Among the worst bits of news I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks was this little nugget: Universal Pictures has pulled the plug on Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. This after it was announced earlier on Monday that ATMOM would begin shooting in June with Tom Cruise starring! What in the name of the Elder Gods is going on here?
Word is the studio balked at the $150 million price tag and planned hard-R rating. Seriously? $150 million is not a lot to ask in this day and age. And R-rated movies can make money; they just have to be good (See Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 300 – heck, even The Hangover!). But no worries there: Del Toro don’t make no junk! We’re talking about a director who knows his way away around fantasy projects; most people probably know him for Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but Del Toro is the auteur behind the 2006 instant-classic Mexican horror film Pan’s Labyrinth, and the truly creepy The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – making him the perfect director for this material. In order to be true to Lovecraft’s original story, the movie would have to be heavy on atmosphere, as opposed to having “frights” pop out at you every few minutes. The director needs to be able to create and sustain an atmosphere of foreboding that builds and builds and builds over the course of the film. Del Toro could pull this off without breaking a sweat.