One of the countless movie projects that Guillermo del Toro has wanted to direct is an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft horror title, but many obstacles have stood in its way.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2010 this past weekend, we found out that del Toro was writing and producing Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, and we got a little taste of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which he’s also writing and producing. The thing we did not find out was what he would actually be directing next, which he promised would be a horror and we would know soon enough.
According to reports from Deadline, that movie will indeed be Lovecraft’s 1931 novel, At the Mountains of Madness…finally!
The main issues that financiers have had is that del Toro needed his movie to be a period film, and he needed it to be R-rated. Movies like that are really hard to market, and so studios, such as Universal in this case, haven’t wanted to pay for it. Thankfully, Guillermo cares more about his craft than money, and hasn’t budged on either front to get it made sooner.
So why would Universal decide that they were finally ready to take the risk? One name: James Cameron. According to the reports, the Avatar director has decided to back del Toro’s vision and come on as a producer. Not only that, but the movie will be in 3D, and there’s no one else on the planet right now that you want in your corner when it comes to 3D more than James Cameron. They even plan to start pre-production immediately with hopes of filming some time next summer.
The story delves into Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and follows a team of researchers on an expedition to Antarctica in the 1930s. They venture to a range of mountains that reach even higher into the skies than the Himalayas. What the discover there is some mysterious ruins and the remains of many lifeforms — some badly damaged and some in perfect condition — that they decide to call the “Elder Things.” Eventually these ancient beings somehow become reanimated, creating major issues for the research team.
At Comic-Con, ComingSoon was able to speak to del Toro about At the Mountains of Madness. This news hadn’t come to surface yet, but the director talked about setting and R-rating and why it has been so hard to make.
What ‘Mountains of Madness’ is is a throwback to something nobody does anymore, it’s tentpole horror. Everybody now understands horror as minimum investment, maximum return, and most of the time, they go at it, as production entities, with great cynicism, like ‘Let’s make it really gory or extreme’ and for a very low budget, and recuperate our investment, make money, all that. If you make a horror movie for half a million and it makes 4, they’re very happy. The studio sees horror movies as something they will not invest more than $30-40 million. ‘Mountains of Madness’ needs to be tentpole in the way that the tentpole movies of the past were, about $130 million.
I remember when I saw ‘Alien’ and I was absolutely blown away by it. I saw John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing,’ I saw Kubrick’s ‘The Shining.’ These were massive movies in a genre that normally doesn’t get massive movies. (With) ‘Mountains of Madness,’ there are two things that I’ve been battling all these years: period and R-rated, and a very very tough ending, so the studio is very scared of period obviously, he’s very scared of the budget and an R-rating, and the first conversation I always have is, ‘Does it have to be R?’ and I go, ‘Yes.’ ‘Does it have to be period? Does it have to be Antarctica?’ ‘Yes.’
‘Mountains’ is my dream and we’ve been pursuing it for thirteen years and I hope it happens.
This is about as good as news gets, folks. We’ve all known for a long time that del Toro was the perfect man to bring Lovecraft to the big screen, and you can already see how passionate and dedicated he is to its perfection. The addition of Cameron as a backer will only help ensure that this movie blows minds everywhere.
Yes, we’re all terrified of the 3D and what it’s done to other movies, but we must keep reminding ourselves that these two know what they’re doing. If del Toro has held out this long to ensure an R-rating, it’s obvious he has a plan for the 3D to be used effectively.