Saturday, January 9, 2010

In the Mouth of Madness: Yay! It's the Old Lady That Jerry Stole the Rye From!

I've been excited for months about seeing this--but for one reason or another a different movie would always find itself ahead of it in my queue. It wasn't long before it was lost amongst the almost 100 titles. Then a few days ago, a miracle happened. While perusing the fantastic (and my favorite) website Kindertrauma I stumbled upon a "name that trauma"-which you can read about here. Before I even got to Unk's reply on what the movie actually was I was completely sold. The idea of being trapped in a town where you keep seeing the same creepy old man on a bicycle riding by? So amazing. And then when I read Unk's reply about how he was pretty sure the movie was In the Mouth of Madness I almost jumped off my seat! I suddenly remembered that it had been in my queue for months and hurriedly pushed it to the top--which brings us to now and my final satisfaction.

In the Mouth of Madness marks the third film in John Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy" preceded by The Thing and the Prince of Darkness. It follows investigator John Trent who is hired to find out what happened to the missing popular horror writer Sutter Cane. His search leads him to a fictional town of Cane's which has apparently come to life. Turns out this town is just as crazy as it is in Cane's novels and Trent finds himself descending deeper and deeper into...well...into the mouth of madness of course.

The entire movie is like one gigantic nightmare that you can't get out of. The old man on the bicycle part was definitely one of the more creepier things I've ever seen. The concept of a writer's work being taken for reality by his fans is something not too far from what actually happens when you think about Twilight and Harry Potter---although let's get serious, since I do believe in the reality of Harry Potter how come I haven't found Hogwarts yet? Anyways, the overall idea of things being real only because Cane wrote them that way is one of those insanely aggravating concepts that makes my head hurt for days. Is Trent real or isn't he? Was he real before Cane wrote him- was the town real? So many questions but what the movie does so well, is that it makes it possible for all of those theories to be true or possible in some way shape or form.

Whichever way you understand the movie- or however you choose to interpret it there's no denying how completely amazing all of the images are. From the old man on the bicycle, to the scary children

and the decaying townspeople--the monsters, the cop, the contortionist version of Styles

--and of course my personal favorite- the reincarnation of Vigo the Carpathian (who died in 2004 btw)

The twisted world of Hobb's End is one that I have not seen duplicated. The layers of craziness, the terrifying images, the reoccurring nightmares- and the concept of never being able to escape from the nightmare- and the's all so fantastic. This movie is fun, exciting, frustrating and scary. There are so many different ways to analyze what you see unfolding that I really value how complex it is. I don't believe that there is only one explanation for what happens and that is the true beauty of the film.

Other notable awesomeness--the open spaced, creepiness of the insane asylum at the beginning, the axe wielding crazy from the beginning, the blood tears one suffers after a reading of the book, the double pupils and the idea and realization that Cane's favorite color is blue....fantastico!

Oh and don't forget to bask in the gloriousness of old lady from one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes!
Buy In the Mouth of Madness at Horror Movie Empire!


Dod said...

I love this movie, and I love Lovecraftian references. And Cane = King? Hmm.

The ending has always gotten me. And that radio broadcast as it happens has that lonely desolation the dream broadcasts had in Prince of Darkness.

Did I ever tell you my favorite color is blue?

Bet Jerry wouldn't steal rye from that lady again. Yeesh.

Another great review, Andre :)

Andre Dumas said...

Thanks Dod, and yes you did mention your favorite color was blue probably 3 times now...hahah

What an all star cast huh? Everything made me so happy and excited. Soooo awesome.

Bobby Bless said...

she's also the Grandma in Happy Gilmore... i love that you dropped a Ghostbusters 2 reference.

William Malmborg said...

I love this movie too, though the first time I saw it it left me really confused, but that was because it was on TV and they had edited too many scene just to fit in more commercials (TNT, need I say more). Once I got it on DVD and saw it without entire segments cut out it made much more sense and quickly went to the top of my list of all time favorite movies.

Great review!

Andre Dumas said...

Hahah William I can sympathize with you but you know who's even worse than TNT...E! Do NOT I repeat do NOT try to watch Miss Congeniality on E! because they cut out everything and I was very upset.

Hehe but yikes I can't even fathom seeing this with some of the scenes cut--some movies just aren't meant to be played on cable. Tsk Tsk. I'm glad you saw the real thing thank Jebus

Dod said...

Hah, sorry about the repeated blue. My brain is actually in a Sutter Cane novel...

Kevin Doyle said...

That old lady is in EVERYTHING. She's the best.

Andre Dumas said...

Kevin Doyle!!! Good to see you on my blog dear sir. I miss you terribly--hurry and come back to Boston! She IS in everything and she has one of the creeper old lady, foot faces that I've seen. Lovely!

deadlydolls said...

I definitely need to give this film a second chance. I liked it a lot the first watch, but felt rather disappointed in how madcap the ending felt when it had started with such an intriguing--and currently relevant--premise of fans absorbing an artist's work. I love me some apocalypse, but the insanity of the ending--especially when you toss in some not stellar monsters--never really meshed (for me) with some of the more haunting images in that middle section.

Still, Marble Rye biotch kicks serious old guy ass. Nice review as always.

Ian said...

Awesome review, Andre.

I liked your point about the visual realisation of Hobbs End and how later horror films have proved less successful in conjuring something similar. That's an interesting thought. Given our (and the filmmakers') enthusiasm for apocalyptic wastelands in zombie films and the like, you'd expect horror cinema to almost nail that kind of thing repeatedly. It just emphasises what a cool job Carpenter did here, particularly with the dreamy images you described: the cyclist, Cane's church, that little bridge they have to cross in their car ... the whole elliptical narrative thing.

My two cents: I think Carpenter's score is (again) splendid (remember the Enter Sandman-like opening credits? Very cool), and so too the soundtrack: (contortionist) Styles' giggle if I recall was as alarming as that iconic image! Cool post. :-)

Anonymous said...

Incredibly its already 18 years since principal photography took place (Sept, Oct, Nov of `93) and theres no question that in that time this movie has aquired an astonishing cult following, and understandably so (i`ve seen it 50 or 60 times myself).

Anonymous said...

The axe wielding guy with the double pupils really freaked me out. I suppose they were not real or maybe he's an alien. Pretty good movie regardless.