June 16, 2024

John Carpenter’s Underrated Lovecraftian Horror Movie Surprises VFX Artists For 1 Major Reason


  • Creatures in
    In the Mouth of Madness
    surprised VFX artists for being barely visible on-screen despite their intricate designs.
  • Corridor Crew noted the impressive prosthetics work on creatures like the soggy mummy, which was only seen for two frames in the movie.
  • The Lovecraftian film may have benefited from showing more monsters, considering the effort put into their creation.

John Carpenter’s Lovecraftian horror film In the Mouth of Madness surprises VFX artists for one major reason. The 1994 movie follows John Trent (Sam Neill), an insurance investigator who recounts strange activity in Hobb’s End, New Hampshire, and its connection to novelist Sutter Cane. Along with Neill, the cast includes Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen, David Warner, John Glover, and Charlton Heston. Despite an underwhelming theatrical release, In the Mouth of Madness assembled a strong fanbase and is considered one of Carpenter’s most underappreciated movies, featuring some memorable creature designs.

In Corridor Crew’s latest video, VFX artists looked at In the Mouth of Madness and were surprised by how briefly the creatures actually appear on-screen. Check out their reaction:

Corridor Crew praised the movie’s use of practical effects, but mentioned that some of the monsters were barely visible. After pausing the sequence and viewing them in full, Jordan Allen noted, “An entire soggy mummy built from scratch and just discarded.” Niko then explained the amount of work involved, and expressed frustration over how the creatures were employed. Read more of their comments below:

Jordan Allen:
Look at the amount of prosthetics work that went on here. That soggy mummy in the back, who’s sitting on someone’s shoulders, drooped, you don’t even see him at all.

This is actually a mechanism that takes fifteen people to operate. So, there’s one giant rig and there’s two guys in suits in the foreground in front of it, and just like, a whole bunch of like radio-controlled motors and people operating this whole thing. All for two frames… I do feel like they could have shown us at least a little bit more of this though. This is what it feels like to be a VFX artist and have like, your characters cut from the movie.

Should In The Mouth Of Madness Have Included More Monsters?

That Is One Lovecraftian Characteristic

Sam Neill, with a book open on his chest, sits next to a zombie in In The Mouth of Madness

In the Mouth of Madness incorporates some terrifying, otherworldly creatures, often associated with Lovecraftian horror. Cane wrote that Hobb’s End belonged to something unfathomable, and that particular sequence revealed the monstrous beings in their entirety (not counting the hotel portrait shown earlier). However, considering the effort that went into constructing these monsters, and how significant they were to Cane’s work, it’s worth wondering why the film didn’t include more shots of them. It could be that the effort to create the creatures was too much for the production to handle, so they did what they could without overextending themselves.

Fortunately for audiences, or those familiar with H.P. Lovecraft, In the Mouth of Madness features plenty of bizarre occurrences to make up for its lack of monsters, including the young man who inexplicably aged prior to Linda Styles (Carmen) and Trent arriving in Hobb’s End. Not only was there a creature seemingly attached to Cane, but the hotel’s elderly receptionist had tentacles protruding from her chest, though neither fully transformed. Also, in one of the more unforgettable scenes, Linda began to backbend and contort, while her head hung upside down.

In the Mouth of Madness
was part of Carpenter’s “
Apocalypse Trilogy
”, which also included
The Thing
Prince of Darkness.

It’s interesting to hear Corridor Crew’s reaction to the monsters from In the Mouth of Madness, and to think about the behind-the-scenes labor involved in bringing them to life. Because they come from one of Carpenter’s more underrated movies, it would be easy to overlook these impressive elements, even though they deserve recognition. Because of how horrifying and evil-minded those beings were revealed to be, though, audiences might have enjoyed seeing them some more.

Source: Corridor Crew

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