I had heard that In the Mouth of Madness was a good, scary film… and I guess I mostly agree with this, as the movie had its fair share of spooky moments. Basically it’s the story of John Trent (played by Sam Neil shortly after he played the paleontologist in Jurassic Park) as an insurance guy who is checking the claim of a book publisher. Sounds thrilling!
Basically this publisher has this writer named Sutter Cane (who is clearly based on Stephen King… I mean they even mention King in the movie) and he goes missing after writing his latest book.
So Trent goes and investigates it, trying to track down where Cane was. It takes him to some small New England town (another King staple) where shit is going down. It has the old grandma from Happy Gilmore as the psycho hotel manager, so you know things are serious.
The whole film is mostly a series of flashbacks and often times they’ll be repeated over and over, with perhaps a little difference to show just how crazy things are getting in Sam Neil’s head. But there are some pretty dang scary moments too. Like, he’ll wake up from a scary nightmare… and you’ll be all like “whew, glad that’s over” and they’ll hit you with a “FOOLED YOU, STILL DREAMING SUCKAS!” and have some horrible looking monster start screaming.
This film also presents one of the greatest arguments for contraception.
Overall, In the Mouth of Madness was pretty decent, but was confusing. I probably need to watch it a time or two more to really grasp why some of the scenes were there and what they mean. It reminds me of Alan Wake (which probably means Alan Wake ripped it off considering the game was released like 15 years later). But if confusing movies that are very meta aren’t your thing, this won’t be for you.
3 pumpkins out of 5
In the Mouth of Madness on Amazon | In the Mouth of Madness on Netflix
For the first movie of the inaugural Spook Fest we watched Hellraiser. I’m trying to pick out some films that I somehow have never seen, and this series is one of them. When it was new, back in 1987, I was entirely too much of a wimp to watch anything remotely scary (I was like 6!), so I went into this movie not knowing a thing about it other than that it has Pinhead as the main villain.
Well it turns out even that isn’t entirely true, but in any case, Hellraiser turned out to be quite a fun movie. If you too haven’t managed to see this before, basically it’s about a guy who accidentally summoned some demons by opening a puzzle box, and his attempt to return to Earth after being torn apart in hell for a few years. Returning to Earth though means he needs to suck the blood out of various innocent people, and needs a whole pile of victims.
The plot is sort of dumb, and I found myself early on rooting for the demons. But where this movie really shines is the special effects, which are good even today (and must have been tremendous at the time they were new). Instead of loads of CGI filling every scene like you’d see in a movie today, back in 1987 they had to use puppets, costumes, latex and lots of fake blood and gore. It made for a messy, slimey, goopy, gorefest, but was a lot of fun to watch.
The demons (I guess technically they are Cenobites) have some interesting looks, such as Chatterer (who I call the Teeth Dude) who is seriously gonna suffer from dry mouth:
or Butterball who looks a lot like Cee-Lo Green.
Wikipedia says they are making a reboot of Hellraiser, and I can only assume that long gone will be the special effects that made the original great, to be replaced with CG. I’ll stick with the classic!
4 pumpkins out of 5
Hellraiser on Amazon | Hellraiser on Netflix
I’ve done it unofficially for most of the last several years (usually in October) but this year I want to start a little earlier and keep better track. What am I talking about?
Scott Topic Spook Fest 2011! I plan to watch 1 or more horror films a day until Halloween. They will range from classic horror, big budget CGI fests, low budget cornball films, and everything in between. My girlfriend plans to tag along for most if them, and I’ll post my progress here and on Twitter.
So grab your popcorn fellow boils and ghouls and follow along as we ring in Halloween in style!