In the Mouth of Madness (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

In the Mouth of Madness (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

In the Mouth of Madness Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This John Carpenter horror movie simultaneously honors and pokes fun at the work of author Stephen King as it depicts a violent and chaotic real world that his been strongly influenced by a horror writer. John Trent, an insurance investigator, has gone off the deep end. The film opens with he and a psychiatrist in a padded cell. There the demented Trent tries to tell his story of violence and confusion. The shrink recognizes that his story is by no means unique, for such events are happening everywhere. Trent believes that the cause of the chaos lies within the writings of author Sutter Cane who recently disappeared. Trent was hired by the writer's publisher to find him, and this lead him to his conclusion that Cane was somehow behind it all. Trent was assisted by Linda Styles, Cane's editor. Together they went to find Hobb's End, the fictional location of Cane's tales. They found it in New England. What was even stranger, is that all the terrifying events mentioned in Cane's books came to pass in this innocuous village.more
Rating: R
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Michael De Luca, Gary B. Kibbe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 8, 2000
New Line Home Entertainment


Sam Neill
as John Trent
Jürgen Prochnow
as Sutter Cane
David Warner
as Dr. Wrenn
John Glover
as Saperstein
Bernie Casey
as Robinson
Frances Bay
as Mrs. Pickman
Gene Mack
as Guard
Marvin Scott
as Reporter
Katherine Ashby
as Receptionist
Ben Gilbert
as Young Teen
Paul Brogen
as Scrawny Teen
Tom Bell
as Farmer
Sharon Dyer
as Homeless Woman
Sean Ryan
as Bicycle Boy
Lance Paton
as Little Boy
Jacelyn Holmes
as Little Girl
Garry Robbins
as Truck Driver
Sean Roberge
as Desk Clerk
Louise Beaven
as Old Lady
Cliff Woolner
as Bus Driver
Deborah Theaker
as Municipal Woman
Thom Bell
as Farmer
Mark Adriaans
as Window Teen
Jack Moore-Wickham
as Simon's Son, Johnny
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for In the Mouth of Madness

Critic Reviews for In the Mouth of Madness

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (13)

A thinking person's horror picture that dares to be as cerebral as it is visceral.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Cheesy horror celebrating the power of cheesy horror, while pretending to be appalled.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Uninvolving, abysmally scripted horror picture.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Eventually falls apart because of its erratic plot and gaps in logic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

One wonders how In the Mouth of Madness might have turned out if the script had contained even a little more wit and ambition.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Confusing, weird, and not very involving.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for In the Mouth of Madness

Soft like yellow baby poop.

Apparently, the only thing worse than being stuck in a hack Sutter Cane story is being stuck in a hack John Carpenter movie.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Now this is your complete John Carpenter experience right here, the perfect type of film for his crazy ass imagination. Everything Carpenter made prior to this has elements all rolled in resulting in classic Carpenter horror mixed with body shock mutations.

The plot is creepy as it is surreal. Sam Neill is hired to find a missing horror writer in a small sleepy leafy US town, boy does Carpenter love small US towns. He must find Sutter Cane and retrieve his final novel for publishing. Sounds simple eh? well think again.

When I first saw this film it creeped me out a lot, these days it doesn't have the same kind of punch but its still solid. Carpenter goes into overdrive here with lots of trademark icky effects and monsters, most of which look like ideas from 'The Thing'. As usual effects are created with models and puppets which do now look a bit hokey but plenty of makeup and prosthetics and good use of suggestion.

The whole film is extremely surreal and plays out like a nightmare, in fact the whole point is you don't know if it is a nightmare or reality. Pretty much anything goes really as Sam Neill goes nuts trying to get out of Hobb's End and destroy the final evil horror manuscript. This surrealist approach does work and offers up plenty of weirdness which does equal some nice eerie moments, the ghostly boy cycling along the dark deserted highway at night being a good one.

The start of the film is definitely better than the second half and ending. The film is much more creepy as Neill and his female sidekick leave for and arrive at Hobb's End. After Neill gets what he needs and we return to reality the film slightly loses its mysterious spooky essence, the final sequence is an interesting twist to make you think.

Basically a descent into madness for Neill's character, but we're not even sure if he is a real person or not, could it all be part of the horror novel itself?. Its left to your own thoughts really which is cool but annoying also, I like to know what happens period.

If your a Carpenter fan then this will appeal with tentacled monster puppetry, creepy kids running about, satanic references and all set within a Michael Myers type American pie town. Just don't expect too many final answers regarding characters and plot.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

An insurance investigator investigates the disappearance of a bestselling horror novelist whose books have the power to drive men mad. The pioneering meta-horror premise compensates for an ordinary execution.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

In the Mouth of Madness Quotes

Axe Maniac: Do you read Sutter Cane?
– Submitted by Greg A (4 years ago)
John Trent: Every species can smell its own extinction. The last ones left won't have a pretty time of it. And in ten years, maybe less, the human race will just be a bedtime story for their children. A myth, nothing more.
– Submitted by Creep F (5 years ago)
John Trent: It's Cane's story and it'll spread with each new reader. That's how it gets its power.
Dr. Wrenn: What about the people who don't read?
John Trent: (smiles) There's a movie.
– Submitted by Creep F (5 years ago)
John Trent: (talks to a teenage boy reading a Sutter Cane book) Like the book?
Young Teen: I love it.
John Trent: (pulls out an axe) Good. Then this shouldn't come as a surprise. (Kills the teenager)
– Submitted by Creep F (5 years ago)

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