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Old 07-07-2014   #1
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At The Mountains of Madness movie

Looks like it might get made! but PG-13 only. Lovecraft was all about suggestiveness, so I think it could be done in a way that's still horrifying but less graphics to appease the stupid studios..

At The Mountains Of Madness To Be...a PG-13? | moviepilot.com
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Old 07-07-2014   #2
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

I hope it gets made.

Lucian pigeon-holed the letter solemnly in the receptacle lettered 'Barbarians.' ~ The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen

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Old 07-07-2014   #3
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

Here's a Del Toro draft of ATMOM in PDF written around 2004: http://lovecraftzine.files.wordpress...of-madness.pdf (thanks to the Lovecraft eZine)

What follows are some reflections of mine on that script and my response to some past criticism of it.

(STORY SPOILERS AHEAD)

Firstly, a little background on me as an HPL reader:

Even though it didn’t occur until I was 16 or 17 years old (I’m almost 44 now), I’ve got to say that the worldview communicated via H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction as a whole influenced me more profoundly than any individual story or group of stories had before. Previously, my head was filled with religious—specifically Pentecostal Christian—nonsense. Lovecraft’s cosmic materialism—communicated via his tremendous, imaginative prose both in his fiction and his prodigious correspondence—was simply transformative to my teenage psyche and worldview. Here was a man who, while having all the other trappings of an extremely conservative (if eccentric) gentleman, had nothing but rational disdain for organized religion.

On to the script. One of the most frequently cited gripes regarding this last known script draft: Lovecraft’s shoggoths shouldn’t have a THING-like ability to mimic. Of course, the root of this idea comes directly from HPL’s novella: the shoggoths are natural mimics and are able to form limbs and organs at will. We know they mimicked their masters’ art and voices, taking over the cavern city underneath Antarctica and creating a twisted imitation of the society of their masters.

Also note that Lovecraft’s work is chock full of the “waxen mask... that hides” motif – specifically, alien beings in the guise of human beings: see “The Whisperer in Darkness,” “The Thing on the Doorstep,” “Nyarlathotep.”

And speaking of Nyarlathotep, Del Toro's “Dark Man” is a brilliant nod to that dreadful entity—perhaps HPL's ultimate symbol of the universe's monstrous reality in the guise of man. Take this quote for instance from the aforementioned HPL story, “The Whisperer in Darkness”:

Quote
“To Nyarlathotep, Mighty Messenger, must all things be told. And He shall put on the semblance of men, the waxen mask and the robe that hides, and come down from the world of Seven Suns to mock...”
It is this element (in large measure) which makes THE THING the most purely Lovecraftian film ever made. If anything the ATMOM script draft accentuates HPL's aforementioned "waxen mask" motif by making the villains capable of speech ("to mock" the little human protagonists).

Ok, now let’s look at some other gripes about the script itself (e.g., one assertion that "it’s not [HPL’s] ATMOM in almost any way,shape or form").

Here's what the novella and script plots share in common:

1. the expedition begins – check
2. The "corpses" of the Elder Things are found—check
3. Expedition member killed by the awakened Elder Things—check
4. Flight and discovery of Elder Thing city—check
5. Exploration of a mere fraction of the city—check
6. Ancient lives of the Elder Things explained in context and are identified as scientists—check
7. Humanity identified as originally created by Elder Thing scientists—check
8. Mad flight from mountains—check
9. True understanding of insignificance and ultimate doom of humankind—check

Like it or not, the script draft holds to the original story and is true to its ultimate point. It ain’t, to quote another critic, "just blood and guts." Sure, it takes artistic liberties, but it always does so while staying true to Lovecraft's most crucial plot points and themes.

There have also been some complaints about the addition of Dyer's pregnant wife in the early scenes of the script, but I marvel that the script doesn’t include a woman on-board to act as a love interest throughout! We should count our blessings. I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio forces there to be an active love story in the midst of the film. Let’s hope not.

Additionally, some have argued that the script's ending wasn't true to the novella's. There has been, in fact, some outrage expressed that the subject of Danforth's sanity-blasting glance back was Del Toro's "Dark Man" instead of Cthulhu himself.

In Lovecraft's novella, Danforth looks back and sees something which causes him to lose his sanity, but he never reveals what it was he saw. We do know it's something that the Elder Things themselves feared, but it's unlikely that the Thing (living or not) is Cthulhu. It is more likely--given that we are talking about the Plateau of Leng here--that Danforth saw some avatar of Nyarlathotep (e.g., the Black or Dark Man; the Haunter of the Dark; the High Priest Not to Be Described; etc). Perhaps Danforth saw Nyarlathotep in his uncloaked, sanity-blasting form.

It strikes me, in fact, that what Danforth saw was a VISION brought on by proximity to Kadath (and Nyarlathotep) much like Lake had in the script. Remember, Dyer reports that Danforth "has whispered disjointed and irresponsible things about 'The black pit,' 'the carven rim,' 'the protoShoggoths,' 'the windowless solids with five dimensions,' 'the nameless cylinder,' 'the elder Pharos,' 'Yog-Sothoth,' 'the primal white jelly,' 'the color out of space,' 'the wings,' the eyes in darkness,' the moon-ladder,' ;the original, the eternal, the undying,'"--most if not all of these images have to do directly with the Nyarlathotep in some form. Could you imagine a visual cascade of these horrors brought on by proximity to "The Dark Man" or one of Its avatars? Oooh. Getting chills just thinking about it.

And, of course--Cthulhu IS in, but if you know your Lovecraftian Mythos you know that Cthulhu is merely a high priest of the Big Bad Outer Gods (of which the Nyarlathotep--i.e., the Dark Man--is one of the chief members). Cthulhu is also a well known figure in contemporary culture--he is the mascot for the Lovecraftian.

Me, I love the ending of this script as it stands, which has a real PRINCE OF DARKNESS, surreal dread to it.

My main gripe with the script is that the draft I read doesn’t have quite enough about/to do with the Elder Things for my taste. I simply want to see more film time with them and about them. I believe Dyer’s (or in this case Lake’s) ultimate pity of them and identification with them is lost in all the shoggoth action:

Quote
"…Scientists to the last - what had they done that we would not have done in their place? God, what intelligence and persistence! What a facing of the incredible, just as those carven kinsmen and forbears had faced things only a little less incredible! Radiates, vegetables, monstrosities, star spawn -whatever they had been, they were men!"
This, however, is a relatively minor qualm.

As someone who has read ATMoM many times and loves/reveres it, I feel the basic storyline and the philosophical thrust and cosmic horror of the original is completely intact in the film script draft in question.

Sure, there's mucho violence and the horrors that remain largely off-stage in the novella are bigger than life in the script, but--if THE THING is any indication--a cinematic adaptation that uses ample effects and violence CAN work (whilst remaining truly Lovecraftian).

Yes, the artsy-literary side of me rebels against such a take, but the practical side of me knows that a good film of this kind can only sustain hinted at horrors and off-stage grue so far before it becomes a visual borefest.

IMHO, Del Toro and Robbins crafted a script that is as exciting and simultaneously Lovecraftian as any script or script treatment I've ever read (or seen realized onscreen).

"...the uncanny is to me the defining trait of this strange and terrible world and our strange and terrible minds." --Thomas Ligotti

Last edited by Dr. Locrian; 07-07-2014 at 11:24 PM..
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Old 07-07-2014   #4
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

Skimming through the script. There's a thing or two I've seen so far I'd like to see changed or excised (and perhaps they have, given this is an early draft), but in general I concur with the good Dr., the major beats of the story seem to be there.

Either way, unsure how I feel anymore about any possible transgression regarding the mythos. The couple things I mentioned disliking? I've read writers doing far worse in their own Lovecraftian pieces. And one time a friend pointed me to some Japanese cartoon that portrays Nyarlathotep as a cutesy, ditzy anime girl. As my friend expressed disgust at the choice, I wrote to him: "Well, we know Nyarlathotep has thousands of avatars. There's certainly good chance that one of them could be a ditzy anime girl..."

But anyway. The script does get a lot of things right, and so far I haven't known Mr. Del Toro to embark on projects he isn't completely passionate about. So, yeah. Studio meddling nothwithstanding, we have a good chance of a fine Lovecraft movie here. For instance, about halfway through the script there's this (in reference to the Dark Man Dr. Locrian mentioned.):

Quote
CAMERA PUSHES INTO THE HOOD with a ROAR: barely visible is a boiling MASS OF FLESH—A SCREAMING VOID.
Doesn't that make you want this movie to get made?
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Old 07-07-2014   #5
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

Ah yes, very nice.

Lucian pigeon-holed the letter solemnly in the receptacle lettered 'Barbarians.' ~ The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen

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Old 07-08-2014   #6
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

I'm slowly losing my trust in Guillermo del Toro, hes kinda stuck in big Hollywood machine, same is with Cameron - he didn't make watchable film for over twenty years now... They both should just stay away - just give the money to people who did The Whisperer in Darkness and it would be perfect...

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Old 07-08-2014   #7
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

Del Toro hasn't done a good movie since Pan's Labyrinth. Everything after that has been nothing but stale Hollywood masturbatory material for geeks and dorks. I don't trus he will come back to his earlier sensibilities, not now that the big bucks are flying. ( I guess I can't blame him, though)

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Old 07-09-2014   #8
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

The Del Toro skepticism is understandable given his mediocre output following the masterful PAN'S LABYRINTH.

However, based on the ATMOM-related Del Toro interviews I've read/seen and--most of all--because of reading the script linked above, I have faith that Del Toro gets that particular Lovecraft story.

If the final, hypothetical product is ever created, and if it is more or less like the script I've read a few times now, it'll be gold.

"...the uncanny is to me the defining trait of this strange and terrible world and our strange and terrible minds." --Thomas Ligotti

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Old 07-18-2014   #9
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

Del Toro will probably shoot the R-rated film.

Guillermo del Toro May Have More Up His Sleeve -

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Old 07-18-2014   #10
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Re: At The Mountains of Madness movie

I hope he gets license to shoot the R, but I'm sure that I'll enjoy the PG-13, as well. I hope the soundtrack is up to snuff.

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