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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

In the Mouth of Madness [Blu-ray]


(John Carpenter, 1994)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: New Line Cinema

Video: New Line Cinema



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:22.842 

Disc Size: 22,228,571,070 bytes

Feature Size: 21,767,073,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.92 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 15th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4083 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4083 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
* Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), French, German, Italian, Spanish, none



• Commentary by John Carpenter and director of photography Gary B. Kibbe

Trailer (1:47)





Description: A best-selling author's newest novel is literally driving readers insane. When the author inexplicably vanishes, a special investigator hired to track him down crosses the barrier between fact and fiction and enters a terrifying world from which there is no escape. Directed by horror legend John Carpenter (Vampires).



The Film:

Hired to help locate a missing author, an insurance investigator discovers to his terror that the nightmarish events depicted in the writer's best-selling horror novels are coming true. Wishing to be both a horror film and a parody of the genre, John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness combines supernatural thrills with winking references. For instance, the vanished author, Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow), is modeled on writers like Stephen King and Howard Phillips Lovecraft, from his great popularity to his obsession with small-town New England. Indeed, it is to one such hamlet that investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) and Cane's female editor (Julie Carmen) travel, discovering a town filled with terrifying scenes right out of Cane's books, from random axe murders to far worse. Have Cane's fans gone psychotic and begun imitating his writings, or are Cane's stories of an otherworldly evil invading the earth actually true? In the Mouth of Madness's mix of self-referential satire and real frights anticipates the later Scream (1996).

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

In this lightweight but entertaining horror movie, seasoned genre director Carpenter realises the Lovecraftian weirdness hinted at in the eerie atmospherics of The Fog and the monstrous excesses of The Thing: in short, the idea of an order of beings that exists in a parallel dimension, expelled from this world but waiting patiently to cross back and take control again. There are shades of both HP Lovecraft and Stephen King in the central character, Sutter Cane (Prochnow), a popular horror writer whose works allegedly influence his more susceptible readers, transforming them into homicidal harbingers of global chaos. When Cane vanishes just before his new book is due for delivery, his publishers panic and hire sceptical insurance investigator John Trent (Neill) to track him down. Trent suspects an elaborate publicity stunt; but having entered the writer's hometown of Hobb's End, he too experiences a blurring of the line between reality and fiction. The script by New Line's head of production, Michael (Freddy's Dead) de Luca, does not allow Carpenter free range, nevertheless he manages some neat flourishes of his own, handling the narrative twists and unsettling sfx sequences with customary skill.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness appears fairly modest on Blu-ray from New Line. I wouldn't say it is flawed in any way but the film itself has enough effects and expressive visuals to compensate for the less dynamic transfer.  This is single-layered with a bitrate in the low 20's. It is very clean, contrast is strong and some colors do attract attention. There is depth and no preponderance of noise. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark. By modern standards this is fairly tame but easily advances beyond SD. For all I know this is a great replication of the theatrical. This Blu-ray does its job and key effects are impressive but overall this would never be isolated for its HD appearance.

















Audio :

Audio is in a very robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 4083 kbps. It exports the effect sounds with gusto, a few keen separations and plenty of depth. The original score is by
John Carpenter and Jim Lang. It's a little quirky - as is the film but sounds solid via the lossless. There are a handful of foreign-language DUBs and subtitles available and m
y Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

New Line include, only, the rather unremarkable commentary by John Carpenter and director of photography Gary B. Kibbe as found on the last DVD edition, plus a trailer in 480i.



This is a little more over-the-top, and satirical, than I like my Carpenter films but I do admit to enjoying it with Neill's fine performance keeping pace. The Blu-ray video is less-remarkable than the audio but it delivers a better-than-adequate 1080P presentation what with the intensities in the film jumping out at every angle.  Carpenter fans may wish to indulge but this would definitely be in the bottom half of his efforts. 

Gary Tooze

October 1st, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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