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1,512 Ratings

In the Mouth of Madness

Directed by John Carpenter
United States, 1994
Fantasy, Horror, Thriller


A best-selling author’s newest novel is literally driving readers insane. When the author inexplicably vanishes, a special investigator hired to track him down crosses the barrier between fact and fiction and enters a terrifying world from which there is no escape.

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In the Mouth of Madness Directed by John Carpenter
You have to care more about horror paperbacks than I do to see this all as a canny prophesy instead of an idle game. But In the Mouth of Madness does have a very intriguing idea on its side: that a well constructed work of fiction can override your reality, even when you know it’s fake. And thus the best moments of the film come when it scares you (sometimes exquisitely) while making as little sense as possible.
October 16, 2017
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A brilliant storyteller himself, Carpenter directs Madness for all its worth, delighting the narrative’s twists and turns and embellishing them with cheerfully self-referential filmmaking. In hindsight Madness looks like the director’s last great feature, a summation of the narrative games he played in Halloween, Prince of Darkness, and other classics of the 1970s and ’80s.
October 03, 2017
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What hellborn fuckery is this? An underrated uptick in Carpenter’s troubled late period, certainly. Though his more ludicrous visions still laid ahead (Ice Cube shooting space ghosts; Kurt Russell shooting hoops), In the Mouth of Madness earns the privilege of reveling in insanity.
March 29, 2017
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What are people saying?

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    You'd have to care more about pulp horror than I do to see any prophesy in this particular apocalypse, but the film is up to something interesting. Movies, by nature, have irrational power over a viewer, and the film seems to be playing with that idea by scaring you (sometimes impeccably) while making as little sense as possible. For a more artful rendition of said theme, see Don't Look Now. For now, a Carpenter gem.

  • Jason's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    We kind of consider it to have consolidated a cult over time, but I remember people I respected insisting MOUTH OF MADNESS was brilliant back when it came out. I thought it was a little too goddamn goofy. What you have is a little Lovecraft & García Márquez on the one hand, a whole lot of William Castle & Bugs Bunny on the other. On Carpenter's irony: ideally pride itself is what keeps us from becoming overly proud.

  • lbunuel's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    Carpenter's most astonishingly self-referential film. It feels like a swan song of sorts, as if the filmmaker was contemplating, evaluating & satirizing his own mythology under a microscope. But saying this makes it sound too serious & studied for a man as creative and original as him. This is a meta-film, a film-essay about the nature of horror. And it is as potent, strange & funny as Carpenter has ever been.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    Usually when horror gets "meta," it's in some half-assed attempt to excuse using the same old tropes and cliches, because look, the filmmakers can wink at them. Carpenter meanwhile reflects on almost Jungian ideas of shared consciousness/reality, his own career, and the power of "fiction" itself. A high point in his filmography and hard to beat, as far as Lovecraft films go.

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    Too focused on its plot line that keeps over-complicating itself, making the film creative in its ideas, but akin to the recent Inception, causing it to muddle, not linger and settle. The Lovecraft influence is evident, but its more a homage with its setup, lacking the author's straight-told mindfuck style, not to mention consistently straight-faced dark tone and scary atmosphere, preferring a more campy approach.

  • The Macho King's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    Some interesting ideas here however many of them i felt wasn't executed as well as they could've been. It is moderately successful at achieving and maintaining a mood/feeling of dread throughout and some quality make up/practical effects otherwise not much else... Recommended only for people serious about Carpenter and/or Lovecraft. 2.5 - 3 star film... can't make up my mind.

  • Renton47's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    King is the obvious comparison but the ideas reminded me far more of Gaiman - imagination at the frontier of humanity's evolution, a flight from the corporeal into any number of realities... Mouth is Carpenter in a mode more meta than I had pegged him for, but it's also atypical; a man against the world, sceptical of politics and the institutions of fiction.

  • josé neves's rating of the film In the Mouth of Madness

    35mm.Reviewed right now with this book in mind: "(...) Here is Ts'ui Pên's labyrinth," he said, indicating a tall lacquered desk. "An ivory labyrinth!" I exclaimed. "A minimum labyrinth." "A labyrinth of symbols," he corrected. "An invisible labyrinth of time. (...)" (Jorge Luis Borges in "The Garden of Forking Paths") Or as they say in a Ruiz film, "raconte moi encore une fois". Carpenter's self reflexivity turmoil.

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