Last night, Guillermo del Toro dropped some VFX footage on Instagram from his canceled production of his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. The clip was created by Industrial Light and Magic, which demonstrates that he was pretty far along in the film’s pre-viz development, and was minutes away from starting to shoot before it got unceremoniously shut down by Universal Studios, citing both the R-rating and the 150 million dollar price tag. You can see the clip below, but be warned; the monster that appears truly lives up to del Toro’s best horror creatures. (It also, stunningly enough, matches up to Lovecraft’s own vision for the monster.)
Back in December of 2021, del Toro mentioned on Stephen King’s podcast that when he signed a multi-project deal with Netflix, he was given the opportunity to pull out some of his shelved projects including The Count of Monte Cristo and At the Mountains of Madness. He also mentioned that if he were to make Mountains now he would aim for a script that was weirder, tigther, and more focused. That makes sense! The del Toro of 2010 is a far cry from the del Toro of 2022.
At the Mountains of Madness is one of Lovecraft’s most well-known works, and it holds a special place in the horror canon. It is, thankfully, one of his least racist pieces of fiction, probably because of the setting itself; an isolated Antarctic exploration doesn’t really have a lot of the inherent social structures that occur in his other work.
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