There are very few directors working today with the passion and talent of Guillermo del Toro. He is one of the most creatively brilliant minds in cinema and whenever he does direct, a celebration is in order. With his upcoming feature PACIFIC RIM, del Toro is throwing in his own take on a massive summer blockbuster. As I write this, I have yet to see the giant robot vs. monster flick but I’m sure as f*ck looking forward to it (although I plan to see the film before this column posts). After all, the last feature film he directed was in 2008 with HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY and quite frankly that is far too long to go without this dude’s vision. However, as excited as I am to see his latest, there is one movie that I am still hoping against hope that he makes.
Several years back del Toro – along with screenwriter Matthew Robbins – wrote a script for a feature film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness.” If you are at all familiar with Lovecraft, you are perfectly aware of the morbidly fascinating stories he had conjured up. In fact, I strongly believe that del Toro is likely the ONLY filmmaker that could create pure movie magic with this horrific adventure. This story set in Antarctica deals with terrifying ancient alien beasts and all sorts of mysterious creatures and it is perfect territory for the director. If you need an example, you need look no further than his beyond impressive resume. There is HELLBOY, PAN’S LABYRINTH, BLADE 2 and even MIMIC which holds up better than I had imagined. And then of course the monster designs for PACIFIC RIM which look pretty f*cking amazing.
So why has AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS seemed to altogether disappear aside from the occasional talk of the project? Well even last year when PROMETHEUS arrived many had speculated – including del Toro himself - that the stories were too close in concept and the MOUNTAINS had crumbled. For a minute Tom Cruise was attached as was James Cameron with the idea of producing this mega-monster 3D flick. However, according to various sources, the concept isn’t dead and it is still something the filmmaker wants to take on. One thing that he offers in abundance is passion for film and since this Lovecraftian tale is one of his “passion projects,” I have no doubt that it would be an epic horror fantasy come to life on the silver screen. Can you even imagine the nightmarish world he could create?
Of course, del Toro is a super busy fella. Aside from PACIFIC RIM which opens in just a couple of weeks on July 12th, he also has a TV movie called “The Strain”, the TV series “The Incredible Hulk” and the haunted house spookfest CRIMSON PEAK. Add to that a possible new HELLBOY movie – which would be great – and a whole mess of flicks he is producing. Now, I love the fact that he is so willing to bring awareness to some fresh faces in film, yet after watching MAMA and the oh-so-disappointing remake of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, I’d much rather see him at the helm. This is especially true with what could be a devilishly dark and atmospherically grand horror film where he could once again bring his genius with creature design to life in such a bleak and somber story without a tidy little happy ending!
I want this movie… no, strike that, I NEED this movie! Aside from THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970), RE-ANIMATOR (1985) and FROM BEYOND (1986) just to name a few, Lovecraft inspired adaptations are few and far between. Clearly this is a perilous financial leap as the big studios prefer safe and sound ideas as opposed to risky ambitious projects that haven’t proven to be financially successful. Yet del Toro has always taken chances with his work and generally created some insanely memorable worlds for movie fans to disappear into. Even with a big summer blockbuster he is giving us something that looks akin to a modern day Godzilla movie which is certainly not what you would call a safe bet.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but Guillermo del Toro needs to be given the opportunity to make this massive, could be horror masterpiece. There is not a single director in Hollywood that could bring his sincerity and heart to such a wonderfully somber story. I sincerely want PACIFIC RIM to make a ton of money. Yes I think it is going to be a fun flick, but I also want Hollywood to give Guillermo whatever the f*ck he wants! I’m willing to wait for it! Hell man, I’m looking forward to CRIMSON PEAK, and what about a new HELLBOY? F*ck yes! Yet I feel like I’ve waited for a long damn time to see one of the directors dream projects come to life, and I want it done right, on the director’s own terms. Let del Toro lead us to the Mountains of Madness and I will be one extremely happy camper!