By our guest blogger, Joe Oliveto
Well, geeks, we tried.
Ever since dropping out of “The Hobbit,” it seems as though Guillermo del Toro has announced his involvement in every single upcoming genre picture known to man. There was word that he was going to reboot Disney’s “The Haunted Mansion,” then rumors that he was prepping an adaptation of “Frankenstein.” However, the most intriguing project the director had going was “At the Mountains of Madness.”
Based on a novella by beloved horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, “Madness” would tell the tale of a group of scientists who travel to Antarctica and discover a race of ancient alien gods.
With James Cameron assisting as producer and Tom Cruise rumored to star, the film looked like it had enough big-name-power to propel it into production. We were looking at an epic, tent-pole horror film, the kind that we rarely see in this day and age, when the horror genre—at least in American cinema—is dominated by cheap “Saw” ripoffs and lackluster remakes of classic slasher films.
However, the film would also be 3-D, budgeted at $150 million, and most importantly, R-rated.
According to Entertainment Weekly, del Toro believes that last stipulation is what did the film in. Universal Studios, which hasn’t been having all that much luck at the box office these past few years, was not ready to commit to that kind of investment, when the odds of making a profit are reasonably slim. Lovecraft may have a lot of fans, and in the wake of “Avatar,” you could probably slap James Cameron’s name on to a remake of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” starring Fran Drescher and audiences would turn up to see it, but the executives didn’t feel as though the project was safe enough to move forward with.
Fans are understandably upset. If all the promising elements of this film lived up to their full potential, we could have had another horror classic on our hands, akin to “The Exorcist” or “The Shining.” Scary movies for adults are so rare these days.
As it is, del Toro’s name has now been attached to “Pacific Rim,” a monster movie in the style of old-school “Godzilla” pictures. That could be fun, and in his hands, it probably will be, but it won’t be the landmark that “At the Mountains of Madness” would have been.
Fortunately, the film is not completely dead. Fan response on the internet has indicated that their still may be a chance to get the movie made somewhere else. And as true film buffs, we certainly hope that it does. We need to let our talented artists push the boundaries. History isn’t made by the safe choices.