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Friday, July 30, 2010

At the Mountains of RADness!

Guillermo Del Toro is an auteur who has a distinct vision, a drive and skill to bring that vision to the screen. His work with Hellboy has been very interesting, especially in regard to the second film. His willingness to use practical effects is something that is quickly becoming a rarity in genre films today. Pan's Labyrinth was an amazing visual feast. A dark fairy tale about escapism, and fear. A grim meditation on how we cannot afford to always see things in black and white, and a monster that wears a human face is just as dangerous as one whose sprouts horns.

Del Toro, as many know, was slated to direct The Hobbit, but has left the project recently due to the amount of time pre-production is taking. This could be a blessing for some of us, especially since it looks like the next project Del Toro may take on is his oft rumoured version of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.

This is probably one of the most complex of Lovecraft's short novels. A great deal of the book concerns itself with the minutiae of Arctic exploration-- what drills these scientists are bringing, what modes of transportation they're taking, their myriad specialties and roles within the group--but this is really just part of Lovecraft's cleverness in telling this kind of story. It's all a set-up, a staunchly realistic narrative that serves to lull the reader into the comfortability of the real, because when this story gets unreal, it goes for broke.

If done correctly, and we've seen nothing but good evidence that Del Toro intends to do the original story justice, then this could be one of those tentpole horror movies. We're already used to the set-up, a small group of people secluded in an isolated and desolate locale, are beset upon by some weird horror. Except this time the horror is something that we've never yet seen in film.

If you want spoilers, read the book.

Back in 2006 Del Toro had this to say concerning Mountains: "The studio is very nervous about the cost and it not having a love story or a happy ending, but it's impossible to do either in the Lovecraft universe." According to statements made by Del Toro, the creature design and effects were started in 2008, and that certain creatures would be so large that we would never see them in their entirety on the screen.

In fact, if you look closely in the goblin market scene during Hellboy 2, and you know what you're looking for, you might just see an Elder Thing or two.

It seems like the studios nerves have been cleared up however, because now James Cameron has reportedly stepped in to back the movie, and it's going to be filmed in 3D.

Some may balk at this, but just imagine stunning Arctic vistas in 3D. Imagine feeling the ice-cold wind on your face as you stare out at the night sky, looking up at a strange abandoned city, a weird and alien city. The barking of dogs in the distance. Imaging the claustrophobia of running full speed through a tunnel under the Earth, your companions going mad beside you as a slopping, gibbering horror courses after you.

Imagine seeing THIS thing in 3D, so big you can't even make out its true shape.

MAN, I'm excited to see this movie already!


  1. I still don't get why not Call of Cthulhu. I mean I know there was that tori spelling movie... but still. This seems like a damned hard adaptation to crack. Makes me a bit nervous.

  2. The more I think about it the more I can see why Del Toro is eager to adapt this one. It's probably the most cinematic. Call of Cthulhu is like a puzzle, and if you're doing a strict adaptation it kind of loses its power in the fact that the danger is long past.

    I've always thought that the story that would do the best as a mainstream movie would be Shadow over Innsmouth.