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'In the Mouth of Madness'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 03, 1995


John Carpenter
Sam Neill;
Charlton Heston;
Jurgen Prochnow
brief nudity, violence and extended passages of incoherence

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The American republic is in peril, as usual, and it's going to take a really bad movie to save it. In this uninvolving, abysmally scripted horror picture, insurance investigator Sam Neill (someone please tell me what he is doing in this movie) is sent by publisher Charlton Heston to investigate the disappearance of Jurgen Proch now, a successful Stephen-King-like novelist.

It seems the novelist -- the most successful writer of the century -- turns his readers into psychotic zombies. (Let us emphasize right now, this movie is not about Robert James Waller.) Accompanied almost irrelevantly by publishing editor Julie Carmen, Neill drives to the usual misty, New England location in search of Prochnow. He finds him, of course, as well as a world peopled with rejects from "Children of the Corn" (catatonics with pickup trucks).

The rest is a bewildering, boring assembly of rock-video-surreal nightmare sequences with more repetitive episodes than "Groundhog Day." I said, with more repetitive episodes than -- oh never mind. Just consider yourself warned.

IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (R) -- Contains brief nudity, violence and extended passages of incoherence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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