It's possible, since we might not be Facebook or Twitter friends (although you should probably fix that right this second), that you didn't get my memo about how to prepare for this week's blog post. That's okay, you should still be able to enjoy it, especially if you have an awesome imagination/willingness to go watch In the Mouth of Madness as soon as possible, which should be no problem because it's on Netflix Instant, or maybe you could borrow a copy from your cool uncle who let you have beer during Superbowl XXXIII. Anyway, this informational trailer about John Carpenter's mid-nineties masterwork should help you get up to speed:
I watched this movie for the first time a few months ago, and I don't think that it was until Sutter Cane says to John Trent, "I think, therefore you are," that I really understood the horror behind the concept of author as God. Sure, I went through the whole Joyce phase in college, understanding the notion that an author's ego can make him God-ish, but I don't think it really occurred to me that, when writing, an author generally sets out — in most cases — to make the heroic journey for his (or her, dudes, whatever) characters so trying and difficult for really no good reason other than our entertainment and maybe, just maybe, a little lovely lesson. Authors are jerks. And don't you look so innocent either, pal. You're a voyeuristic interloper on the lives of fiction's downtrodden. Creep.
Anyway, the whole "author as God" thing isn't what I want to write about here. Sorry to get off course.
In the Mouth of Madness (you can read my thoughts on the *spoiler* statute of limitations here) is about an insurance fraud investigator named John Trent, played by Sam Neill, who takes a case involving missing horror author Sutter Cane, played by Jürgen Prochnow. The circumstances around Cane's disappearance are more than foggy, and all the publisher and the foxy editorial assistant know is that he needs to get Cane back so that his newest book, In the Mouth of Madness, can be edited, printed, published, and start raking in the ca$h. Aside from being a missing author, Sutter Cane is known in the movie's universe for writing books that DRIVE PEOPLE INSANE. Seriously. Over and over again in the movie people reiterate that Cane's books "have an effect" on some people. Strangely, no one really does anything about it. I guess you can't just stop an author from writing just because his books are DRIVING PEOPLE INSANE. There are even shots in the movie where people are beating each other up in line at various book stores. Riots break out when there are no books left. People going crazy for books. It's awesome.
Sure, the books are evil, but you know, whatever. Gotta start somewhere.
Still, as I'm writing this (actually, this is me in the future, having spent the night tossing-and turning about it) I can't help but wonder if I actually am excited by the idea of people going insane over a book. There is a part in the movie when John Trent (protagonist of both the book and the movie) refuses to believe that the world Sutter Cane is building around him is reality, and passes off the power of Cane's books as a "pop phenomenon" and this phrase is critical to the viewers entrance into the terror of the movie; a speck of believability. I mean, have you SEEN a Harry Potter line? Chicks go crazy for Twilight. Do you remember when the author of the Wheel of Time series died? Many nerd tears were shed. It's scary to think that if just one of those books was imbued with evil, mystical powers, all those once normal tweens might go on a killing spree.
But seriously guys, ever think about it, during the midst of some deep, dark, sleepless night? What if you're just a character in someone's book. What horrors await you? Trippy. Totally.
In all seriousness though, that movie is really freaking scary.
P.S. In the trailer for the movie, why would they mention Christine and Starman but not The Thing? Talk about underselling gold.