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In the Mouth of Madness$
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Michael Blyth

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325406

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325406.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

‘The New Bible’

‘The New Bible’

(p.67) Chapter 5: ‘The New Bible’
In the Mouth of Madness

Michael Blyth

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on religion as a common motif employed throughout John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness (1995). As with many Western horror films, Christianity serves as a theological foundation, but Carpenter's film also draws interesting parallels with the Church of Scientology. In its depiction of the all-knowing, omnipotent author, able to alter reality with the mere power of their words, In the Mouth of Madness elevates the figure of the writer to near-religious status. As Sutter Cane types away on his very own ‘word processor of the Gods’, he too becomes one of those Gods, with divine control over those in his literary kingdom. With this notion in mind, the chapter explores the ways in which Carpenter's film repositions the writer from mere cultural commentator to modern-day prophet, or untouchable celestial being. It also considers how the film utilises theological concepts to form the basis of its philosophical framework, ultimately presenting religious cultdom as an extension of Carpenter's critiques on mindless consumerism and his apocalyptic obsessions with the loss of individuality and free will.

Keywords:   religion, John Carpenter, In the Mouth of Madness, Western horror films, Scientology, omnipotent author, Sutter Cane, modern day prophet, religious cultdom, consumerism

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