One Of Carpenter's Best!10/10
I gotta say that when I first saw this movie, it blew me away. It's not as good as The Thing, but it's a great horror movie. It has everything that makes John Carpenter the master of horror. He is one man that can still scare the crap out of me.
In The Mouth Of Madness is about Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow), this century's most widely-read author. When Cane disappears, his publishing company Arcane, run by the very gruff-looking Jackson Harglow (Charleton Heston), enlists John Trent (Sam Neill), an insurance investigator, to find him. Trent agrees after he is almost killed by an axe-wielding maniac that turns out to be Cane's agent. He and Arcane editor Linda Styles (Julie Carmen) find Cane's fictional town of Hobb's End and then all hell breaks loose.
First things first. I loved the opening score. It starts off very simplistic and then goes into full hard rock mode. Excellent music throughout, too.
Onto the characters. Before I say anything, I have to say the Sam Neill is one of my favorite actors. He can truly act, expressing a full range of emotions: angry, annoyed, happy, cocky, flabbergasted, etc. You name it, he can pull it off. Anyway, Sam Neill plays John Trent perfectly. This is a guy who's good at his job and he likes it. He can see right through you; see what you're capable of. It's fun to watch him try to make sense out of all the madness around him, especially once he arrives in Hobb's End. Julie Carmen, unfortunately, looks as if she's about to fall asleep or that she's stoned (I don't know which, probably both) throughout the whole movie. She serves her purpose though. Let's talk about the real star of this movie. As with Sam Neill, Jurgen Prochnow is perfect as Sutter Cane. I can't think of anyone who could have played the part better. This man's got the look, the voice, and the attitude to make Cane extremely believable. If anyone can play the bringer of the apocalypse, it's this guy. Charleton Heston looks like he's got something stuck up his butt, but plays Harglow just fine (I think this actually helps his character!). I personally think he could beat the crap out of Sutter Cane if it really came down to it. The other characters are all minor, but one deserves an honorable mention. David Warner as Dr. Wrenn is great. This man can handle himself and can give Sam Neill a run for his money (even though he doesn't try to here).
The gore and special effects are fantastic. It's nice to see a movie in the 90's where CGI is non-existent. (The only two movies where CGI has tricked me into thinking what I was watching was real (or at least animatronic) are Jurassic Park and Starship Troopers. Most of the time, I (or anyone else for that matter) can spot CGI easily. Not so in those two movies.) Anyway, (I go off on tangents a lot, so get used to it) everything from the dead/undead cop, the axe-maniac's eyes, the creature that's part of Cane's back, and the vile abominations, was superb. Nice work guys at KNB! No complaints here.
I will admit that Carpenter got me with almost every "boo" scare in the movie, particularly the one at the end (used to a far better effect here than at the end of Resident Evil). But those scares are only temporary. When someone says a movie was "really scary", I want to see something that will stick with me and always be in the back of my mind. These are the best kind of scares which define "true" horror. We don't get very many of these types of scares anymore, which really makes me mad. But just as I had hoped, Carpenter pulls it off here (and in a few of his other movies, too) perfectly.
Finally, I loved the ending! Apocalyptic endings always so much more satisfying than happy endings. Carpenter is always known for his "hook" endings and this was one of his best.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, John Carpenter was, is, and always will be the master of horror. 'Nuff said.