More John Carpenter Blu-rays! Hooray!
Sam Neill stars as John Trent, an insurance investigator who we first see restrained in a straitjacket and held captive in an insane asylum. The story then goes backward to show that John used to be quite sane and well-mannered before he found himself on a search for a missing horror novelist, Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow).
The search takes him to the land of Hobbs End, a fictional setting from Cane’s novels. Or is Hobbs End real? Once there, he encounters Cane, discovers that he might only be a fictional character in Cane’s world, and rapidly loses his marbles.
This film didn’t get a fair shake in its original release. Carpenter did the sort of genre-winking that Wes Craven would do with far more box-office success in Scream. As I watch Madness almost 20 years after its release, I’m thinking In the Mouth of Madness might be the better of the two films.
No doubt: Carpenter was poking a little fun at his genre buddy Stephen King, while also paying homage to H.P. Lovecraft. The film is full of strange, disgusting creatures, the best of which would be Julie Carmen with her head turned upside down and doing a crab walk.
Carpenter calls this part three of his apocalypse trilogy, after The Thing and Prince of Darkness. I do love the fact that Neill’s Trent is able to catch a screening of the movie of his life, popcorn in hand, while the apocalypse is in full blast.
Special Features: An OK, if somewhat labored, commentary from Carpenter and his cinematographer.