1. In the Mouth of Madness

1. In the Mouth of Madness (1994) Horror author Sutter Kane (based on Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft) is putting the finishing touches on his next, sure-to-be-a-bestseller opus of terror called In the Mouth of Madness, and has vanished. Sam Neil (doing what he does best: the calm, got-it-together guy slowly losing his cool) plays a fraud investigator sent by the publishing company to secure the manuscript. He encounters readers driven mad by Kane’s work (with titles like The Thing in the Basement, The Feeding, Haunter out of Time, The Hobb’s End Horror, The Breathing Tunnel, and The Whisperer of the Dark), Lovecraftian mutations, gross occult terrors from beyond time, a conspiracy to end the human race, and his own fracturing sense of self, agency, and reality. It’s pure mindbending, Lovecraftian fun from beginning to end, with a ton of disturbing imagery, genuine scares, tongue-in-cheek criticism of the horror forms, and a sense of dreadful atmosphere and doom that Carpenter would never again achieve as a director. It’s his final great film—although he’d turn in a few solid efforts in the years that followed (Village of the Damned, Vampires, Cigarette Burns). It only gets better with repeated viewings. Do you read Sutter Cane?

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