Mouth of Madness borrows concepts from Lovecraft as well as Chambers' King in Yellow stories, with regard to "the old gods" and the idea that reading a manuscript can drive one insane. This film is wonderfully written, expertly directed and features one of the best endings in horror history. In the Mouth of Madness stands apart from other horror films in that it deals in themes of insanity and cosmic terror that are rarely explored. In much of horror, we find protagonists fighting against a tangible foe. A man in a hockey mask, a werewolf or a horde of zombies. These monsters are horrifying, but their very existence doesn't seem to drive us to madness. Their existence doesn't mean that we are any less human. But what if your enemy is something you cannot quantify? What if the being you seek to destroy is unstoppable? What if your enemy views you as insignificant, gazing upon all of humanity with an air of disinterest and malice. What then?