Could Guillermo del Toro be more on fire than he already is? How many filmmakers can say they’ve stepped away from a project on the scale and popularity of The Hobbit only to see their situation improve? Now del Toro is working on something that has long been a dream for him, a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. The author was obsessed with exploring the link between horror and madness, a quality present in many of del Toro’s films as well. Part creeping horror story, part alien-invasion myth, the story is perfect for his artistic sensibilities.
Now del Toro has been profiled in The New Yorker (via ComingSoon) and, as you might imagine, there’s some talk of Mountains. The director’s vision of Shoggoths: “They are pristine,” he said. “They are functional. They are not asymmetric. Symmetry is efficiency. And these guys need to be efficient.” The article also makes mention of “a disorienting twist on classic Lovecraftian form” as realized in a maquette with “a giant octopus head with tentacles jutting from the top and bottom.” Sounds an awful lot like Cthulhu itself, right?
There’s also a little bit to learn on Frankenstein, another film that has long sat in del Toro’s playbook waiting to take to the field. It’s a description of the monster from the article’s author, Dale Zalewski. “In accordance with Mary Shelley’s description, the head appeared to have been stolen from a cadaver: there was exposed sinew around the jaw, and the cheekbones looked ready to poke through the scrim of flesh,” he wrote. “Most appallingly, the Creature lacked a nose; a single bridge bone protruded over an oval breathing hole. [Artist Mario] Torres had been etching deep furrows into the Creature’s forehead, and shaved bits of clay were scattered on his desk, like clippings on a barbershop floor.”