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In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

3:47 | Clip
An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.


John Carpenter


Michael De Luca
3,609 ( 417)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Neill ... John Trent
Julie Carmen ... Linda Styles
Jürgen Prochnow ... Sutter Cane (as Jurgen Prochnow)
David Warner ... Dr. Wrenn
John Glover ... Saperstein
Bernie Casey ... Robinson
Peter Jason ... Mr. Paul
Charlton Heston ... Jackson Harglow
Frances Bay ... Mrs. Pickman
Wilhelm von Homburg ... Simon
Kevin Rushton ... Guard #1
Gene Mack Gene Mack ... Guard #2
Conrad Bergschneider ... Axe Maniac
Marvin Scott ... Reporter
Katherine Ashby Katherine Ashby ... Receptionist
Learn more

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With the disappearance of hack horror writer Sutter Cane, all Hell is breaking loose...literally! Author Cane, it seems, has a knack for description that really brings his evil creepy-crawlies to life. Insurance investigator John Trent is sent to investigate Cane's mysterious vanishing act and ends up in the sleepy little East Coast town of Hobb's End. The fact that this town exists as a figment of Cane's twisted imagination is only the beginning of Trent's problems. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lived Any Good Books Lately? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for images of horror, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


French film magazine 'Cahiers du cinéma' listed In The Mouth Of Madness as the best film of 1995. See more »


(at around 14 mins) When the axe-wielding madman is shot several times by police men, no visible bullet marks are made by the gunfire. See more »


John Trent: Like the book?
Teen: I love it.
John Trent: Good. Then this shouldn't come as a surprise.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Animal action was monitored by the American Humane Association with on set supervision by the Toronto Humane Society. No animal was harmed in the making of this film.

Human interaction was monitored by the Inter Planetary Psychiatric Association. The body count was high, the casualties are heavy. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical release had the 1987-1994 New Line Cinema logo at the opening. The 2013 Blu-ray from Warner Bros. plasters it with the modern New Line logo. But the 2018 Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory restores the original logo. See more »


Referenced in Manhunt (2003) See more »


Written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams
Performed by The Carpenters
Published by Irving Music, Inc. (BMI)
See more »

User Reviews

A Scary And Frightening Film And One Of The Best Horror Films Of The 90s. Another Carpenter Classic.
3 June 2013 | by jcbutthead86See all my reviews

In The Mouth Of Madness is a scary and terrifying film and one of the best Horror films of the 90s. Filled with great direction,wonderful performances and great special effects In The Mouth Of Madness is John Carpenter at his best.

In The Mouth Of Madness tells the story of private investigator John Trent(Sam Neill),an investigator who investigates phony insurance claims. Now,Trent is asked to investigate the disappearance of best selling Horror novelist Sutter Cane(Jurgen Prochnow). Unfornately for John Trent this not going to be a typical investigation and for John Trent will be an journey he will never forget and it will blur the lines of fiction and reality and will be a battle for John's sanity.

During the time from the early to mid 1990s the Horror genre was seen by critics and most Horror fans as dead. I don't think the Horror genre was dead I think the Horror genre was in a coma and was waiting to wake up. During the time the Horror genre was seen as dead there was a few great Horror films that came out during the early to mid 1990s and one of those Horror films was John Carpenter's In The Mouth Of Madness. In the Mouth Of Madness is the final film in Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy which also includes The Thing and Prince Of Darkness and when it was released in 1995 In The Mouth Of Madness flopped at the box office like most of Carpenter's films. But In The Mouth Of Madness has gain a cult following among Carpenter fans and Horror fans over the years be the film is great and unique. If The Thing was about an Alien Invasion and Prince Of Darkness was about a dark religious theme then In The Mouth Of Madness is about Horror literature coming to life and drawing the line between fiction and reality. That is what so brilliant and scary about this film is the story and concept of the film:what if the stories of authors such Stephen King,H.P Lovecraft or Clive Barker came to life and you are not sure what is reality or what is fiction? In The Mouth Of Madness answers this question in a scary way. ITMOM is a Psychological Horror film in the truest since of the words because it's a Horror film that not only scares you physically but also mentally because when you watch ITMOM you are not sure if the events in the film are really happening or is it all in John Trent's mind or Sutter Cane's mind and you are put into a frightening and bizarre journey into darkness. With Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy was about the end of the world and possibly for this film the end of the world doesn't come from human beings explosions or diseases but books. The film was greatly influence by the works of H.P Lovecraft whether it's the title of the film or the scenes with monsters and supernatural things hiding in the dark and visuals that are haunting and disturbing. The screenplay by Michael De Luca is well-written and original with the dialog being cynical but at the same time very scary and creepy. John Trent is a classic Carpenter Antihero is a private detective in the spirit of Film-Noir like classic detective characters like Sam Spade and Phillip Marlow and like those characters Trent is cynical and a loner. While Trent is cynical at the same time we relate to Trent because his character represents the audience and like the audience Trent doesn't understand what is going on or why. There is danger all around the film and Trent can't do anything to stop it or prevent it and you are scared for Trent. Sutter Cane is a scary character not because of the things he does but because of his thinking and his books. Cane thinks that his books are real and that they are more than just literature and not just reality but his reality. The fans of Sutter Cane's books read his novels like reading the Bible and Cane is influencing and affecting his readers to do horrific things. Sutter Cane is more dangerous with his words then his fists or eyes. ITMOM moves at a great pace and when the terror starts it never stops until the end. The violence and gore in the film is shocking and frightening because at times the violence and gore is shown or implied with visuals. The ending of the film is one of the best endings in Horror film history and is a classic Carpenter ending because it is so hopeless,sad and at the same time very funny. It's a great ending that you will never forget.

The cast does great jobs in their roles. Sam Neill is excellent as John Trent,with Neill bringing intensity and cynicism to the performance. Julie Carmen does a wonderful job as Linda Styles,Cane's editor who helps John look for Sutter Cane. Jurgen Prochnow is brilliant and frightening as Sutter Cane,with Prochnow bringing believability to role. Charlton Heston(Jackson Harglow),David Warner(Dr. Wrenn),John Glover(Saperstein),Bernie Casey(Robinson),Francis Bay(Mrs. Pickman)and Willeim Von Homburg(Simon)give good performances as well. Also lookout for a cameo by a young Hayden Christensen as a paper boy.

The direction by John Carpenter is excellent,with Carpenter giving the film a dark and frightening atmosphere and always moving the camera. Great direction by Carpenter.

The score by John Carpenter and Jim Lang is great,dark and effective and goes with the scary tone of the film. Another great score from Carpenter.

The special make-up effects by K.N.B is amazing,disturbing and realistic. Another great effects work from K.N.B.

In final word,if you love John Carpenter,Horror films or H.P Lovecraft,I highly suggest you see In The Mouth Of Madness,an effective underrated Horror film that is one of John Carpenter's best films. Highly Recommended. 10/10.

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Release Date:

3 February 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness See more »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,441,807, 5 February 1995

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

New Line Cinema See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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