Wednesday, January 9, 2013

'At the Mountains of Madness' Still on Del Toro's Docket

There's good news for H.P. Lovecraft fans, Guillermo del Toro has recently announced that he has not given up on his "Mountains of Madness"  movie and that he is going to start once again pitching it to studios to see if any of them will pick it up.

Apparently, one of the reasons that Universal studios decided to cancel the production is that del Toro refused to make it a PG-13 movie. I for one, and glad that he did. Too many PG-13 horror movies these days tend to be watered down cinematic catastrophes that civilization is better off without them.

However,  what was originally reported to be the reason why the movie was pulled was that there were too many similarities between Del Toro's "At the Mountains of Madness"and "Prometheus." This reason, by the way, to me is utter bunk. Especially after seeing the film.

Sure, there are similarities on the surface between both story lines. They both start with an expedition that discovers a lost civilization that started all life on earth.

In "Prometheus" this discovery sends an expedition of scientists to a remote planet in hopes of finding proof that life on Earth started out in the stars. Unfortunately, the scientists are utterly incapable of following even simple protocol, such as not taking off your helmets while on a hostile alien world, or adhering to simple quarantine procedures that were created to save people's lives and prevent the spread of disease.

The incompetent scientists then go frolicking through--er I mean exploring-- the cave system on the alien world and prove themselves to be completely oblivious to even the most simplest of safety rules, such as don't stick out your finger and point at an alien snake thing or it'll bite your hand off.

The scientists find a well preserved severed head of one of the engineers still in it's helmet. They take it aboard their ship, poke and prod at it with scientific doo-dads and then cause the find of the century to melt, thus destroying any evidence of what they have found. Why did they do this? Because they're morons. That's why.

Then, David the android goes about literally TOUCHING everything he can possibly get his hands on in order to find a cure for death (i.e. using the aliens to make someone immortal) in order to save his elderly "father" who mysteriously was on the space ship the entire time.

In the end, they find the last surviving member of the alien engineers who then appropriately kills off almost all of the remaining members of the crew because they are too stupid to live.

Yeah, it turns out that the utter train wreck that is "Prometheus" isn't even remotely close to H.P. Lovecraft's story in tone or subject matter.

In "The Mountains of Madness," a scientific team heads to Antarctica and finds a long long lost and foreboding city built by an ancient alien race called the Elder Things.

A professor from Miskatonic University, the geologist William Dyer, takes a group of scholars to Antarctica on a sceintific expedition to meet up with a smaller group led by Prosssor Lake that he left behind to see what they have uncovered. They had lost contact with the party and travel to the last known location to see if they can find them. There, they discover that Lake's camp was destroyed, and all members of the party, except for one man and his dog, were killed.

Dyer decides to fly over the mountains in a plane to where Lake had uncovered specimens of ancient life forms and see what it was that his peer had found. There, he discovers an ancient stone city with buildings made out of alien architecture. They explore the abandoned city, read some hieroglyphics about how the Elder Things came to earth and created life here, and learn about the monstrous Shoggoths who were created to build the cities for them.

The excitement of discovery is short-lived, when they come across the sledges of Lake's party, and finds that one of the party members and his dog's corpses were dissected in a grotesque scientific experiment. The Elder Things, two of the pristine specimens that they had found, had revived and returned to their city.

Spooked by this, they continue on and come across a large entrance to a tunnel that leads underground. Inside there are the remains of brutally slain Elder Things and the monstrous writhing black bubbling mass known as the Shoggoth.

Needless to say, it doesn't end well for them.

So, as you can see, while there are superficial resemblances between the two movies, the over all plot and story line of each are completely and utterly different. There was no reason for anyone to suspect that "Prometheus" would be like the H.P. Lovecraft story. And this revelation has to be pretty embarrassing to all of those who panicked when the sci-fi horror movie was being promoted to death on the TV and Internet and they canceled what has the potential to be the best movie adaptation of a Lovecraft story ever made.

In an interview with Indiewire, del Toro said that, "For me, the collapse of 'At The Mountains Of Madness' was a soul-shattering experience. It was very difficult for me that that movie didn’t happen,” del Toro said. "We designed the creatures, the sets, we were scouting the locations, and went through any number of drafts. Everything was going and then it collapsed and it was a big blow. It was a very debilitating moment.”

However, after watching the film, del Toro had this to say, "Yes, there are things in common, but, you know, screw it. Lovecraft was there first."

You're damn right he was. And "The Mountains of Madness" is by far a better story than the insipid drivel that "Prometheus" turned out to be.

Fortunately, now that the panic of "Prometheus" has passed, del Toro has decided that he's going to give it one more try. "Once more into the dark abyss. We're gonna do a big presentation of the project again at the start of the year and see if any [studio's] interested."

To me, that's the best news I've heard in a long time.

I hope that "The Mountains of Madness" finally gets the treatment it deserves by being made by a brilliant director who knows how to make emotionally driven horror films full of beautifully grotesque imagery.

Until then, here's some fan art of the movie poster!

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