I’ve already fallen behind on all the movies I wanted to watch, but I’m going to attempt to make a comeback later in the month by watching two movies occasionally. However, I managed to see a couple horror films this past week, and there will be a lot more for next week’s post. In the meantime, it is time for some James Wan and John Carpenter love.
In The Mouth of Madness (1994)
I am fairly new to the works of John Carpenter, but from what I understand, In The Mouth of Madness is his most ridiculous film. Ridiculous is an understatement at times, though, as it is both taxing on Sam Neill’s character, as well as the viewer. Fueled by images that come straight out of a Lovecraft novel, the film’s plot allows for crazy things to happen for no reason at all. Followers of the Bible are juxtaposed against fans of horror fiction in a way that feels a bit too religious for a movie that just seems to be suggesting that culture will consume us all. I rather admired the audacity to suggest anything offensive about religion in a film that is so heavily focused on making itself into a visual representation of insanity. Sam Neill gives an incredibly exciting performance that makes all the really terrible dialogue and cheesy 90s music feel welcome against the backdrop of disgusting creatures and violent killings. If you just want to watch something that will make you realize your thoughts are nowhere near as crazy as others’, then In The Mouth of Madness will more than suffice as a barometer for what is insane.
“It’s not the house that is haunted. It’s your son.” And so my care for Insidious slowly started dissipating. As cheesy as that line is, it also propels forward a sequence of ludicrous events that was at times exciting, but most of the time just felt like it was trying too hard. It’s easy to see Insidious as the stepping stone to James Wan’s near-perfection of the haunted house film – The Conjuring – but Insidious is not a film about a house that is haunted. It is about astral projection and Patrick Wilson hating being photographed. Overall, I enjoyed Insidious, but it was mostly for the moments when the cinematography and sound created the horror, as opposed to vivid images of animated corpses and evil spirits. There are also a lot of flaws with Wilson’s character, who sees a bunch of crazy shit happen, sees his wife is having panic attacks, and yet still has the moment after all of that when he basically says “Ghosts aren’t real! You guys are crazy!”. Even a doctor tells him that his son went into a coma but there’s no reason as to why and its completely unnatural, but he just pretends that everyone else is crazy, instead. The complete antithesis to his character in The Conjuring.
Futurama: The Honking (2000)
I cheated a bit, but wanted something quick and light-hearted on my list of horror viewings. I could have went with any of the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes from The Simpsons, but I’ve always been more of a Futurama guy. And “The Honking” is chock full of horror references from its title to the plot to even some of the minor jokes spliced throughout. It’s an episode that may seem focused on its odes to classic monster movies, but it has plenty of moments where it breaks away from the horror allusions for some regular comedy that caters to multiple demographics. References to Frankenstein and Knight Rider in the same episode are a quick way to get me on board. Also, Doctor Zoidberg calls an evil laugh, “infectious”. Maybe not the best Halloween episode in television history, but it definitely has some highlights.