Guillermo del Toro and Lovecraft's Madness

At the Mountains of Madness, Guillermo del Toro's dream project for a movie based on H.P. Lovecraft's novella by the same title has been axed by Universal. It seems that del Toro refused to create a PG-13 version of the movie. You can read the official statement here.

Universal wanted del Toro to create something along the lines of Avatar. I suppose Universal imagined eight foot cut-outs of the Old Ones and Shoggoths in Walmart, a line of toys (stuffed blind penguins, anyone?), and possibly other marketing ventures based on the movie.

Just for Universal's information: I quit watching PG-13 horror movies because they are so tepid. There is nothing wrong with PG-13 movies, people enjoy them, and they should have as much variety as the rest of us.

My issue isn't with PG-13 movies. My problem is this: if it is not a PG-13 cash cow with multiple merchandising options, nobody wants to touch the film.

I feel like a sadly neglected demographic in Universal's sugar-coated world of PG-13 franchises, because they aren't making genre movies for adults anymore. Being a grown-up means your movie selection is narrowed down to Avatarish science fiction that relies on glitz and special effects over genuine storytelling, or "horror" films that base their entire premise on how many gallons of fake blood can be spilled across the screen in ninety minutes.

So I can see why Universal cringed at del Toro's vision for At the Mountains of Madness. Tweens and TwilightMOMs do not read Lovecraft. The story doesn't sport a cast of angst-filled teenagers mooning over one another. None of the characters are cute or loveable or would look good on a Burger King glass.

Lovecraft's stories were about mood and metaphor; two aspects of storytelling at which del Toro excels.

Since we're talking about dreams here: If I had my dream, del Toro would go back to El Deseo SA and make more movies like Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone.

Dark films with soul. Horror with meaning behind the dread and a thin line of hope intertwined in the story. Movies that make me think about the images and the characters long after the film stops rolling. I miss seeing movies like that.

But hey, I'm a grown-up.

Maybe Universal will make a movie for grown-ups someday.

I'll buy a stuffed blind penguin if they do.