Monday, October 31, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: In the Mouth of Madness

1994, John Carpenter (The Thing) -- download

OK, let's finish this thing off. The season was not entirely filled, a few days here and there missed and some TV entries added in to fill it out. But the last few days were derailed by bad downloads, a lack of Netflix and life. Still, we got this one in, one of our few ReWatch entries.

This movie is very Stephen King / Dean R Koontz meta as a very popular horror writer gets so sucked into the worlds he is creating, he may actually end up summoning Cthulhu. But the movie is not about the writer, but about John Trent, an insurance investigator for the publisher. The movie begins with Trent in dragged into an asylum after which he later recounts the story to the interviewing psychologist. He alludes to something happening out there.  It sounds rather apocalyptic.

Sutter Cane, the author in question, has gone missing... with the only manuscript to his latest book. Trent's a good investigator, and the Publisher, who has some connection to Trent's company, wants him to find Cane. Not sure why an insurance investigator would do such things, but sure, let's go along. Along with Trent, they send Cane's editor because, that makes sense.

Cane's book are a phenomena. They are said to actually drive the readers bonkers. In fact, there is a spate of madness going on right now, as his fans attack others and even one went after Trent with an axe. And Trent discovers that arranging the book covers creates a map to Cane's supposed fictional New England town, Hobb's End. At this point, I would have talked to the art department but they just decide to drive there.

And they drive into the not fictional at all little picturesque town that already starts up with some oooooo spooky encounters. From there, things get worse and weirder. Cane is there. So is his book. And its words are a summoning ritual which will summon Cthuluhian Dark Ones from The Void. For things to really take off, Trent must return with the manuscript, have it published and then all the spooky stuff will come true. Not sure why it took all the investigating and bizarre choices, but I suspect it was because Cane was a terrible writer and was plotting out all these occurrences from habit.

This is pure Carpenter, deeply seated in B movie land, fun to watch but oh so very dated. The late 80s / early 90s are so very prevalent in this movie, from  the fashion choices to the kinds of scares but somehow it all still works. You could almost make a tie to nostalgia contributing to the madness inducing plot. I think the movie is due for a post-apocalyptic sequel.