Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Summoning The Old Ones Has Never Been Easier, or Thoughts on John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness

Director John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness (2004), the most Lovecrafty story HP Lovecraft never wrote, stars New Zealand actor Sam Neill, who you know as Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park (1993) as John Trent, cynical insurance investigator searching for Sutter Cane, an author pseudonym so on the nose you might as well call him Stephen Lovecraft or HP King.  Sutter Cane’s novels are causing madness, riots and slipping into the cracks between fantasy and reality. 
John Trent finds hidden messages in the texts and book covers and his investigation leads him to Hobb’s End, New Hampshire, a forgotten New England town that doesn't exist on any map (much like Stephen King’s Derry, Maine), and the inspiration for all of Sutter Cane’s (non)-fictional books.  Sutter Cane is portrayed by German actor Jürgen Prochnow from Das Boot (1981), Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1987) and as Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhausen in Beerfest (2006).
Sam Neill is no stranger to the horror genre, it’s easy to forget that one of his first starring roles was as presidential candidate Damien Thorne in Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), in addition to the psychological thriller Dead Calm (1989), the supernatural haunted spaceship extravaganza Event Horizon (1997) and the vampire alternate history Daybreakers (2009).  He’s one of the few actors who can easily slip between mainstream projects and horror without being typecast or losing popularity.
With signature John Carpenter elements reminiscent of The Thing (1982), Prince of Darkness (1987) and They Live (1988) but with a Lovecraftian twist, the movie is arguably most remembered for the axe scene in the coffee shop, which should be shown in film class as a master lesson in building tension and telling two stories at once.
Watch out for Charlton Heston as Jackson Harglow, Sutter Cane’s publisher, a 14-year-old Hayden Christensen as paperboy in his big screen debut and David Warner from The Omen (1976), The Company of Wolves https://goo.gl/bvoPrX (1984) and Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001).  Also Bernie Casey from Cleopatra Jones (1973), Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976), The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976, with David Bowie) and Star Trek: DS9 (1994) and Wilhelm von Holmberg, aka Vigo the Carpathian, as an angry villager.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).