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Guillermo del Toro Willing to Make AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS PG-13 with Legendary Pictures

Horror maestro Guillero del Toro may have finally found a way way to make his long-planned passion project At the Mountains of Madness, based on the short story by pioneering writer H.P. Lovecraft. Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, the ever-busy Del Toro — whose series The Strain (based on his own vampire novel of the same name) premieres Sunday, July 13th on FX — says that besides doing post-production on his next film Crimson Tide and developing his recently announced sequel to Pacific Rim he’s considering the possibility of making a PG-13 At the Mountains of Madness at his current filmmaking home Legendary Pictures, which produced his two most recent features.

Del Toro tells the Journal that “there’s a really strong possibility we can do it [At the Mountains of Madness] at Legendary because now they are at Universal, and Universal, you may remember, almost greenlit the movie.” Of his willingness to accept a PG-13 for his adaptation, the director explains that with the MPAA assigning PG-13 ratings to films of increasingly adult content in recent years, “I think I could do it PG-13 now, so I’m going to explore it with [Legendary], to be as horrifying as I can, but to not be quite as graphic. There’s basically one or two scenes in the book that people don’t remember that are pretty graphic. Namely, for example, the human autopsy that the aliens do, which is a very shocking moment. But I think I can find ways of doing it.”

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I’m by no means in favor of censorship, but sometimes challenges like this have a way of forcing filmmakers to dig deeper into their toolboxes and come up with even more creative means of telling stories. The PG-13 rated Cloverfield and Drag Me to Hell, for example, were two of the most effective studio horror films I’ve seen in the last decade. So I’m optimistic that a guy as talented as Del Toro can figure something out.

But how about you? Do you think PG-13 is the kiss of death, or can the Big G still do Lovecraft justice?

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10 comments

  • The story, and most of HPL stories, rely on an atmosphere of suspense and as a result HPL tends not to be (and doesn’t need to be) as visually descriptive.  If Del Toro can spin AtMOM like a classic haunted house horror flick, building up suspense and creepiness for perfectly timed shocks, he will succeed. That said, how gory was he planning the autopsy scene to be? 

  • Just make the film already. At the Mountains of Madness is one of Lovecraft’s best stories….us fans have been on the hook for years. Of course with Del Toro’s work schedule, it would not be in theaters until 2018. Uhg!

  • If he can’t do it as PG-13 he’s the wrong person for the job. AtMoM is horror about the alien, unknown, incomprensible. No one gives a crap about a gory autopsy. 

    Focus on figuring out how to translate the last scene of the plane flying out of the mountains and how to convey that horror on screen effectively because THAT is the challenge, not figuring out how to fool the MPAA into approving some stupid gore. 

  • Considering that the gore is the only thing really above a strong PG in the story, it seems very plausible.  The real issue with adapting Lovecraft is that the horror is about what’s unseen as well as what is indescribable.  Each creature he created was meant to be horrific and beyond comprehension to the point of driving people insane.  That’s what will be hardest.    

  • Well you got to do what you got to do I guess. While I would love to have an R-rated ‘In the Mountains of Madness’ movie it just isn’t feasible with the climate in Hollywood right now. PG-13 brings in the money more than R-rated does these days. I am sure Guillermo will make the adaptation as horrific as PG-13 can go.