In the Mouth of Madness: 21 Things You May Not Know

In the Mouth of Madness 1994 featured image

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21 In the Mouth of Madness Facts

An outstanding cult hit by Horror Icon and Film Director John Carpenter. In the Mouth of Madness is a HP Lovecraft Nightmare inspired, in part, by Carpenter’s childhood, his previous films and his friendship with esteemed Horror Novelist Stephen King. Let’s celebrate In the Mouth of Madness by revisiting 21 Killer Facts about this Cult Horror Hit!


1. Anakin Skywalker was in this Film

In the Mouth of Madness starred numerous well known actors and actresses. Though none few are as iconic as Hayden Christensen’s appearance, which was also his feature film debut. Star Wars films will remember Christensen from his portrayal as an older Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode 2 and 3.

Hayden Christensen appearing on In the Mouth of Madness

2. In the Mouth of Madness is part of the Apocalypse Trilogy

In the Mouth of Madness is the third film in what John Carpenter has called his Apocalypse Trilogy, the first being The Thing (1982) and the second being Prince of Darkness (1987).

3. There’s an Homage to John Carpenter’s Childhood

In the Mouth of Madness is an homage to John Carpenter’s childhood. In it, Robot Monster (1953), which Sam Neill is watching at the end of the movie, is one of director John Carpenter‘s favorite monster movies as a kid.

4. Spinning Heads and How They Do It!

There are so many fun and downright creepy effects featured in In the Mouth of Madness.

The effect of Julie Carmen spinning her head around was done by having a contortionist stunt-double wear an up-side down prosthetic mask of Carmen’s face. Since the stunt double couldn’t see, the filmmaker had to guide her on where to go by sound.

5. Where they filmed the Mental Institution

In the Mouth of Madness wasn’t filmed in a Mental Institution as some might think.

The building used as the mental institution at the beginning of the film is actually a water filtration plant in the Beaches area of Toronto. It has been the scene of other movies, including the island fortress in Undercover Brother (2002). Filming can no longer take place inside this building following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA.

In the Mouth of Madness movie poster 1994
In the Mouth of Madness – Movie Poster

6. References to The Cthulhu Mythos

The Cthulhu Mythos is all throughout the film.

References to the “Old Ones” by Sutter Cane, along with certain representations of monsters printed on his books and latter brought to life, are allusions to The Cthulhu Mythos – a series of stories by H.P. Lovecraft and continued by other writers into modern times. In this sense, one could consider “In the Mouth of Madness” John Carpenter‘s own contribution to The Cthulhu Mythos.

7. It’s about John Carpenter’s friendship with Horror Novelist Stephen King

John Carpenter used his friendship with Stephen King as a bit of inspiration for In the Mouth of Madness. Specifically, The Sutter Cane character is clearly based on John Carpenter‘s friend Stephen King, even referencing King’s New England roots, with Hobb’s End filling in for King’s Castle Rock. Carpenter directed a film version of King’s Christine (1983). Additionally Michael De Luca had previously written the screenplay for the King adaptation The Lawnmower Man (1987). However, the characters say that Sutter Cane is even more popular than Stephen King.

8. The HP Lovecraft References

The HP Lovecraft quotes is a clear influence on In the Mouth of Madness. In the film, the works of Sutter Cane are occasionally quoted. Most if not all of these quotes are actually taken directly from several H.P. Lovecraft short stories with some adaptations to fit them into the film story.

Most notably, in the scene where Styles reads to Trent as he gazes into the abyss–her speech lifts much of its description, including such elements as “the illimitable gulf of the unknown” from the last few paragraphs of Lovecraft’s “The Rats in the Walls.” In an earlier scene as well, Trent reads a line verbatim from Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark,” in reference to the black church being “the seat of an evil older than mankind and wider than the known universe.”

The six Sutter Cane novels which Trent uses to track down the town of Hobb’s End are the following: “The Hobb’s End Horror”, “The Feeding”, “The Whisperer in the Dark”, “Something in the Cellar”, “The Breathing Tunnel” and “Haunter Out of Time”. Also, these titles are direct references to H.P. Lovecraft’s works, a direct inspiration for the movie. These are “The Dunwich Horror” “The Whisperer in Darkness”, “The Rats in the Walls”, “The Thing in the Doorstep”, “The Shadow Out of Time” and “the Haunter of the Dark”. Also, the title of the movie refers to “At the Mountains of Madness”, yet another work from Lovecraft’s.

In the Mouth of Madness also contains many references to H.P. Lovecraft‘s stories, for example, the Name of the hotel and hotel owner “Pickman”, a reference to the short story “Pickman’s Model”.

9. The Wall of Monsters

The “Wall Of Monsters” at the end was not several monsters being controlled individually. Instead, it was one single special effect that was attached to a vehicle-like wheelbase and had to be pushed along with a crank. During the filming of this scene, the Wall of Monsters accidentally ran over Greg Nicotero‘s foot and he had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

10. Literature References

Stephen King’s short story ‘Crouch End’ was published in the 1980 anthology ‘New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos’, with a reworked version later appearing in King’s 1993 anthology ‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes’. In the story, a man and woman visit an English suburb called Crouch End, where they become stranded and are unable to leave. They are taunted, tormented and chased by a pair of deformed, otherworldly children, who later summon a Lovecraftian Old God. Some aspects of King’s Crouch End bear great resemblance to the film’s town of Hobb’s End.

11. The John Carpenter Cameo

John Carpenter has a brief In the Mouth of Madness cameo in the film as an asylum patient in the beginning of the movie. When Trent is shouting “I’m not insane!” throughout the asylum, the camera pans past Carpenter, who shouts “me neither!”.

12. Stephen King versus HP Lovecraft

Who’s the bigger In the Mouth of Madness influence? Stephen King or HP Lovecraft?

Although Sutter Cane might appear to be representative of Stephen King, he’s more likely to be based on H. P. Lovecraft, and Hobb’s End is based on Lovecraft’s Arkham rather than King’s Castle Rock. The plot of the film also more closely resembles something Lovecraft might have written, focussing on the effects that horrific occurrences have on one’s sanity, rather than on the external horrors that most of King’s writings lean towards. Even the title, “In the Mouth of Madness,” appears to be an homage to Lovecraft and his story, “At the Mountains of Madness.”

13. Sam Neill’s Accent

Despite In the Mouth of Madness being set in and with heavy reference to New York, Sam Neill speaks with his natural New Zealand accent, most notably when he says the word “them” in the opening of the film, emphasizing the “e” as an “I”.

14. Rutger Hauer was once considered for the role

Rutger Hauer (R.I.P.) was once considered for the role of Sutter Cane.

15. The Omen Saga Connection

Sam Neill and David Warner played in The Omen saga. David Warner played a photographer in Richard Donner‘s The Omen (1976) with legendary actor Gregory PeckSam Neill played Damien Thorn in The Final Conflict (1981).

16. A Ghostbusters Actor Turns Up

In the Mouth of Madness stars a Ghostbuster!

Simon is played by Wilhelm von Homburg who also played the main antagonist Vigo in Ghostbusters II.

17. How did they do the Monsters at the end of In the Mouth of Madness?

The dozens of monsters featured towards the end of the film were a combination of men in suits, animatronics and a full-sized “wall” of creatures. It took over thirty people to operate the monsters.

18. Stuck In Cinematic Purgatory

At the end of the film, when Sam Neill approaches the movie theater showing the meta-film, the following credits can be seen (though some names are slightly blurred) on the movie poster outside the theater:

“New Line Cinema Presents a John Carpenter Film ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ Starring John Trent, Linda Styles, Jackson Harglow, Written by ‘Michael De Luca’, Associate Producer Artist W. Robinson, Director of Photography Gary B. Kibbe, Production Designer Jeff Ginn, Produced by Sandy King, Director John Carpenter.”

Except for the three lead character names, all the other credits are for the real film’s actual crew.

In the Mouth of Madness – Paper Tear Effect

19. The ‘Paper Tear’ Effect

When Jürgen Prochnow lets the monsters from the other side into our world, originally in the script the entire town was sucked into the other side. When this proved to be too costly, an effects artist over at Industrial Light and Magic recommended that instead he “tears” himself apart like paper.

20. Hobb’s End is a Real Place… sort of

You can find Hobbs End… kind of.

There’s a map created from the book covers in In the Mouth of Madness. According to the map that the book covers create, Hobb’s End would be located at the edge of Loudon, New Hampshire, near the Merrimack/Belknap county line.

21. Why are everyone’s eyes Blue?

In the Mouth of Madness constantly reinforces the power and influence of fictional novelist Sutter Cane – both through referential dialogue and in horrific scenes.

After Sutter Cane says “Did I ever tell you my favorite color is blue?” It is realised that throughout the entire movie, whenever an actor has a close up, their eyes are blue, proving Sutter Cane’s power.


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