Guillermo del Toro, the award-winning director of such films as Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Crimson Peak, and the upcoming Pinocchio, has posted a never-before-seen CG test clip from his abandoned adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness.
A long time admirer of Lovecraft’s writing, del Toro has tried to get an adaptation of the author’s iconic 1936 novella off the ground since as far back as 2006. The clip appears to date back to around 2012, when the film was conceived as a 3D computer-animated film à la 2007’s Beowulf, with Tom Cruise attached to star and James Cameron set to produce. The clip shows an arctic explorer fumbling through a backpack before being ambushed by a shape-shifting creature with talon-like arms and writhing tentacles.
In an email exchange with New Yorker writer Daniel Zalewski in 2011, del Toro said that Universal Studios passed on greenlighting the film, citing a disagreement between him and the studio over his insistence on an R rating. Del Toro later elaborated in 2012 that the release of Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus, which hit theaters while del Toro was working on Pacific Rim, and which shares several similarities with At The Mountains of Madness, also impacted the cancellation of the film. “I am delighted to see a new RS science fiction film,” del Toro wrote, “but this will probably mark a long pause -if not the demise- of [At The Mountains of Madness].
Fast forward to 2022. Having won the Academy Award for Best Picture for his 2017 romantic fantasy The Shape of Water, del Toro has arguably never experienced a greater period of creative freedom and success in his career.
With the release of his Netflix horror anthology series Cabinet of Curiosities — which features several episodes adapted from other notable Lovecraft stories — and the upcoming release of his stop-motion Pinocchio (a film which experienced its own period in “development hell”), it’s possible that posting this clip may be another attempt to resuscitate interest in del Toro’s long-dormant take on At The Mountains of Madness.
Hey, it worked for Deadpool!