One of the more well-known examples of a film that could have been made but failed to come to fruition is Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, and while most fans have assumed such a project was long dead, the filmmaker recently confirmed that, while his previous vision of the project might not ever be realized, he currently has an entirely different idea of how to bring such a story to life. The acclaim he has earned from his work now sees himself potentially able to make a much more "esoteric" interpretation of the material, which wouldn't quite need to be as universally appealing as his script from the mid-2000s was compensating for.
"Take a wild guess which were the first projects I presented, you know?" del Toro shared with The Kingcast when asked if Netflix could revive At the Mountains of Madness. "I went through the cupboards and found [The Count of] Monte Cristo, [At the] Mountains of Madness. Those were a couple of the ones I presented first. The thing with Mountains is, the screenplay I co-wrote 15 years ago is not the screenplay I would do now, so I need to do a rewrite. Not only to scale it down somehow but because back then I was trying to bridge the scale of it with elements that made it somewhat be able to go through the studio machinery."
He added, "And I think I don't need to reconcile that anymore. I can go to a far more esoteric, weirder, smaller version of it. You know, where I can go back to some of the scenes that were left out. Some of the big set pieces I designed, for example, I have no appetite for. Like, I've already done this or that giant set piece. I feel like going into a weirder direction. I know a few things will stay. I know the ending we have is one of the most intriguing, weird, unsettling endings, for me."
Del Toro has had a fascinating career, bouncing around from horror to fantasy to action to drama, often blending multiple themes together, and while his films earn mixed financial results, they often earn critical acclaim. Following multiple awards for Pan's Labyrinth, his development of a Mountains adaptation made some progress, though the filmmaker himself has noted that 2011's Prometheus and the themes it explored made the likelihood of his adaptation become nearly an impossibility.
Adding more challenges to the adaptation is that Lovecraft is known as a master of cosmic horror, which is subject matter that rarely finds success when translated into the world of live-action. However, given del Toro's ambition and imagination, many fans think he would be the perfect person to bring such a complex narrative to life.
Del Toro's next film, Nightmare Alley, hits theaters on December 17th.
Would you like to see del Toro's adaptation of the story? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!