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Cthulhu News! del Toro To Direct Lovecraft’s ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ With The Help Of James Cameron

August 4, 2010

This is great news.  There are no really great interpretations of Lovecraft’s work in cinema.  Though I would add a noble mention for the The Call of Cthulhu (2005) silent movie adaptation by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. This is the best current version of Lovecraft’s work and is great fun.  So here’s hope of a second great Mythos film:

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.

… 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.

So that made me happy.  On the subject, I’m also reading ‘Wireless‘ the collection of short sci-fi stories by Charlie Stross – which includes the amazing ‘A Colder War‘ which puts the discovery of Cthulhu and the Mythos into a Cold War setting. (To be honest, I purchased the book for just this story alone – though am enjoying the rest of them…).  Here’s a sample:

He looks at the colonel, suddenly bashful and tongue-tied: “Can I talk about the, uh, thing we were, like, earlier …?”

“Sure. Go ahead. Everyone here is cleared for it.” The colonel’s casual wave takes in the big-haired secretary, and Roger, and the two guys from Big Black who are taking notes, and the very serious woman from the Secret Service, and even the balding, worried-looking Admiral with the double chin and coke-bottle glasses.

“Oh. Alright.” Bashfulness falls away. “Well, we’ve done some preliminary dissections on the Anomalocaris tissues you supplied us with. And we’ve sent some samples for laboratory analysis — nothing anyone could deduce much from,” he adds hastily. He straightens up. “What we discovered is quite simple: these samples didn’t originate in Earth’s ecosystem. Cladistic analysis of their intracellular characteristics and what we’ve been able to work out of their biochemistry indicates, not a point of divergence from our own ancestry, but the absence of common ancestry. A cabbage is more human, has more in common with us, than that creature. You can’t tell by looking at the fossils, six hundred million years after it died, but live tissue samples are something else.

“Item: it’s a multicellular organism, but each cell appears to have multiple structures like nuclei — a thing called a syncitium. No DNA, it uses RNA with a couple of base pairs that aren’t used by terrestrial biology. We haven’t been able to figure out what most of its organelles do, what their terrestrial cognates would be, and it builds proteins using a couple of amino acids that we don’t. That nothing does. Either it’s descended from an ancestry that diverged from ours before the archaeobacteria, or — more probably — it is no relative at all.” He isn’t smiling any more. “The gateways, colonel?”

“Yeah, that’s about the size of it. The critter you’ve got there was retrieved by one of our, uh, missions. On the other side of a gate.”

Gould nods. “I don’t suppose you could get me some more?” he asks hopefully.

One Nation Under Cthulhu!

Updated! Terrible news, people.  The project has taken a step backwards.  (Howl of NOOOOoooooooooooo! to the sky) Some claim it has been shot down due to concerns over the horror content.  Others say it will happen, but after Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’ project.  Tentacles fingers crossed that it will.

Further updated! More terrible news. Del Toro is now saying that the Prometheus movie has killed any chance of at the Mountains of Madness getting made due to plot issues. (Warning link contains spoilers).

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