PUFF-TOBER-WEEN: Day 24: IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS 1


Day 24In the Mouth of Madness stars Sam Neill as John Trent, an insurance investigator hired to find Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow) who is said to be “this century’s most widely read author”. Having disappeared two months earlier, Cane’s publisher wants Trent to retrieve Cane’s book “In the Mouth of Madness” for publication. Parts of this book was sent to Cane’s agent, who went insane after reading it and wandered around Manhattan with an axe until he was shot dead by the police. Trent, with the help of Cane’s editor Linda Styles (Julie Carmen), not only has to find Cane and the elusive book, but also convince himself that the whole thing isn’t just some elaborate marketing stunt. In any case, Sutter Cane’s latest book is, of course, more than a book; it threatens to rewrite reality itself and make Cane a god. But that’s only half the fun.

What makes In the Mouth of Madness such a delight is how it’s a giant love letter to H.P. Lovecraft, which most specifically plays off of his short story “Pickman’s Model”. In this 1926 story, Richard Upton Pickman is a brilliant painter who paints amazingly detailed images of horrifying scenes, monsters and all. After his recent disappearance, a friend of Pickman shares a tale of the time he visited Pickman in his gallery. After a series of bizarre and unsettling incidents, the friend stumbles upon a photograph which clearly reveals that Pickman isn’t painting from his imagination, but from real life. There’s more to it, of course; such as the implication that Pickman himself may not even be human. Or there’s the metafictional possibility that the story is meant to be about Lovecraft himself.

Read what else I have to say about In the Mouth of Madness over at Where the Long Tail Ends.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PFcOeM_Usk

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PUFF-TOBER-WEEN

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About Christian A. Dumais

Christian A. Dumais is an American writer, humorist and public speaker living in Wrocław, Poland. He has published fiction, journalism, and academic articles in several magazines and journals such as GUD, Shock Totem and Ha!Art. His first collection of short stories, Empty Rooms Lonely Countries, was published in 2009. He also created, edited, and contributed to Cover Stories, a euphictional anthology of 100 stories inspired by songs, which was published in 2010. His most recent book is SMASHED: The Life and Tweets of Drunk Hulk.


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