Hollywood is full of filmmakers who never got to work on their true passion projects due to the fickle nature of the industry. One such filmmaker is Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro, who has for more than a decade been trying to adapt H.P. Lovecraft's seminal horror classic At the Mountains of Madness for the big screen. In a recent interview with Indiewire, Del Toro revealed that his commitment to making the movie will never waver, even unto death.
"This is why I wear this ring, since the project got cancelled. This is the fake ring about a fake university, the one that appears in the book, Miskatonic University, and I'm gonna wear it until I make the movie. They may bury me with it."
At the Mountains of Madness was a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft which explored the fate of a group of explorers stranded in the icy, barren land of the Antarctic, where they realize they are being picked off one by one by a malevolent, otherworldly entity.
Despite being considered by many to be the greatest horror writer of all time, Lovecraft's books are notoriously difficult to adapt to a visual medium. The writer relied on scaring readers by creating an atmosphere of madness and paranoia with his words, where the dangers are never given a definite shape, but stray somewhere around the edges of the reader's psyche, making the undefined cosmic horrors hinted at through the stories seem all the more dreadful. Making a horror film that relies so heavily on the right atmosphere is a difficult feat, and Guillermo del Toro could not ultimately bring the project to fruition despite coming close a few times.
"It's difficult to tackle. We had James Cameron as a co-producer with me .... we had Tom Cruise [to star] and we thought we were gonna get it made and we didn't, it didn't happen. These are not decisions you make. Most of us filmmakers, we exist in a world that moves above our paygrade. People think that our career is a series of decisions. Our career is a series of accidents happening with your decisions on top. You don't decide to do one movie instead of another."
So fans who had been hoping to see Del Toro spearhead a Lovecraft Cinematic Universe based on the Cthulhu mythology should not hold out hope for an At the Mountains of Madness film any time soon. But there are still other Lovecraft-inspired movies to enjoy.
The recently released Kristen Stewart-starrer Underwater took its cues from Alien and Lovecraft, and even featured a Cthulhu-like monster at one point before the scene was scrapped. The upcoming HBO series Lovecraft Country combines Lovecraftian horror with the real-life horrors of racism. Finally, there is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which, as the title suggests, is inspired by At the Mountain of Madness, and is rumored to be the MCU's first horror movie, directed by horror-feature veteran Sam Raimi. This story originated at Indiewire.