Archive for the 90’s Category

eXistenZ – David Cronenberg – 1999

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2013 by bookofdread

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David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ is a condemnation of virtual constructs and a diagnosis of the sickness that exists as an organism reproduces their reality in great likeness. Throughout the picture there is a sense that at any given moment your perception can shift. Once reality is compromised in the first place, there is no end to how detached one can become from existence. 

The film begins at a private debut of the new VR game eXistenZ. Certain people are in the first wave of twelve to get out their bio-pod, (more on this later), and plug in. As Allegra Gellar, the game’s programmer, leads the first wave into the game, there is an assassination attempt on her life. This leads her to escape with a security man, Ted Pikel. So far, the film has portrayed the game designers as victimized and on the run.

Pikel digs a bullet out of Gellar’s arm. It is a human tooth. The gun was made of bones and skin and shot teeth. It was completely organic so as to get through security. Here Cronenberg is making a value statement about flesh and bone vs. technology. The strong flesh and bone are the only source of resistance against the impending digital worlds.

She needs someone she can trust to plug into eXistenZ with her to make sure the game isn’t compromised. Pikel needs a bio-port so they stop at a Mechanic shop. Willem Dafoe worships Gellar. She invented a game called Art God in which one plays God the creator/Artist. It changed his life. We are comparing the artist to god, not just as a video game designer, but even begging the question, does not the novelist, painter, filmmaker act as the Art God? Do they determine all parameters of their work? Later in the film Gellar refers to the game as, “Free will disguised in a deterministic reality”. If we can be sold this believably at any point, how can we ever trust the chaos of natural reality? How do we know it isn’t all determined?

Cronenberg is just having a bit of fun casting Jesus as the manipulative mechanic who installs Pikel with a bogus bio-port. He betrays Gellar and Pikel and they escape, only to have their slave-pods blown by the port. What the fuck does this all mean? Slave pods? Yup. Cronenberg straight up calls video game controllers slave pods. Sure, their made of mutant amphibian insides and you plug them into your spine but all they same they are video game controllers. SLAVE PODS. These are the tools of self-enslavement. Plug in and the real world doesn’t have to worry about you till you re-surface.

These fleshy lumps are biological in nature and you plug them into your back. Pikel feels a bit violated when Gellar plugs into him. She licks the plug and fingers the hole in Pikel’s back. This stuff feels incredibly pornographic and inverted. A woman plugs the child of her consciousness into a man. Not only are we reversing penetration, with the woman entering the man, also, the fruit of her labor is going into the man, and he absorbing it into his mind. Cronenberg is detailing and deconstructing the mirage of the birth myth. Here gender is meaningless, here births happen inside your mind and anything is possible.

As I said before, the port blows the pod, the myth of Jesus the Mechanic proving unpalatable, we move on to another bit of casting fun, Ian Holm as a Port Fixer/Engineer. This is ironic because Holm’s most iconic role is that of Ash the betraying Android from Alien. Turns out, in this movie, he’s a good guy, or at least installs a valid port. And now we get to the part of the movie where they finally play eXistenZ.  This stuff is interesting based on the shift at the end. But as it is, the game is virtual and Gellar and Pikel have seeming freedom, but occasionally the game will take over and have them say certain lines to advance the program or give them sexual urges to heighten emotion in game play.

Here a game of cat and mouse begins, Pikel assassinates his contact or does he? The game confuses and confounds the players until they don’t know whom they are playing for, whom the empire or the rebellion is and ultimately Gellar betrays Pikel. And they wake up, players in a game called tRancendEnz.  Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law were just playing a video game. The room applauds. Everyone fills out test cards. The games actual designers confer. They are concerned about a strong anti-gaming theme in the game.

Jude Law and JJL approach the designer and congratulate him for achieving the most effective re-creation of reality. Then they kill him and his assistant. They raise their gun at another player. He raises his hands and asks, “Wait, are we still in the game?”

This is Cronenberg’s point. Once divorced from an accepted upon reality, one can never be sure. Is the film anti-video game? I’d say pretty completely. I’d offer that the film suggests that video games are destined to become perversions of existence and worse if such a thing is possible how do we know we do not live inside of such a perversion. 

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A Simple Plan – Sam Raimi – 1998

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by bookofdread

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Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan is a hellish nightmare of a film. It’s dressed up as a Coen Bross style Hitchcock thriller, but this film is so much more Raimi than all that. It lacks the humor of a Coen film and the identifiable or empathetic protagonists of most Hitchcock films. No, A Simple Plan is a hate-filled treatise on greed, not unlike Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell. In that film the curse of greed manifests in a literal demon, creating a remove from our everyday reality, but in ASP, Raimi shoves verisimilitude of reality in our face. The performances are incredibly humanistic career bests from Thornton, Paxton and Fonda.

The plot is simple. Three yokels find a crashed plane with four-million plus dollars inside. They form a pact to keep the money till spring, and if no one is searching for it, split it three ways and run away. The seeds of greed have been sewn.

Raimi takes an incredibly righteous glee in putting the screws to these types of characters, and as in drag me to hell, the greed in these people is not those un-identifiable wall street hot-rods, it’s a seed accountant, or a loan officer.

Bill Paxton is riveting as a man who becomes more and more involved in a series of lies and murders involving his brother and their friend. In a truly awful moment, Raimi shoots Paxton’s face as he suffocates a man in the snow. No wide shot. We see only a close up of Paxton as the man dies, choking under his hands. This scene is as horrifying as any moment in any of Raimi’s more overtly Horror films. In this moment, and as a testament to Paxton’s awesome ability, we see the man become evil.

From here on Paxton and his wife begin a series of deceits that end up in murder after murder. Bridget Fonda is stellar and in one scene, a moment that takes place just after her child has been born she is absolutely terrifying. You’ll know it when you see it. Having her the lioness with cub only adds to the sick drama of this whole tragedy. You know when these dumb fucks open this bag there’s no happy ending. So why does it hurt so much? Raimi and writer Scott Smith and the actors make these greedy little men so real, so genuine.

Billy Bob Thornton wears some strange, out of date, overgrown Elvis haircut. He has prosthetic teeth in that make him look hideous and taped glasses from the seventies, which I believe may have been his fathers, though it’s not explicitly stated. Jacob is a simple man who only ever wanted the farm, but his father mortgaged it so Paxton could go to college. Jacob both looks up to and resents his younger brother, and it’s this conflict that makes the whole film so sad. It’s this simple man’s fall that hurts the most.

Their father is revealed to have killed himself, one in a series of revelations that the seemingly simple Jacob bequeaths to his brother. The specter of their father, a man who each seems to admire ending his life in hopelessness only adds to the doomed nature of this morality play. Theirs is a cursed bloodline.

Brent Briscoe is great as Lou. The character is a bit under-written as just kind of jackass, but Briscoe finds some great humanity for Lou, especially in tape-recording scene that ends in a shooting.

After having watched this film, I have to say that it lands high on Raimi’s filmography, with my only complaint being, I really didn’t like any of the characters, and while I suppose the point is to laugh at these evil people getting what is coming to them, I find the whole ordeal super-bleak. But, hey, the poison of greed is deadly.

Raimi resists most horror tropes with the exception of the death-foretelling blackbirds that watch our characters omnisciently throughout the film. Removed from the action, they judge the sinners. When the birds fly directly at the camera, directly at Hank, the birds warn him. Jacob asks him “Did you see those birds?”

 

Vampires – John Carpenter – 1998

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by bookofdread

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I have a feeling that in any John Carpenter film that isn’t quite up to snuff you could replace one actor with Kurt Russell and all would be well. This is certainly the case with Vampires, a film I once reviled but have come to love nearly completely. If only Kurt Russell had played the Daniel Baldwin role, man this could have been one of the greatest Vampire films ever made. As it stands it’s a gory, sexy delight with all the most classic Carpenterisms.

James Woods plays Jack Crow: vampire slayer. In typical Carpenter fashion, he works for the Catholic Church who has been lying to the world about the existence of the undead for centuries. Not only are they hiding them, they are responsible for the first vampire as well, apparently.

Woods is a riot as Crow, with his every word cracking me up. He grins and spits and smokes and beats up a priest. Hilarious. When he asks the priest if he got turned on while he was kicking his ass back in the dirt back there…. that’s some funny shit.

So Crow and his team go vampire fishing and then at the celebration afterward, the big bad comes and kills everyone but Crow and not Kurt Russell. There is an amazing scene where the Vampire goes down on the prostitute. It’s quite shocking and sexy. These guys take the girl from Twin Peaks with them and get out of town.

Crow buries his men while Daniel Baldwin is munched by the vampire whore. This truth is hidden for most of the picture. So we have a compromised man who never leaves Woods behind. Daniel Baldwin in what should have been a much richer performance barely gets by with his lines. He seems to be in a completely different film than everyone else, and it’s pretty hard to get over.

The film is extremely profane, the joke being that Crow works for the Church and he has not a lick of respect for them. Much like Snake Plissken, he is trapped in his role in the world, a capable asset to be exploited.

Carpenter never lets the great imagery slow; he frames the whole story like a western, even using many desertscapes and the iconography of New Mexico throughout. There is an amazing scene of vampires coming out of the dessert earth at dusk that gives me chills every time I see it! The film has it all, a fun hero, an evil church secret, an awesome villain, tons of gore, some great sexuality, and another killer John Carpenter score.

What makes this film great is its filmic sense of fun. John Carpenter never forgets he’s making a John Carpenter film and there are scenes here that would be as easily found in Prince Of Darkness or Escape From New York.

Vampires is a classic, fun and violent. Just imagine if it had been Kurt Russell turning into a vampire at the end of the film and driving off with the lady. Imagine James Woods telling him he has two days before he chases him down and kills him. Ah, well, it’s pretty great all the same.       

The Game – David Fincher – 1997

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by bookofdread

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The opening image of David Fincher’s The Game is that of a father and son standing together, side by side, then the film washes out and the frame is filled with light. The severance of father and son is a deep destruction, and this sadness is at the heart of this deeply underrated thriller. We move then to a party, a welcome starting point for any tale. When we see people celebrate we know much about them from their social status to what they find worth celebrating.

In this case it is a boy’s 10th birthday. The party is set behind a giant mansion and we see the man from the opening image intermittently, alone, smoking. We see the boy holding his baby brother up, proud of his little sibling. This image is inverted later in the picture as Conrad “saves” his older brother Nicky.

We see the father walking toward the house and then he notices the camera. Once seen, he stops and turns, clearly not wanting to be seen. The camera has this power, and Fincher magnifies it in this tiny shot. We are not willing to do what we might alone when others are watching. We cut to a girl alone at a table, oblivious of the camera. She is fat and stuffing her face with cake. The greed and lack of awareness of the little girl is indicative of the inverse of the man walking to the house. Since she is unaware, she keeps stuffing her face, like an investment banker fleecing his clients behind closed doors.

Again we see the image of father and son, this time the image recedes into darkness. This party was both the high point of Nicky’s impression of his father, and as we will find out later in the picture, the lowest as well.

We cut forward in time to Nicholas Van Orton’s 48th birthday. He lives in an opulent house and has a housekeeper who serves him breakfast. She mentions his ex-wife and he’s really a dick to her about it. We instantly do not like this guy.

At work a woman wishes him a happy birthday and he has someone else fire her. He receives a lunch reservation for two by Seymour Butts. He takes it. It turns out to be his long lost brother Conrad, who has returned to give Nicky his birthday present. A profound life experience courtesy of CRS is what the card says.

Fincher is going fairly deep here, both exploring a brother’s obligation to save his sibling’s soul and to what extent one can even crack the avaristic surface of someone as black hearted as an investment banker. Conrad peaks his curiosity because the product is obtuse, different every time, impossible to explain. That the rich could even have such a service is ridiculous, but Fincher uses CRS, ultimately, as a catalyst powerful enough to humanize a snake of a man.

We see Nicky on the phone answering to whoever he is beholden too. An unseen figure on the phone that is never identified gives resonance to the theme of detachment throughout. A man like Van Orton is sufficiently separated from even his bosses and clients that he has no need for what most of us understand as the social contract. Do unto others is a thought that clearly never passes through his entitled little skull.

We flash back to an image of his father standing on the roof.

Nicky gets a call from his ex-wife. We learn that his father was 48 when he committed suicide, apparently at his son’s birthday. So both birthdays and the 48th year are bound to be sore spots for Nicky, though from all we’ve seen, the guy is just one big sore spot. He cold to his wife and hangs up while the television discusses health care for small businesses, a cause he could not care less about. Again, the words on the TV act as a counterpoint to Van Orton’s worldview. He is a whirlpool, only taking in, never giving back like the tides.

When Nicky goes back to work he discovers a CRS office in his building. He goes in and takes the psych tests. They subject him to a series of violent images in a cinema to see how he will respond. This scene is crucial to to the douchebag investment banker watching the film. Hey shithead! This is you! Are you watching the film? Do you have principals or a soul? When CRS calls and tells you have been declined is it going to rattle your existence to have someone tell you no?

The film is basically a brilliant morality play about having the amazingly affluent hit rock bottom in order to discover humanity and basic empathy. Through his own curiosity, Van Orton, is tricked into a vain game that will ultimately place him at the mercy of his fellow man and force him to re-evaluate his worldview.

This theme is revisited in more detail in Fincher’s follow up, Fight Club, a film whose basic theme is the reinvention of a man’s purpose.

Once the game has begun, the media, (Van Orton’s) TV begins the belittling assault by calling Nick a bloated millionaire fatcat. We are presented here with the idea of an omnipresent surveillance. In that the game changes Van Orton to a more civil man by the end of the story, Fincher makes the audience complicit in the idea that an eye on everyone could hold even the worst of us accountable. But the idea that a second party could easily infiltrate even the richest individuals home should give one pause. I’m not sure that Big Brother is necessary for moral action.

From this point on the film presents Nick with various moral tests from a choking man in the street to having a waitress fired to dealing with his own brother’s paranoia. Fincher expertly ratchets up the tension while raising stakes and humanizing Van Orton one scene at a time. At one point Nicky receive s a letter that says, “Like my father before me I choose eternal sleep.” This basically begs the question what does one live for. Nick begins to form values and live by them.

Conrad returns and is an active participant, both in the middle and at the end of the show, showing a true commitment to his brother. He is after nothing less than salvation and he is the only one that can give that to his brother. If you see your brother’s plight and can help him, should you? Are you obligated? The Game suggests that is the moral high ground and in the end it seems Nick is saved.

After Nick is driven off a pier, and forced to use his survival instinct for the first time in his life and ultimately left in a Mexican grave he is forced to sell his fathers watch, that keepsake that both immortalizes time and timelessness in order to escape his fate. He begs in a truck stop for a ride back to San Francisco.

Upon his return, his world is empty; he is filled with paranoia and trusts only his ex-wife. In the end his faithlessness leads him to shoot a gun at an opening elevator, shooting his brother, his salvation, and ultimately he takes the short road, like his father, leaping to his doom.

And as he brushes away the breakaway glass and the stunt cushion deflates, we are left thinking, is this what it takes to infuse the greedy men of the world with a soul? Some fictional recourse, impossible in reality? Is it enough for the film to exist to let them know what soulless pricks they are? In the end, it is revealed that CRS has control over any aspect of your life perceivable, and only through an extremely elaborate ruse can a destroyed man find salvation. I honestly hope it’s less complicated than that.

The Game is thoroughly enjoyable and only rarely challenges my notion of what is possible in the world, (most notably false machine gun fire), but the message remains, investment bankers are douchers in need of a swift kick in the ass. God help us all.

Hellraiser: Bloodline – Kevin Yagher – 1996

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2012 by bookofdread

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How long can a horror franchise go before it burns out? I say four films in a row is a pretty high number and the first four Hellraiser films qualify. This fourth one, the one I’m going to discuss is the least of them, and the director disowned it, but so what, the film ended up pretty good with some damn fine moments and some sweet contributions to the Hellraiser mythology.

Lets start with the good. The framing structure includes segments of future, far past, present and future again. This works pretty well, except that the France and Space segments are much, much cooler than the segment from 1996. It helps that we have one actor playing all of his own ancestors in the film and I’m always reminded of The Fountain and wonder if Aronofsky doesn’t owe the tiniest debt to this film.

The space segments at the beginning and end of the film are well designed and we even see a robot trying to open a puzzle box. A military crew discovers the ship all but abandoned except for LeMerchant, the future generation of the man who designed the original puzzle box. Desparate to finish his work this man must justify his strange rites to these mercenaries, and thusly we are whisked back to France.

These scenes are the best in the picture. Merchant takes the newly finished puzzle box to his patron who demands it be used. There before his lover and Merchant, the box is opened and both Pinhead and the demon Angelique emerge. The patron is slain and the lover beholden to Angelique and given only one directive. He man have all that his heart desires so long as he does not stand in hells way.

In the present the immortal lover does just that when Angelique seeks out the descendant of Merchant. The lover is slain by the demon as she pursues Merchant the architect and threatens to kill him and his family. These scenes in the present are quite soapy and cheap looking. Honestly they are the least of the film. Due to three related but separate protagonists, we are never very attached to any one and therefore lack the needed empathy to take us through the whole picture caring.

Nothing less than the fate of the universe is at stake in this picture, but the filmmakers do a pretty poor job establishing the stakes. We know there is a threat because we are told, not because the film illustrates the threat. Future Merchant needs to finish the rite in order to create the mirror box, a source of never-ending light that can trap the demons, and while this entire plot is cool, the story lacks cohesion.

What is most relevant about this film is its anachronistic narrative structure. Starting in the future then cutting past, present then back to the future is a clever device. And following a bloodline throughout is quite nice. Unfortunately, this device was cooked up as an afterthought band-aid for an unfinished film, and while it makes the film considerably better; it never really works on its own.

Hellraiser: Bloodline is an excellent example of the death throes of a franchise. Still hanging on to its mythology and villain to keep it interesting. It is clear the series is running out of steam. After this the films become unwatchable.  Maybe someday if Clive ever gets around to publishing the Scarlet Gospels, we will get the movie version of a sequel to Hellraiser and Lord of Illusions. Until then, this is a worthy if deeply flawed contribution to the tapestry that is the Hellraiser tale.

The Prophecy – Gregory Widen – 1995

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , on October 21, 2012 by bookofdread

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Is Angelsploitation a word? If it was it might include Kevin Smith’s Dogma, William Dear’s Angels In The Outfield, and Gregory Widen’s horror series The Prophecy. Based very loosely on Christian mythology, The Prophecy is the tale of Thomas, a former priest turned police detective who stumbles onto a corrupt angel’s plan to bring about the revelation.

The film is atmospheric and dusty like many mid nineties thrillers, but what really sets this film apart from many of those desert mysteries is its full on committal to being a horror film. There are many great horror pieces in the film, including an eyeless angelic corpse being set aflame, a flashback to an angel war complete with angel slaughter and Viggo Mortensen as the devil (!) along with some creepy little goblin underling. Overall there is great horrific imagery throughout.

The plot is a bit convoluted, and involves the passing of the evilest mans soul being passed around from mouth to mouth. One can view this film in a way as a sequel to Apocalypse Now, in that the man portrayed to be the worst of all men is a horrible man who had a death cult built around him during his service oversees. The guy is practically Kurtz. Only this guy made back home and lived to old age in a shitty little Arizona town.

Christopher Walken ironically portrays the angel of death Gabriel, who needs this soul to start the war between heaven and hell.  The film cuts back and forth between the Thomas and Gabriel, both of them trying to get to the soul before it’s too late.

The soul ends up in a little girl on an Indian reservation. Thomas, (Elias Koteas), falls in love with her teacher, (Virginia Madsen), and they have to protect the girl from Gabriel. It’s bold to include a little girl in the threat. Children in danger is great for building suspense, as no one should really want to see kids get hurt. Widen milks this opportunity finding many ways to keep Gabriel threatening.

I really should mention both Adam Goldberg and Amanda Plummer as two of Walken’s ghouls. They are both particularly pitiful and hilarious. These moments are able to provide a sense of black humor without distracting from the sick and evil nature of Gabriel, who is revealed to be an incredibly cruel creature.

The themes of the film are really second to the noirish and horrific nature of the storytelling. While Thomas is a priest who has lost his faith and re-gains it through a supernatural encounter, this is not exactly original. Nor is the film’s leaning toward a final view that self-sacrifice, (specifically Eric Stolz at the end of the first act) is noble. This is a common idea in most stories.

The most interesting aspect of the tale is near the end where Thomas must make an agreement with the devil to save the girl. This is worth considering because by virtue of dealing with the devil, Thomas is admitting in his head that the situation is not in God’s control. If he really acted according to faith, he would have cast the devil out right away. While it is true the devil had a selfish interest in helping Thomas, perhaps his involvement was not necessary. 

By the end of the scene Viggo Mortensen is begging Koteas and Madsen to come with him and at this point Thomas demands he leave. But, in my reading it is too late. Dealing with the devil is not without consequence Father Thomas. I like this picture quite a bit despite its familiar flavor. Stellar performances and a willingness to keep things horrific make this film rise above its limitations. 

In The Mouth Of Madness – John Carpenter – 1995

Posted in 90's with tags , , , , on October 19, 2012 by bookofdread

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John Carpenter’s In The Mouth Of Madness is so easy to love. First off, my favorite type of story is a story about the power of storytelling because in its very nature the tale convinces you of the effectiveness of its own ability to enchant. Add to that that the film is essentially a love letter to King and Lovecraft by an American director who wears Master Of Horror on his sleeve as easily as anyone, and you have a recipe for success. It’s sad then to learn that the film was a severe flop upon its release, (like many now classic Carpenter films), only barely recouping it’s cost domestically. Which is a damn shame because this is one of his best efforts and maybe his last truly great film.

The film is told through a very Lovecraftian device that mutates into a King device later in the story. Initially we start with the ravings of Sam Neil, an inmate in an asylum. He recounts his descent into madness as all great Lovecraft characters do. Neil is an investigator specializing in fraud. The most famous horror writer in the world, Sutter Cane, has gone missing. It’s up to Neil to find him.

The film moves quickly from unsettling set piece to insane practical effects. As Trent goes looking for a town that does not exist, he finds himself drawn into the fiction, much like what happens in a number of King stories, (Secret Window for instance). The film handles these shifts with simplicity and Carpenter expects horror fans to keep up. I personally see this smart handling of the audience as an enormous plus, but perhaps it is one of the reasons the film didn’t find its audience to begin with.

Sam Neil is stellar as always. He really is in a class alone, and his cycle of reason to chaos is beautifully layered and nuanced. Cocky and arrogant at the beginning and mad as a hatter at the end, his performance is one of the reasons I always come back to this film. Another is the threat the film provides. Cane is using his fiction to change the minds of his audience. If enough people are convinced of his reality it becomes reality. The walls come crashing down and a wall of indescribable monsters loom just at the edges of our reality.

These monsters are created in this film in what is probably the best plethora of unnamable horrors ever committed to film. Carpenter mostly keeps them out of focus and we see them only in flashes, but boy, they are cool and numerous. All shapes and sizes, tentacled and clawed, these nasties pursue Trent back into what he thinks is reality.

Like The Thing, and Prince of Darkness before it, this third chapter of the Apocalypse trilogy focuses on people possessed by a singularity. In each film, individuals are driven by a radical outside influence, be it the thing, an ancient evil canister of green goo, or the writings of Sutter Cane, the fear of a mob of evil is not only natural, it is Carpenter’s bread and butter. Carpenter loves to beg intelligent questions of his audience.

How real can stories be? What influence does narrative have on the reader, particularly the readers/viewers of horror stories? If enough people are convinced of a false reality does your reality become false? What if we are but characters in a story, slaves to the writers’ ego? He packages all of these metaphysical gymnastics into a gory and sticky horror picture. The creature that the old lady becomes is one of my favorite movie monsters of all time!

By the time Trent gets back to the world from Hobb’s End, he begs Jackson Harglow, Canes’s publisher, not to publish In The Mouth Of Madness. Harglow tells him that not only did Trent deliver him the manuscript months ago, but that the film comes out in a few weeks. This news drives Trent to kill a Sutter Cane fan with a pickaxe, thus landing him in the asylum.

Flash forward. The asylum is empty. Trent walks out of unlocked doors into an empty world. He finds his way into a cinema with In The Mouth Of Madness on the marquis. He sits and watches the film. It is the film the viewer has just seen.

That the world is empty suggests that the film was a phenomenon, and where the book could only make people who read victim to Cane’s enchantment, the medium of film reached a much larger audience. And at that point, it was to late. The film is really about the concept that an idea, or a story can infect the world, and once the infection is rampant, there is no turning back.

Maybe it’s a good thing that no one went to see this movie when it came out. They might have all left the theater looking for a pickaxe.

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