One of John Carpenter's best films has a new Scream Factory's Collector's Edition. In The Mouth of Madness still holds up some 25 years later, with its creepy atmosphere and horrific images that, I have no doubt, will still scare people right out of their chairs. The new video transfer gives this film its best image to date along with its same stellar DTS-HD 5.1 mix from the previous release a few years ago. There are several new bonus features, including a new commentary track by John Carpenter himself. This is definitely worth a re-buy and a Must-Own for all horror aficionados.
John Carpenter has given us some of the most iconic horror films and characters of the last 100 years. As of recently, he has gone into seclusion and away from filmmaking. My only hope is that he is conjuring up some epic trilogy of horror before he officially retires because I am not ready for him to hang up his hat just yet. In The Mouth of Madness is the last part in Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy, following The Thing (1982) and Prince of Darkness (1987). In The Mouth of Madness might be one of Carpenter's creepiest films and will force you to question your own sanity by the end of it.
Carpenter's trilogy may be a little different than what you're thinking of in the form of an apocalypse. With The Thing, we see a threat to the world by the way of an alien invasion. In Prince of Darkness, we see our end of days in the form of a demonic entity. And, with In The Mouth of Madness, it takes the shape of monsters and insanity. But these three films all have something in common. You never really see the apocalypse take place, as it is always open-ended and the very beginning of something much more sinister. In The Mouth of Madness might just be the most evil we have seen Carpenter, as if he was chuckling behind the camera with every scene, knowing that we the audience would begin to think we were going mad with what was shown on-screen.
For the entire film review, please click HERE to read our review of the previous Blu-ray release!
In the Mouth of Madness now has a Collector's Edition in the Scream Factory archives with a brand new digital transfer that was created in 4K resolution from the original camera negative. New Line Cinema released a Blu-ray back in 2013 with good technical points, however, this new edition outshines the video portion by a mile. Detail is more pronounced and rich. The practical effects of facial wounds and scales on monsters show all of their texturing now. The gashes and bloody entrails of the demonic kids now show their rubbery shine. Other prosthetics reveal organs and blood bubbles that couldn't be seen before. Wider shots never look murky in the many different light filters either. There is a masterful level of film grain that never fluctuates in darker situations, but instead gives us that nostalgic filmic gloss that we expect from John Carpenter movies. The color palette is eye-catching now with eye-popping blue filters, gruesome reds, and greens that fill the screen up from time to time. There are a lot of good earthy tones as well since the film takes place either in offices or in a rural countryside bed and breakfast. Each of these colors is well-balanced and realistic.
Black levels are powerful here too. Look at the different shades of black on Sam Neill's face in the padded room. Each black inked cross has a deeper glow here, which looks more sinister. Skin tones are more natural too than in the previous release. Lastly, there were no issues with banding, aliasing, or video noise, making this video presentation and upgrade from previous versions.
This release comes with a great lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix, which is the same mix from the previous release. The dialogue is always crystal clear, easy to understand, and perfectly balanced in the center channel, free of pops, cracks, and hissing. The really good stuff comes in the form of the creepy sound effects, music crescendos, and ambient noises that pour from the surrounds.
For a deeper dive from our original review of this track, please click HERE!
There are a few new extras included on this Collectors's Edition.
Audio Commentary #1 - John Carpenter and producer Sandy King Carpenter deliver a new commentary track that is immensely fun, in that both filmmakers watch the film and give funny anecdotes and unknown details about the movie.
Audio Commentary #2 - An older commentary track featuring Carpenter and Cinematographer Gary B. Kibbe is included here, which is a drag to listen to. I don't think Kibbe even wanted to do the commentary and it shows.
Horror's Hallowed Grounds (HD, 12 Mins.) - A web series where a guy goes to famous horror locations in present day. This episode happens to be about In The Mouth of Madness, where Sean Clark journeys to the famous locations from the film and shows us what they look like today.
The Whisperer of the Dark (HD, 10 Mins.) - A new interview with actress Julie Carmen, where she discusses working with Carpenter, some steamy deleted scenes, and how the film has sat with viewers all these years.
Greg Nicotero's Things in the Basement (HD, 17 Mins.) - This is a great interview with makeup effects maestro Nicotero as he talks about making the monsters and makeup for the film, the best ones from each scene, and even some test footage.
Home Movies From Hobb's End (HD. 12 Mins.) - A good collection of vintage footage shot by Nicotero on his makeup effects and monsters in rehearsal.
The Making of In The Mouth of Madness (HD, 5 Mins.) - An older EPK fluff piece with cast and crew interviews on making the film.
Theatrical Trailers (HD, 12 Mins.) - A collection of TV spots and theatrical trailers for the film.
In the Mouth of Madness is one of John Carpenter's scariest films, yet it is rarely talked about in film circles. I think people simply forget about this movie, but with this new Collector's Edition from Scream Factory, I think this film will breath new life and perhaps or hopefully create a sequel. The Lovecraftian monsters and mystery surrounding the antagonist is distinctly suspenseful with the best elements of horror and gore throughout the film. This is a one-of-a-kind movie, for sure. The new transfer produces the best-looking image this movie has seen thus far and the great audio track is still intact from the previous version. There are a wealth of new extras, interviews, and even a brand new commentary track from John Carpenter. For horror fans, this is a Must Own!