One of John Carpenter's underrated classics is In The Mouth Of Madness. It's 90s vintage, which becomes obvious when you see the special effects and film quality. We've stepped out of the 80s.
No spoilers if you haven't seen it, because you should see it fresh if you haven't before. But this movie touches on some of my favorite themes.
Besides being an homage to Lovecraft, it's also a horrifying exploration of mental breakdown. Or the total destruction of consensus reality.
That's the horrifying angle. You never do figure out if reality's really falling apart, or whether Sam Neil's character is losing his mind. If there's any difference.
Stories that play with the barrier between mind and reality always have fascinated me. Total Recall is another one, inspired by a PKD story (he loved this theme), that plays tricks on the reader by playing around with the main character's POV.
If you ever wondered why I go on so much about science and the constructed cybernetic universe we live in, here's why.
It's a philosophical question that implies raw terror.
The more we learn about the brain, the nervous system, how AI works in principle, how information moves in flows and loops... about the thought processes of human beings... the more we learn about how we think about and observe reality... the more we seem to discover that...
There's no reality and there's no observer
But if that's true, then how can we know this much?
Skepticism has a healthy tradition in our culture. But even skepticism has to start somewhere.
You can't ask "why?" if there's nobody to ask "why?"
Skeptical questions require a skeptic.
But what happens if the skeptic, responsible for his own reality, has a mental breakdown? Is there a difference between skepticism and schizophrenia?
That's the theme these stories explore.
What if there were no difference between healthy questioning and an unwell mind?
There's a happy Halloween thought to comfort you into the long dead hours of the night...
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