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March 8, 2011 11:28 PM   Subscribe

"'Madness' has gone dark. The ‘R’ did us in." Previously. Guillermo del Toro's Lovecraftian film "At the Mountains of Madness" was killed because he demanded an R rating, instead of the more lucrative PG-13. Ebert: Hollywood holds Del Toro hostage to 13-year-olds, or, the death of movies for grown-ups.
posted by zabuni (191 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, Fuck.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:35 PM on March 8, 2011 [18 favorites]


I would pay $100 personally towards funding this if I got two tickets and a DVD when it came out. But I'm sure getting the studios to release their option would be impossible.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:36 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Boooooooo.
posted by lumensimus at 11:36 PM on March 8, 2011


Fucking Hollywood, I hope the ground opens up and a pack of chtonians that suffer from extremely slow digestion swallows them all.
posted by Iosephus at 11:39 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, you know, there's another way to read this:

Universal Pictures... has remained unwilling to give the director a greenlight, citing concerns over the film’s budget and likely R rating.

Then you read on to see that not only did he request artistic freedom “to make it really, really uncomfortable and nasty," he also

envisaged “Madness” as a “hard R” epic, shot in 3-D, with a blockbuster budget. Creating dozens of morphing creatures would be expensive, and much of the film needed to be shot somewhere that approximated Antarctica.

etc. So, yeah. If you "need" to shoot it in 3D and include a bunch of other techno-crap, and ohyeahalsoartisticfreedom, then yeah, the studio needs to ensure a blockbuster audience to recoup its investment. Sorry, this is the nature of making a zillion-dollar film.

Maybe I'm just jaded because I think 3D is generally a gimmick, but regardless of your position on that you have to admit it's a HUGE budget item. I bet you could make some legitimate tradeoffs in terms of special effects razzle-dazzle and still put out a respectably dark film that even Lovecraft fans would dig. If you were so inclined.
posted by rkent at 11:44 PM on March 8, 2011 [30 favorites]


Boooo.
posted by Artw at 11:46 PM on March 8, 2011


Studio execs make Cthulhu look like a street punk.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:50 PM on March 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I bet you could make some legitimate tradeoffs in terms of special effects razzle-dazzle and still put out a respectably dark film that even Lovecraft fans would dig.

Molehills of Madness
posted by Artw at 11:51 PM on March 8, 2011 [52 favorites]


This is sad news. I'm not sure anybody can make a good adaptation of Mountains, but if anybody could it is Del Toro.
posted by Pendragon at 11:52 PM on March 8, 2011


ARGH GODDAMMIT
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:52 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hellboy II was filmed on $85 million, and it had some of the best creatures in movie history. Surely del Toro could film a fantastic Mountains of Madness on, say, $100 million, especially considering how little the monsters would be on-screen in a faithful adaptation.
posted by skymt at 11:57 PM on March 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Incredibly disappointing and frustrating. The studios want a family-friendly Cthulhu Mythos movie? What the hell are they thinking?

Surely it was understood for quite a while that this movie would need an R rating. It's been in the works for a while now. What is their excuse?
posted by naju at 12:00 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Molehills of Madness

I'm just saying, dropping 3D wouldn't exactly reduce your project to "Blair Witch" production values. I agree that it's probably asinine to try to get a PG-13 rating on a meaningful Lovecraft adaptation, but you have to take that into consideration in putting together your bill of materials.
posted by rkent at 12:00 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


God damn it.
posted by rifflesby at 12:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty upset about this. Horror films like this tend to be good and del Toro is my favorite filmmaker right now. He could do amazingly weird things with 3D.
There was a neat black & white, silent Call of Cthulhu film made recently. And my little bro is doing the stories in LEGO.
but Del Toro would use the budget to it's fullest
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:08 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The studios want a family-friendly Cthulhu Mythos movie? What the hell are they thinking?

Dude, RTFA. It's called "global marketing costs."
posted by phaedon at 12:16 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Doh.
posted by vhsiv at 12:17 AM on March 9, 2011


Cameron is the last person on Earth who would be attached to a project that wasn't shot on some sort of 3D system, preferably the one he used on Avatar.

Just saying.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:17 AM on March 9, 2011


At least if it does get made now it won't be Pan's Labyrinth 3, return of the same monster.
posted by real_paris at 12:17 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


3D? Ugh. I'm glad it was killed. Fuck 3D.

Holy shit, the Matrix Reloaded was R? Why? I don't remember it being particularly violent.
posted by graventy at 12:17 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


dammit so much. Although, maybe if the chibi cthulhu card game was the source material for the PG-rated movie it might just fly.

But seriously, just let the man do it right on the proviso he cans the 3D crap.
posted by Raunchy 60s Humour at 12:19 AM on March 9, 2011


And yeah, "dead at Universal" does not necessarily imply "dead everywhere."

Although, honestly, there are studios you would perhaps not want having any sort of say in your hard-R Lovecraft adaptation. There are worse fates than project death.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:19 AM on March 9, 2011


Holy shit, the Matrix Reloaded was R? Why? I don't remember it being particularly violent.

It's the rave/ sex sequence that does it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:27 AM on March 9, 2011


It's the rave/ sex sequence that does it.

Wha? That scene was comedy gold!
posted by PenDevil at 12:48 AM on March 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


That does it, I'm sure there's something in the Book of Eibon to handle this kind of crap. It's not like I really needed that POW.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


There must be a typo. Cthulhu requires at least 12 hideous, gibbering dimensions.

plus top billing, a percentage of gross, and a basket of unspeakably fresh fruit delivered to his trailer every day prior to his morning pilates workout.
posted by zippy at 1:01 AM on March 9, 2011 [38 favorites]


Perhaps I don't know how this works, but I'm curious as to how so many other great films are able to made in the Europe, Korea, and other parts of the world without having to resort to being sodomized by the short-sightedness and cowardly machinations of hollywood studio executives.

If anyone could get the done, it's Del toro. Between having to abandon the Hobbit and now this nonsense. the visionary artist is having a bad year ( in corporate america, of all places, who could've known?)

Hope he turns the disppointment into gold somehow.

In the meantime the book is still great, and still there for anyone who wants to read it and render the Elder Things with solely their imaginations.
posted by Hickeystudio at 1:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


3D tentacles could be cool.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:34 AM on March 9, 2011


3D? Ugh. I'm glad it was killed. Fuck 3D.
You know what I'm sick of? Techno-luddites who bitch and moan about 3D. If you don't like advances in technological entertainment, then read a book! 3D is awesome. I'm sure there were lots of people bitching about the cinematic language of black of white film-making when color started gaining steam. And people moaned about talkies too!

2D vs. 3D probably has very little effect on the cost. You need slightly more expensive cameras and for computer-based SFX you don't need anything.

Del Toro should do a 100% CG film like Beowulf. There wasn't any need for exotic locales in that film. It would save money but still allow for all the action they wanted.
posted by delmoi at 1:34 AM on March 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Won't someone think of the children?
posted by Elmore at 1:35 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


2D vs. 3D probably has very little effect on the cost. You need slightly more expensive cameras and for computer-based SFX you don't need anything.

Really? Because as far as I can tell 3D is just an excuse for Sony to sell me a new, super expensive TV. And an excuse to charge an extra 3-4 bucks for a movie ticket. So it affects my costs.

Avatar (despite being plotted-by-numbers) was the most immersive experience I've ever had in a theater. It's just that every other 3D experience I've had has been shit.
posted by graventy at 2:07 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe everyone is taking this at face value. To those who know the truth of this, our wretched existence atop a dusty ball in infinite space, the facts are plain: in attempting to depict in moving pictures the Incident in the Antarctic, del Toro stumbled into secrets that no filmmaker — no man! — was meant to know. He draws back now, hoping thereby to escape the notice of the writhing madness Above.

But it is too late. The film shall be shown. Its individual frames shall pulse in aneulerian courses through the skies above the bone-rough plains of K'Zar. Its director's cut shall muddily illuminate squamous hollows in the pestilential star-skin of a million-eyed beast that lies cursed and dream-dead across the entire floor of the Indian Ocean. Its praises shall be howled and gibbered by degenerate humanoids in that network of tunnels and caves that webs our fragile planet, silent miles beneath our feet, their shrieks confined to the repetition of a single, mad word of all too obvious source: "Spoilers! Spoilers!"
posted by No-sword at 2:32 AM on March 9, 2011 [74 favorites]


delmoi: Del Toro should do a 100% CG film like Beowulf.
Nobody should ever do anything that in any respect resembles that ever again.

I've never seen a 3D movie that wasn't shit, and I'm pretty sure that short of actually filming in Antarctic (not happening), CGI is going to trump any actual location that can be found, so I would be pretty happy if those costs were dropped. I think it's an absurd notion that R-rated special effects-heavy films can't make money, when there's plenty of evidence that they do.

Between this and the Hobbit fiasco, del Toro's not had the best time of it lately.

(On preview: I walked out of Avatar, so I can trump graventy in my 3D-hating credentials.)
posted by nowonmai at 2:33 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


3D? Ugh. I'm glad it was killed. Fuck 3D.

This. The only film I've seen so far in 3D is Tron Legacy, which I enjoyed* DESPITE the fact that after every cut my eyes had to focus on something different (instead of 2D films, where your eyes remain focussed in the same place - the screen), and every time I tried look somewhere on the screen that the director didn't want me to look it hurt my eyes. Both of these things were massively distracting. Fuck 3D, it's a shitty gimmick that ruins films.

(* no really, great visuals and awesome soundtrack)

Complaining about 3D isn't like being a book-reading luddite complaining about the moving pictures, it's like complaining about new "2D" books that play dramatic music through built-in speakers. Oh yeah and you can't turn it off, the books cost double the price, and normal books are not available any more.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:37 AM on March 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


This makes me sad. Part of that is the idea of not seeing del Toro's vision of Mountains on screen. Another part is not seeing a major HPL adaptation on the big screen. I can't say that Tom Cruise and James Cameron make me think "Lovecraftian," but one adaptation done with brio for the masses might actually have helped film people consider his work in another light. There's a lot of wonderful HPL-influenced stuff that's done well (Alien, Carpenter's The Thing, etc.), but it doesn't get pegged as such except within a narrow slice of a narrow slice of the viewership.

Hellboy is currently on Netflix Instant, though, so I think I'll just console myself by watching that and imagining Red as a polyglottal professor of Indigenous Occultism with bad nerves and a congenital dislike of seafood.
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:00 AM on March 9, 2011


Gimmick-o-Vision(tm) aside, I hope he finds a buyer for this thing.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:02 AM on March 9, 2011


There are worse fates than project death.

Like making Tom Cruise the star, for example.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you don't like advances in technological entertainment, then read a book! 3D is awesome.

Maybe we could compromise, and agree to all read popup books.

Actually, on reflection I think I'm ready to elevate that snark to a general principle: the reasons 3d isn't going to take over movies are the same reasons popup books haven't taken over literature. They're expensive to make, hard to watch and their novelty really doesn't help you tell a story any better. To older viewers it's a pointless distraction, and to younger viewers it gets old fast.

Which is all to say, screw 3D. It's gimmicky bullshit designed to keep movie theaters relevant in an age where big-screen TVs are common home items and you can watch them for free without sitting in tacky seats with a smelly crowd of mouth-breathers and sticking to the floor.
posted by mhoye at 3:08 AM on March 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


Thank the Old Ones for that, it sounded like a travesty in the making.
posted by WPW at 3:15 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


3D is interesting. You can do so much with it. I hope it stays around this time. To that end I buy tickets to movies shot in 3D, movies that I may not even be interested in. My Bloody Valentine? Yep, I bought that ticket. Pirahna 3D? Same deal. Resident Evil 5 or whatever that awful thing was? Yup. I'm not the only person who does this. I'm sorry for the people who don't like it the same way I'm sorry for people who vote Republican. Patronizingly.
posted by Peztopiary at 3:20 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


You paid money to see the last Resident Evil movie? It was...

*places understatement hat on head*

...not very good at all.

The difference is that 2D is a drawing of a dog turd whilst 3D is holding a still warm freshly laid canine ablution in your bare hands, inhaling it's heady fragrence.
posted by longbaugh at 3:26 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm just jaded because I think 3D is generally a gimmick, but regardless of your position on that you have to admit it's a HUGE budget item.

This. Non-Euclidian 3D, in particular, is exceptionally costly.
posted by Anything at 3:32 AM on March 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


Wait... Does anyone actually still care what the MP"Don't pirate us, bro"AA rates a movie?

Only theaters actually enforce ratings, and no one goes to those anymore. And as for getting movies from Netflix, I generally try to get the unrated versions whenever possible.

As for affecting the ability of kids to see it...
1) If they planned to make a Lovecraftian adaptation that appeals to kids as a generic "horror" film, they've already lost my interest (and 3d? Dear lord kill it with fire!), and
2) I never cared back when seeing an R-rated movie meant I needed to buy a ticket to "Bambi" then duck into the movie I really wanted to see, so why would kids today care any more than I did?
posted by pla at 3:35 AM on March 9, 2011


I think rkent summed things up pretty well here. The studio is looking at spending a lot of money, not just on the film but probably about the same amount on P and A, they have a duty to their business, their shareholders, their employees, to try and not only make a good movie, but one that makes money. Considering what the expected demographic for this film would be I think they'd be insane (Cthulhu driven insane?) to finance a movie of this size with an R rating.

And, previously on the blue a number of times, if you want to see a good Lovecraft film (shot for a hell of a lot less money) then head over to the HP Lovecraft Histortical Society and bag a copy of Call of Cthulhu, and then get ready for the release this year of the whisper in the dark.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:44 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If a few more "grown-ups" would refuse to watch, rent or buy shitty, childish superhero movies and comic-based cinematic tripe, and would stop wanking themselves into apparently-not-even-ironic raptures over cartoons like "The Incredibles" and "Toy Story 14" then maybe the money-grubbers of Hollywood wouldn't be so inclined to treat us like children, eh? There's a thought.
posted by Decani at 3:44 AM on March 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Isn't this just the kind of thing that people launch doomed-to-failure Facebook campaigns over? I'd certainly Like something along those lines.

And I don't think Pixar has anything to do with the general dumbing down of studio films. In fact, I think they're leading the charge in the opposite direction.
posted by Maaik at 3:55 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I don't remember much of Lovecraft being more than PG-13. He wasn't explicit, in terms of blood and guts and dismemberment - his horror was almost entirely conceptual.

It makes me more than a little nervous about Del Torro's adaptation that he "needs" an R-rating.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm kinda in the camp of may be this is a good thing... del Toro has made a great film, Pan's Labyrinth and several good ones but I'm not sure he really gets Lovecraft. He loves monsters, and whilst Lovecraft it stuffed full with them, it's more about the nameless dread and the tentacles are just gravy. I want an Alien (where you don't even see a monster for the first hour) not an improved AVP. Of course given the way the movie business has gone there's sod all chance of that.

Plus whilst he's not a bad actor in Magnolia and a couple of others no doubt he'd bring an extra insight into wacky cults etc Fuck Cruise... does his name even sell movies now?

Oh and fuck anti-piracy/price gouging failing gimmick 3D. Back in the day at a movie festival I saw Creature From The Black Lagoon in old-skool 3D -- nothing will ever beat that, nothing.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:07 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not a fan of Lovecraft, but I'm pretty sure I would like a del Toro version.
del Toro has made a great film, Pan's Labyrinth and several good ones but I'm not sure he really gets Lovecraft. He loves monsters, and whilst Lovecraft it stuffed full with them, it's more about the nameless dread and the tentacles are just gravy
Eh; sure, he puts great monsters onscreen, and he's quoted as saying he loves monsters, but things like Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone are so far beyond being about the monsters. It's all story and atmosphere; the monsters are great, but ancillary.

In any case, since the issue from the studio's point of view is the cost, hopefully Tom Cruise was demanding a large salary, and it could be saved by getting someone else.
posted by Flunkie at 4:17 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fact, from my point of view, I'm pretty sure that del Toro could actually put the "nameless dread" into a Lovecraft project that people often seem to bizarrely claim is present in a Lovecraft project.
posted by Flunkie at 4:19 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


At first, I was sad to hear this, because this film is pretty much the only film that I've seriously been looking forward to, but Tom Cruise? Gah. I hadn't heard that. That's just insane. Nay, MADNESS.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:20 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If a few more "grown-ups" would refuse to watch, rent or buy shitty, childish superhero movies and comic-based cinematic tripe, and would stop wanking themselves into apparently-not-even-ironic raptures over cartoons like "The Incredibles" and "Toy Story 14"

You're a fool to be spanking Pixar for the infantilisation of Hollywood. But you're a fool anyway, so go with it.
posted by Wolof at 4:28 AM on March 9, 2011 [18 favorites]


Techno-luddites who bitch and moan about 3D. If you don't like advances in technological entertainment, then read a book!

I'm not fucking paying an extra $3 for those glasses when I already have 4 pairs from previous 3D movies. Fuck that, they can use 3D if they want, but they better find some other way to cover the cost.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:46 AM on March 9, 2011


I'm not fucking paying an extra $3 for those glasses when I already have 4 pairs from previous 3D movies. Fuck that, they can use 3D if they want, but they better find some other way to cover the cost.

You should come to the UK. We still get charged, have to give them back after, and don't have the option to avoid the charge by bringing our own.
posted by jaduncan at 5:17 AM on March 9, 2011


Donald Glover:
PG-13 is the handjob of ratings: It's got some good stuff in it, but you always feel like you could have done it better yourself.
posted by octothorpe at 5:18 AM on March 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


the studio needs to ensure a blockbuster audience to recoup its investment.

This guarantee doesn't exist, and Hollywood constantly suffers for seeking it. They always want a star, when there is absolutely no evidence that a star has more than a negligible impact on ticket sales (while causing production costs to go sky high), they want to rehash material that's already sold, despite the fact that any number of the biggest bombs of the past few years have been sequels and remakes, and they want a PG-13 rating, never mind that films do just fine without them (Passion of the Christ, a hard R, made $611 million; Fatal Attraction was the highest grossing film of 1987; Blazing Saddles was the highest grossing film of 174; 1973's biggest grosser was The Exorcist).
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:24 AM on March 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think Sam Raimi would have made a more faithful adaptation and arguably he already has made it unintentionally in The Evil Dead. Horrors-of-that-which-we-dare-not-speak-their-name are rightly rarely seen on camera. There is your protagonist who descends into madness and even a nominal Necronomicon. Although originally intended to be horrific, the cult success of the original Evil Dead was in part because it was so over the top it became comedic. The same could be said about Lovecraft's flowery style, as shown by some of the excellent parodic posts above.
posted by marco_nj at 5:28 AM on March 9, 2011


Perhaps I don't know how this works, but I'm curious as to how so many other great films are able to made in the Europe, Korea, and other parts of the world without having to resort to being sodomized by the short-sightedness and cowardly machinations of hollywood studio executives.

In the early 90's, Korea's film industry was failing. They'd just removed tarriffs on imported films and the local product was doing poorly against Hollywood. When the Prime Minister of Korea learned that the profit from Jurassic Park was equivalent to the sale of 1.5 million Hyundae cars, the Korean government prioritized investment in that country's media industry, providing tax breaks to people investing in film.

Today, Korean films regularly outperform Hollywood films in Korea and the wider Asian market. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong film industry (which previously had ruled Asian markets) has pretty well collapsed during the same period.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:28 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


plus top billing, a percentage of gross, and a basket of unspeakably fresh fruit delivered to his trailer every day prior to his morning pilates workout.

Favorited for the golden phrase "unspeakably fresh fruit".
posted by Think_Long at 5:51 AM on March 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't really see 3D. Half way into the movie my eyes have completely corrected for the illusion of depth. Avatar was not enhanced by ghostly fronds I could see through and for the sort amount of time it works "wham, hit you in the face!" does not enhance the story.

The only 3D film I've seen that I liked was the intro to the space station, and I admit a good part of it was that I was drooling over the cosmonaut, which makes my view biased.
posted by Phalene at 6:02 AM on March 9, 2011


Nothing that a gift certificate for 30,000,000 metafilter registrations couldn't cure.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:04 AM on March 9, 2011


sheesh, kids these days. Used to be an "R" rating was the enticement for kids. (grumble grumble get off my lawn.)
posted by chavenet at 6:11 AM on March 9, 2011


Given how headache-inducing and disorienting 3D can be, maybe a Lovecraftian story would be the only appropriate use for it...
posted by Karmakaze at 6:22 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The Call of Cthulu" on Hulu.

Resume picture.
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:24 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was so excited for what I imagined I was going to see.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:25 AM on March 9, 2011


When the Prime Minister of Korea learned that the profit from Jurassic Park was equivalent to the sale of 1.5 million Hyundae cars, the Korean government prioritized investment in that country's media industry, providing tax breaks to people investing in film.

Jura-Sic Park was the Prime Minister of Korea?
posted by Herodios at 6:27 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, how's home 3D doing these days? Has it died out yet or is there still some life to it? Seems like it was the thing last year but I don't hear much about it anymore or see it promoted in the electronic store's ad circulars. Does anyone reading this thread have a home 3D set-up? Is it awesome?

My favorite expression of one of the problems of home 3D.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:37 AM on March 9, 2011


I'm torn. On the one hand, I love del Toro and want to have a thousand of his young, but on the other hand...I really, really don't like Tom Cruise. And James Cameron? *shudder*

On the other, other hand if anything can make 3D worthwhile, it's a del Toro Lovecraft adaptation. On the other, other, other hand 3D often (literally) makes me sick.

Non-Euclidean, indeed.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:41 AM on March 9, 2011


I remember talk about how they brought the actors who were in 'The Day After Tomorrow' up to Canada to Understand snow. I thought that this seemed like a good idea about a 'snopocalypse' (forgive me) film. Then I saw guy grab the side of a frozen ship with a bare hand. Half the people in the audience all sucked air through their teeth in anticipation of the poor man's suffering, and then he pulled it free with no particular care. I still wince if that movie is brought up.

Filming in Antarctica/Siberia/Arctic/Snowscape would likely just result in injury, to no more additional realism; effective or otherwise.
posted by LD Feral at 6:51 AM on March 9, 2011


I feel badly for del Toro, but it isn't a movie I would have been interested in watching, so it's no big impact on me personally. As an indicator of the juvenalization of the movie industry (and yes, Pixar is a major part of that), though, this is bad news.
posted by Forktine at 6:53 AM on March 9, 2011


>: ""The Call of Cthulu" on Hulu."

In related news, the HPLHS recently announced that their adaptation of The Whisperer in Darkness is completed. I'm looking forward to seeing how well they transition into a talkie film out of silent.

del Toro's film getting the ax is mildly disappointing, but not surprising. I don't really care one way or the other about 3-D since I can't really see it (various eyeball issues), but I can't say I was particularly looking forward to seeing Tom Cruise doing his I'm-running-with-intensity thing even if he was being chased by a shoggoth.
posted by Drastic at 6:53 AM on March 9, 2011


This is (IMO) a poor example of a real problem. Yes, the need to maximize global revenues has homogenized movies in a really bad way - not only the move to make everything PG-13 but also the longstanding move away from ambitious stories and characters to simple, cartoonish, effects-driven movies that don't rely on any real cultural literacy and so play just as well for Russians or Egyptians or Singaporeans as they do for Americans.

But I'd argue that a big budget, 3-D, "hard-R" adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft was never going to be a commercial success anyway unless it was bastardized to the point that only echoes of the original concept remained (like say, I Robot, which was not a horrible movie, but was only an adaptation of Asimov in as much as it did indeed involve robots and made some reference to them having three laws.)

My favorite example of a movie that could have only have been made because the filmmaker and studios were speaking past each other, in entirely different languages, is Soderbergh's Solaris. This is a remake of a Tarkovsky film, based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem. Both are inextricably tied up in the themes and social concerns - and the deep, deep levels of allegory writers behind the iron curtain had to use to mask what they were really talking about - of a long dead Soviet Communist culture whose cinema was deliberately intellectual and ideological. The original was basically the Soviet answer to 2001 - but the things about 2001 that the Soviets admired were its coldly clinical feel and its intellectualism. Because Kubrick sheathed these things in cutting-edge design and effects, Solaris did the same thing, basically to show that the Soviets could do it too.

Now imagine you're Steven Soderbergh, and you're sitting in a room full of Hollywood studio executives, and you're explaining how you want to remake a 30-year-old Soviet socialist realist science fiction movie that they've never heard of. A nearly three-hour film in which very little actually happens, but in which people on a very expensive space station explore themes of what it means to be human, how do we define sentience, the inherent difficulty of communication, and how we react to suffering.

Fuck no. First, none of these guys has ever seen the original or probably even heard of Tarkovsky. They're thinking SF movie with George Clooney. Clooney plays well with guys, as do spaceships and effects. He's got to deal with this alien recreation of his dead wife who he loves, so we've got a big romantic angle. Clooney and romance plays very well with women. So we got both genders, we got dates, maybe even some of the kids if the SF stuff works out well enough. Okay, we can sell this.

You can see how mystified they were by what Soderbergh really made by the marketing for the movie. They realized they couldn't sell it as an SF action movie. They basically gave up on men. But they still had Clooney and romance, so in desperation they tried to sell it as a kind of weird chick flick. The ads used a lot of text, about love being stronger than death, and how far would you go for someone you loved, combined with very close shots of Clooney that basically didn't show you that he was on a space station. If you didn't know what was going on, the marketing had almost nothing to suggest that this was a science fiction movie. (I believe they did do a bit of alternate track ads that were all SF, no romance, but it was obviously hard to sell that movie that way, and they soon gave up.)

Which brings me, at last, back to Mountains of Madness. I'll argue that this was a movie that was never going to have broad appeal. It has a core audience that likes Lovecraft and loves del Toro, but much like, say a Watchmen, it's very narrowly focused on its core fandom and it's unrealistic to expect it to break out to larger audiences. Too dark, no real heroes, no upbeat ending. To make Lovecraft work for Hollywood is to take away the things that make him Lovecraft. They're just different things. So I think it's probably just as well they spiked this before blowing a ton of cash on it.
posted by Naberius at 6:55 AM on March 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


For a campy version of HP and thoroughly entertaining I really recommend Stuart Gordon's 'From Beyond'
posted by judson at 6:56 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please explain to me why del Toro is supposed to be so great? He directed Pan's Labyrinth. Okay. But he also did Hellboy. Twice. I'm still waiting for a formal written apology.

Lovecraft does not need a $100 million budget and CG. It does not need del Toro's eye. He likes to show us the monsters, because he makes really interesting ones (although I think every movie of his has the giant blind forehead monster, so that is getting a little played out).

Lovecraft never showed us the monster. Lovecraft went to great lengths to explain that the monster appearance could not be apprehended. Everything is impossible colors, or colors out of space, or unspeakable. If you can make the color with CGI, it isn't an impossible color. Technically speaking CGI colors are the most understood colors.

Lovecraft doesn't need del Toro. It needs David Lynch.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:10 AM on March 9, 2011 [15 favorites]


You know, there is a way to do these kinds of things at seriously reduced budgets. One just needs a little artistic imagination.
posted by philip-random at 7:13 AM on March 9, 2011


And yeah, "dead at Universal" does not necessarily imply "dead everywhere."

That is not dead which can aeternal lie,
And through strange release cycles even death may get picked up by Lions Gate.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:14 AM on March 9, 2011 [18 favorites]


Stuart Gordon's "Reanimator," for all its excesses, is arguably the closest film has come to getting Lovecraft right onscreen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:19 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Although i should add that John Carpenter's The Thing comes closest of all, although it isn't based on a Lovecraft story.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:20 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Call of Cthulhu on Hulhu
posted by zippy at 7:20 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm relieved. I'd rather no film than Tom Cruise as William Dyer.
posted by clarknova at 7:21 AM on March 9, 2011


sheesh, kids these days. Used to be an "R" rating was the enticement for kids. (grumble grumble get off my lawn.)

It still is. The problem is parents, not children.
posted by clarknova at 7:25 AM on March 9, 2011


300 was a successful (Yes, yes, I know, success is subjective) movie that was rated R, had no stars, cost <$100M, and made almost half a billion dollars. Not sure why Tom Cruise or 3D are particularly necessary.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:30 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yese have ruined my day!
posted by Mister_A at 7:34 AM on March 9, 2011


Yese have ruined my day!

Now look what you've done, Hollywood - you made Jar Jar cry.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone start a Kickstarter project. Come on nerds, we can do this.
posted by empath at 7:43 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel: In At the Mountains of Madness Lovecraft not only showed us the monster, he provided a technical description of it.

Objects are eight feet long all over. Six-foot, five-ridged barrel torso three and five-tenths feet central diameter, one foot end diameters. Dark gray, flexible, and infinitely tough. Seven-foot membranous wings of same color, found folded, spread out of furrows between ridges. Wing framework tubular or glandular, of lighter gray, with orifices at wing tips. Spread wings have serrated edge. Around equator, one at central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges are five systems of light gray flexible arms or tentacles found tightly folded to torso but expansible to maximum length of over three feet. Like arms of primitive crinoid. Single stalks three inches diameter branch after six inches into five substalks, each of which branches after eight inches into small, tapering tentacles or tendrils, giving each stalk a total of twenty-five tentacles.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


The dudes at the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast did a pretty awesome reading of Haunter of the Dark, if you need a Lovecraft fix.
posted by electroboy at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone start a Kickstarter project. Come on nerds, we can do this.

I'm serious, there has to be 150 nerdy tech moguls in california with a million dollars to invest and itching to have an executive producer credit. Can we talk someone like Wozniak into coming up with the cash? Or maybe we can go halves-ies with Jim Cameron, since he's probably got a billion dollars floating around.

Why are we depending on a studio to finance this in this day and age?
posted by empath at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also think the disappointing numbers for films such as Scott Pilgrim and Kick Ass have made the suits doubtful about whether the enthusiasm of genre nerds on the Internet and at Comic-Con translates into actual box office money come release time.

Plus, to the Studios, Del Toro also has that fan-boy whiff about him, and they've seen directors of that sort fail recently as well.
posted by Trochanter at 8:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why can't Lovecraft be done without gore and nudity? Lovecraft certainly didn't rely on it. All we really need is terror, madness, and allusions to things unspeakable. Maybe working under tighter constraints would be good for the project. After a string of gratuitously stupid Lovecraft movies, it'd be nice to see one that didn't spend the entire time with cheap scare gags and bad visual effects.

No amount of gore and nudity has saved a Lovecraft project before. (Although some of them do have their own weird charm.)
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the reason:

The Wolfman (2010)
Distributed by Universal Pictures
"Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore."
Budget: $150 million
Gross revenue: $139,789,765
posted by Iridic at 8:13 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, but that movie tanked because it was stupid and bad, not because it was an r rated horror movie.
posted by empath at 8:16 AM on March 9, 2011


Ordinarily, I loathe, 3d, but just thinking about 3D shuggoths and impossible architecture gives me goosebumps.
posted by empath at 8:18 AM on March 9, 2011


Half the people in the audience all sucked air through their teeth in anticipation of the poor man's suffering, and then he pulled it free with no particular care. I still wince if that movie is brought up.

Wait, that's the main moment of unreality in that movie? Far more laughworthy, I thought, was the cold that's stalking the characters like freaking Jason Voorhees.

I'm serious, there has to be 150 nerdy tech moguls in california with a million dollars to invest and itching to have an executive producer credit. Can we talk someone like Wozniak into coming up with the cash? Or maybe we can go halves-ies with Jim Cameron, since he's probably got a billion dollars floating around.

Oh god, that just brings to mind the most recent debacle in Firefly fandom, the whole Help Nathan Buy Firefly bullshit.* If Lovecraft fans want to try that, you go for it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

(*Hint: when you start badmouthing Joss and Nathan and Maurissa Tancharoen for daring to not jump up and down at yet another hypothetical never-going-to-happen revival, you've lost the plot. You took an off-hand jokey comment Nathan made in an interview about an overhyped rerun way way too seriously.)
posted by kmz at 8:19 AM on March 9, 2011


impossible architecture

I take the opposite approach.
I'm sick of directors trying to show us the indescribable, the impossible and the unimaginable. For some reason they can never pull it off.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:19 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't see why any Lovecraft movie needs to be "R" rated in the first place- it's like saying a Jane Austin movie needs an "R" rating. Really, unless Del Toro planed to have a sudden appearance by some Japanese schoolgirls and naughty tentacles, a PG-13 rating is fine.
posted by happyroach at 8:22 AM on March 9, 2011


I probably wouldn't go see it if it weren't in 3D.
posted by schyler523 at 8:27 AM on March 9, 2011


This is the reason:

The Wolfman (2010)
Distributed by Universal Pictures


You've got the wrong Del Toro. That was Benicio not Guillermo.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:29 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's the script, btw.
posted by empath at 8:30 AM on March 9, 2011


Its individual frames shall pulse in aneulerian courses through the skies above the bone-rough plains of K'Zar.

Actually if you're looking for movies you should be using BitTorrent
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:34 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


fuck! I was so excited for this film. stupid rating people. argh!
posted by supermedusa at 8:35 AM on March 9, 2011


I don't like PG-13 in a movie where violence or sex is the draw (it ends up too suggestive for kids, too tame for adults); but I'd rather see ATMOM in PG-13 than not at all. Sex and language shouldn't be an issue, so the judicious selection of violence remains.

e.g. Humans can be:
[x] stalked
[x] engulfed
[x] dissolved? Judgment call
[_] dismembered: possibly off camera
[_] eaten alive
[_] punctured
[x] driven insane
[x] transitioned to whole-number dimension (4, 5, ...)
[_] transitioned to fractal dimension
[x] slapped
posted by kurumi at 8:38 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Marebito was the best Lovecraft-inspired thing I've ever seen and it was like $12 to produce. The reason it was good is that the director is a good storyteller. That's why I'm bummed to see this go - Del Toro is an excellent storyteller and craftsman, and would have produced a delightfully dark and atmospheric movie, IMO.

Also, that's Oscar winner The Wolfman to you, pal!
posted by Mister_A at 8:42 AM on March 9, 2011


The del Toro on the marquee doesn't matter; the quality of the film doesn't matter. The only thing that can be demonstrated on a spreadsheet is that Universal spent a great deal on an R-rated horror movie and lost money. It will be some time before the studio backs another horse from that stable, no matter how glossy the mane.
posted by Iridic at 8:49 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only theaters actually enforce ratings, and no one goes to those anymore.

I am curious as to how Avatar came by that billion dollars, then.

PROTIP: The world exists of more kinds of people that whomever else happens to be in your dorm room while you write your insightful comment.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:54 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


These Universal executives will be eaten last.
posted by homunculus at 8:56 AM on March 9, 2011




I don't see why any Lovecraft movie needs to be "R" rated in the first place

You can get an R rating strictly for tone, and he said he wanted it to be profoundly uncomfortable.

I'm sick of directors trying to show us the indescribable, the impossible and the unimaginable. For some reason they can never pull it off.

Did you see Call of Cthulhu? I thought that movie was rather overrated, but it actually did impossible architecture very well on no budget at all.

Joking or not, I think zippy and karmakaze are right. This is exactly why Madness should be 3D--it's a perfect use of it. It's terrible in the original stories when someone encounters these geometries that don't even make sense to their eyes! And isn't that what so many 3D-haters here are saying about 3D movies? They could have done partial 3D (like Tron). That's way cheaper and it could be exploited artistically.

Also I've read that these new digital Red Epic 3D camera rigs are much cheaper than 3D film cameras. Hobbit was always going Red Epic and Del Toro was attached, so I assume he doesn't hate them. Red Epic + partial 3D only = budget appropriately constrained?

I will also uncharacteristically stand up for the casting of Tom Cruise. He is kind of boring, but that makes a great contrast with the terror of the unknown, doesn't it? I thought he was fine in War of the Worlds, and the studio could have milked that similarity in the marketing and pulled in plenty of people who don't give a damn about shapeless ancient gods.
posted by heatvision at 9:01 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Techno-luddites who bitch and moan about 3D. If you don't like advances in technological entertainment, then read a book!

I think it's the "advance" part that is at issue here. It doesn't help to tell a story any better, and thanks to the artificiality of wearing the glasses (especially for someone like me who is already wearing glasses) does nothing for immersion.

3D is as gimmicky now as it was in the 1950s, and it's being pushed by the movie industry for the same reason as 50-60 years ago when family televisions were eating away at going to the movies. Now it's the ubiquity of high def "home theater" setups that are threatening Hollywood -- that and the ever-growing monster that is video games.

You're right in one respect -- reading a book gives the best 3D entertainment presentation ever, and since I can pick up a book anytime I want, there's an extra time dimension factor as well for a 4D experience no latter-day Smell-o-Vision Multiplex with buzzers under the seats can replicate.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:11 AM on March 9, 2011


Man, I didn't realize metafilter had such a hate-on for 3d. Personally, I've never had a problem with it, assuming it isn't the cardboard-cutout 2d to 3d conversion bullshit. It can be interesting if it's used right, and I think that del Toro probably would have done exactly that.

That said, as a child I loved my R-zone and Virtual Boy, so I might just be immune to headaches.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:21 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't mourn, organize.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:23 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also think the disappointing numbers for films such as Scott Pilgrim and Kick Ass have made the suits doubtful about whether the enthusiasm of genre nerds on the Internet and at Comic-Con translates into actual box office money come release time.

That goes (at least) back to Snakes on a Plane, a movie that for all practical purposes was greenlit by the Internet. It was a disappointment. Also, Grindhouse, which I loved but have to admit tanked hard.

I don't think it's doubt at this point, but accepted fact that the Internet crowd has its own tastes and will blow themselves up like pufferfish over something that stimulates them, making interest in a project look a lot bigger than it really is. So it's fine to have those people hyped up, but it's very risky to believe the hype yourself and think there's mass demand for a project when there's really just a few people being really loud on the net.
posted by Naberius at 9:27 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Last year, Universal got the crap kicked out of it for making "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," and I wouldn't trade that film for anything. They believed in the film. Harry may hate the way they sold it, but I've rarely seen a studio work harder on anything. They pushed and pushed and pushed on that one, and the audience just didn't come out..."

"The ugly truth is that the industry is chasing a fanboy audience that perhaps they need to stop chasing... There is a fine line between serving an audience and shamelessly pandering to them, and when the studios decide to go whole-hog and pander without hesitation, and the result is box-office failure after box-office failure, the message seems clear: chasing the fanboys isn't working. They are unreliable, they are ungrateful, and they aren't turning out for the "sure things" that have been greenlit specifically for them."
posted by weston at 9:28 AM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


That goes (at least) back to Snakes on a Plane, a movie that for all practical purposes was greenlit by the Internet. It was a disappointment.

This isn't really accurate. It was mostly in the can before the internet picked up on it, and it made piles of money.
posted by empath at 9:29 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what, I love going to movies. I do. I love seeing what trailers they're gonna show, I love sneaking a huge bag of candy into the theater and just the whole general experience. I really enjoy it. The problem here is that I do not love going to the theater to see terrible movies and most of what is out there is terrible. 3D doesn't really change that.

But! A couple years ago I saw a 3D double feature of The Creature from the Black Lagoon and It Came from Outer Space, and I have to say that 3D added something to the former (not so much the latter). Especially in the underwater scenes where there was just this amazing cube of light emanating from the screen. Good times. I suppose my point is that 3D isn't going to make me want to see a bad movie any more, or a good movie any less. It's like any other technology which shows up in entertainment: It can be used well, or it can be used poorly, and once it becomes cheap enough it will be used for no particular reason.

Personally I'm kind of glad the movie isn't getting made. I can't see any outcome other than it losing a lot a money - a core of incredibly devoted Internet enthusiasts getting the word out would maybe have recouped one day of the movie's craft services budget. It may be unpleasant to think about but the majority of the moviegoing public has no particular idea who HP Lovecraft is or why they should care about one of his stories being made into a movie. I'm pretty sure it would turn out like Grindhouse: a wonderful love letter to a very small group of people to which the rest of the world does not know how to react - except Grindhouse only had a budget of 53 million.

So I'm glad it didn't get made, because it would have been a financial disaster (and because the movie as a concept doesn't really interest me, but that's neither here nor there) and the blame for that would have fallen squarely (and unfairly) on del Toro, by the people in charge. And I'd rather see him do something which has a chance to succeed, so he can keep making more things.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:30 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Count me in with the folk who think that this is one of the few properties where the 3D could have actually added something really unique to the movie instead of just being there because it's the current Hollywood fad.

If you have everything in fully realistic 3D, then have the depth on some of the rendered monsters/alien architecture be ever so slightly off compared to what you would expect to see it might provide a non-specific sense of "wrongness" that would fit in great with this kind of horror movie. Think a line that in 2D projection would seem to curve towards the screen, but curves away on the 3D z-axis and stuff like that.
posted by Cironian at 9:38 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Won't someone think of the children?
> posted by Elmore at 4:35 AM on March 9 [1 favorite +] [!]

I'm sure the Shoggoths are. Mmmmmm, children.
posted by jfuller at 9:43 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


A lot of people in the thread have been talking about 3D increasing the movies production cost, but due to increased profit from higher ticket prices, I'm pretty sure this cost is essentially negative for just about every movie coming out in 3D. Ditching the 3D would have likely made the movie harder to greenlight, not easier.

I look forward to a hopeful future where anyone can invest in a film's production budget in some sort of online market. The internet could produce a hundred passion projects a year from wonderful directors.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:46 AM on March 9, 2011


I'm sure there were lots of people bitching about the cinematic language of black of white film-making when color started gaining steam. And people moaned about talkies too!

In a parallel dimension quite similar to our own, 1959-delmoi is currently fervently defending Smell-O-Vision.
posted by Shepherd at 9:51 AM on March 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Man, I didn't realize metafilter had such a hate-on for 3d. Personally, I've never had a problem with it, assuming it isn't the cardboard-cutout 2d to 3d conversion bullshit.

I've seen one or two movies that used it well, but the vast majority seem to be a part of that 2d to 3d conversion that made Clash of the Titans such a brutal, unpleasant experience. My other irritation comes from watching these films on DVD with my non-3d TV later, and there is all this pointless stuff moving-into-the-foreground that seems really out of place.

I liked Avatar because the 3d didn't seem pointless, unfortunately almost everything that has followed it can't say the same.
posted by quin at 10:00 AM on March 9, 2011


FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKYOOUHollyWOOD!!!!
posted by New England Cultist at 10:02 AM on March 9, 2011


Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

And yet also: Boo to you, Universal! You are made of jerk.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:08 AM on March 9, 2011


"Techno-luddites who bitch and moan about 3D."

How does not liking a failed 60 year old technology make one a luddite?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:08 AM on March 9, 2011


Tom Cruise as the protagonist in a Lovecraft film would be damn scary though.
posted by ersatz at 10:10 AM on March 9, 2011


New England Cultist broke metafilter.

Eponysterical.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:11 AM on March 9, 2011


Curiously, the 3D was the only aspect to Avatar that wasn't pointless.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tom Cruise as the protagonist in a Lovecraft film would be damn scary though.

Scientologists do love making movies about Aliens.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on March 9, 2011


Actually, for the most part, I hate going to movies. They're noisy; there's always an asshole next to me, talking or texting; someone too big is always sitting in front of me and the seat's uncomfortable anyway. The drinks are too big, too sweet, too expensive. The popcorn is stale. The commercials are too long and I don't watch them at home, so I resent having to pay money to see them at theatres. The trailers give away too much about the other movies and usually aren't relevant to my interests. It takes a fucking lot to get me out of my house and into the movie theatre. It certainly takes something that isn't a sequel, a remake, a retread or a star vehicle (you know, those movies where the person acting in it is a bigger selling point than the plot). It really helps if it's not aimed at someone who is stoned or who is 19-horny-and-male, hoping to ogle tits or navel. 3-D entices me to stay home--particularly because it's only at the tourist-trap, teen-mecca Imax theatre which is inconvenient to my house and surrounded by shitty restaurants and no good bars.

Basically, dumbed-down to save the PG-13 rating is not what gets me out of my house and into the movie theatre. Oddly enough, Cronos, Mimic, Devil's Backbone, Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth all got me to pony up the price of a ticket and sit my ass in a noisy, uncomfortable, annoying-as-hell movie theatre. Obviously, none of those are among the things that got me into a movie theatre last year and since I go to fewer than three movies a year, my opinion doesn't count for a lot. So clearly, my opinions are not universal truths about movies. They're probably not even relevant ones. I just felt like shaking my puny fists about it.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:24 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I bet you could make some legitimate tradeoffs in terms of special effects razzle-dazzle and still put out a respectably dark film that even Lovecraft fans would dig. If you were so inclined.

The geniuses behind the Call of Cthulhlu silent film mentioned upthread managed it, and on a shoestring budget at that.
posted by Gelatin at 11:23 AM on March 9, 2011


I liked Avatar because the 3d didn't seem pointless, unfortunately almost everything that has followed it can't say the same.

I would point you to the 3D versions of Coraline, Piranha, and Drive Angry. Albeit for different reasons in each.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


We saw Coraline in 2D (I was unaware it was a 3D movie) and it was excellent in 2D. I remained unaware that it was supposed to be in 3D until several hours later when my date mentioned that he had only wanted to bother going through the horrible movie theatre experience to see the 3D, but that he'd really enjoyed the movie.

I find watching 3D uncomfortable (see the thing above about the IMAX theatre being everything annoying about movie theatres made that much worse) from the glasses to the difficulty finding a focal point to the headaches, but I can imagine that parts of Coraline were probably quite striking in 3D. My (again, largely useless) point is that Coraline was just a good movie, which was a completely immersive wonderful storytelling experience in 2D. The 3D, which I'll grant may well have been excellent, was thoroughly unnecessary to making Coraline a completely satisfying movie. What made it worth hauling my sorry ass to the unpleasant movie theatre experience was completely unrelated to 3D. 3D was superfluous to the experience.

I think that's where the hate for 3D comes (at least it's how I could see my indifference to 3D becoming a hate for 3D). 3D remains an intrusive process, if only because we have to wear those cheap plastic glasses, which sit uncomfortably on our faces (for those of us who never wear glasses and aren't used to it) or awkwardly over our glasses (for those of us who do). But there's even more awkwardness and intrusiveness to the 3D experience, where the 3D often supplants the storytelling. There's additional awkwardness and intrusiveness in the 3D experience where it assumes that the "next level of effects" is what everyone wants out of movies.

Really, most of the movies which I have gone to see in movie theatres and enjoyed--even the Pan's Labyrinths, Coralines, Hosts, and Matrixes--didn't need more effects or fancier effects. The reasons I didn't go see last year's blockbusters or tour de force performance movies or cute indie flix had fuck-all to do with a failure to dazzle me with technology. That's why I could not actually care less about whether 3D gets better and dread it becoming ubiquitous.

But, see above, where I'm pretty sure the opinions of a 40-year-old white woman who mostly finds the movie theatre experience over-rated are superfluous to the movie industry. I wish technology, better CGI and cheaper digital equipment, and all that crap resulted in more movies I wanted to see. Then I might bother to buy tickets to see more of them in theatres.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:03 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


A Lovecraft movie thread and nobody mentions how great Dagon is when they're exploring the fishy-people town?
posted by Brainy at 12:33 PM on March 9, 2011


(angrily) Fuck Dagon!
(enthusiastically) Yes! Fuck Dagon!
...remains one of my favorite bits of dialog from any horror movie.
posted by Drastic at 12:53 PM on March 9, 2011


From the above linked interview with the director, it does sound like he really gets it and is motivated to make it happen on his own terms:

[DEL TORO] I’ve been offered four or five times at different studios the chance to make this movie in what I think was the wrong way. With $20 million or $30 million less than what I need, with a contractual PG-13, and I don’t want to do it that way.

DEADLINE: Why is that such a deal breaker for you?

DEL TORO: Ultimately, I think the MPAA could rule the movie PG-13 because the movie and the book are not gory. If that is the outcome, fine. But I don’t want to put the PG-13 on paper, for one reason. We created Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, thinking we would be safe looking for PG-13 because we had no profanity, no sex, no gore, but we made a very intense movie in a very classical mold. And the MPAA gave it an R. They said the movie was too intense for a PG-13. The only think I know about Mountains is, I do not want it to be bloody, I do not want it to be crass, but I want it to be as intense as possible. And those discussions were had in the open. Everyone knew this was my position, that I knew I was asking the chance for the movie to be what it needs to be. I don’t think it’s a good idea to relinquish that on paper.

posted by kaspen at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I mean I never thought I'd hear the day when legally enforced ratings for privately produced art would be applied on the basis of "Too Intense!".
posted by kaspen at 1:05 PM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


omg, double rainbowINTENSITYALERT```--///////!!!TOO MUCH INTENSITY DETECTED, V-CHIP ENGAGING, ALL PRESENT HUMANS PRESENT IDCARDS!!!###***
posted by kaspen at 1:08 PM on March 9, 2011


From the New Yorker: Creating dozens of morphing creatures would be expensive

This sounds dumb. The Elder Things didn't morph, and for morphing there was only one (or maybe two?) Shoggoths actually in the story... and they basically look like bubbly amoebas with lots of eyes. Just not that exciting.

I think The Shadow Out of Time is a much more "cinematic" story. You've got period costumes (if you decide to set it in the 1910s), many more different locations and travel than just to the Antarctic (New England, Australia, all the locations of the abductees), much more varied cast of characters (in the present and abducted into the past), and lots of cool species including the Yith and Lovecraft's wickedest monsters, the Flying Polyps. And the FPs really do morph and do lots of interesting visual tricks.
posted by meehawl at 1:11 PM on March 9, 2011


I mean I never thought I'd hear the day when legally enforced ratings for privately produced art would be applied on the basis of "Too Intense!".

My favorite is Brazil, which I'm fairly certain is rated R for cynicism.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:28 PM on March 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Del Toro dosen't get Lovecraft? Have you seen Hellboy?
That eye! The tentacles engulfing the Earth from the cold blackness of space!
And 3D is fun. My friend runs a cult film night and old 3D monster movies are a hoot. Pirhana 3D was fun too
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:32 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


(angrily) Fuck Dagon!
(enthusiastically) Yes! Fuck Dagon!

...remains one of my favorite bits of dialog from any horror movie.


...and then I go back to the Neonomicon place. Nooooo...
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on March 9, 2011


I mean I never thought I'd hear the day when legally enforced ratings for privately produced art would be applied on the basis of "Too Intense!".

AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS

FROM THE DIRECTOR OF HELLBOY AND PAN'S LABYRINTH
Released 04/04/2013, Rated R

CONTAINS MILD VIOLENCE, ONE USE OF LANGUAGE, AND NON-EUCLIDIAN GEOMETRY LIKELY TO CAUSE INSANITY.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:34 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a moment in Dagon when the hero hops into a car and pulls out its wires to hotwire it. He presses the wires together and the car horn goes off, alerting the fish thing to his presence.

I'm pretty sure that's how hotwiring would go for most of us if we attempted it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:35 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, wow, that script empath linked really strayed from the Lovecraft canon.

I feel like a $150M budget is a bit modest. That was like a period remake of The Thing with lots of other weird creatures, architecture, and destruction, and all on a huge scale. Epic? Yes. Faithful? Not really. Excellent escalation of tension in the beginning, but also not so Lovecrafty.

Wonder if they toned down the tentacles in later rewrites. That was a whole lot of tentacles.
posted by heatvision at 1:57 PM on March 9, 2011


If anyone could do justice to H. P. Lovecraft in movie form, Del Toro is The Man for The Job.

Hollywood will continue to produce utter drek, anyone trying to do anything remotely interesting will be slapped down with extreme prejudice.

And, the saddest bit, people will continue to like it.
posted by feoh at 2:13 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


In some ways Paranormal Activity was the best Lovecraftian film I've ever seen. The threat is invisible, unknowable and alien. Its unseen form is terrible and inhuman, but the whole time it is gradually coming through from another reality into this world, more and more able to influence the inside of the house to get what it wants.

If not for the cheap, infuriating screamer ending, it would have been a great film. If the director had stuck to his rules and had the monster make its human meatpuppet crush the lens of the camera with a glazed-over smile and screeching static (or something), it would have transcended its no-budget flaws.

2 years later, I'm still angry about the ending.
posted by Decimask at 2:27 PM on March 9, 2011


I just read that script empath linked to. Wow, Universal made smart move here. del Toro's movei is basically a the second half of the Thing combined with the first half of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which would be fine if those movies weren't pushing 30 years old. He does not capture the loneliness and isolation of the original story at all.

And he claims it isn't gory? The script I read had people and animals being ripped in half, sprouting arms and tentacles and bodies, and then autopsying a human.

And then I read this pile of horseshit which seeks to assign blame for the rash of comic book retreads and other safe bets on "the audience not coming out." But that phrase "the audience didn't come out" is not use in that article to mean The audience didn't like the film, it is used as an attack on the audience's lack of predictability, and their laziness.

They didn't show up for Scott Pilgrim because Scott Pilgrim was a bad movie. It was fun, it looked cool, but it was also about a shitty dweeb who is selfish, narcissistic, juvenile, goes on a quest, learns nothing, and at the end still gets the girl. That defines a bad movie.

Make a good film, and people will show up. But that means not making comic book movies and video games movies, because by and large those things are lousy stories in their original formats. The exception is The Dark Knight. But that's not really an exception, because it was directed by Christopher Nolan, who I am convinced could adapt a cookie recipe for the screen and it would be revolutionary.

Comic book movies are bad movies because they are based on comic books almost all of which are bad. 14 year olds don't care about Spiderman, and they won't care about Green Lantern, because a guy dressed up in a costume to fight bad guys in a costume is moronic and they know this.

Seriously, pick up and DC or Marvel comic and flip through it. Count how many panels show someone gritting their teeth. I picked up a copy of something called Brightest Day and it was easily 40%. A bunch of bodybuilders in fancy dress baring their teeth at each other. RRRR! Who the fuck wants to read that? And the covers of all these comics look like 80's heavy metal album covers- skulls and snakes and lasers and bullshit.

Batman issue #700 sold 100,000 copies. Penny Arcade has 915,000 US visitors a month. And yet we still think of Batman as the mainstream and Penny Arcade as the fringe or the underground. It's the other way around. The odds that a random 20yr old has read P/A is higher than the odds that 20yr old read any of the last 4 issues of Batman.

You know what a safe bet is? Penny Arcade the Movie.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:28 PM on March 9, 2011


They didn't show up for Scott Pilgrim because Scott Pilgrim was a bad movie. It was fun, it looked cool, but it was also about a shitty dweeb who is selfish, narcissistic, juvenile, goes on a quest, learns nothing, and at the end still gets the girl. That defines a bad movie.

Wait so what are you saying? The protagonist has to be likable, or the ending has to conform to simplistic moral structures?

The odds that a random 20yr old has read P/A is higher than the odds that 20yr old read any of the last 4 issues of Batman.

But how many 20-yr olds have heard of or have an opinion on either one? Batman is far more involved in our cultural fabric. Family Guy can make Batman references and everyone will get them. Plenty of people have never heard of Penny Arcade.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:37 PM on March 9, 2011


They didn't show up for Scott Pilgrim because Scott Pilgrim was a bad movie. It was fun, it looked cool, but it was also about a shitty dweeb who is selfish, narcissistic, juvenile, goes on a quest, learns nothing, and at the end still gets the girl. That defines a bad movie.

He learned self-respect. He learned that he was a dweeb. And it was also the only film I've seen that's accurately about me, my friends, and the world we live in.

Comic book movies are bad movies because they are based on comic books almost all of which are bad. 14 year olds don't care about Spiderman, and they won't care about Green Lantern, because a guy dressed up in a costume to fight bad guys in a costume is moronic and they know this.

I cared a whole lot about Spider-Man when I was a kid.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:38 PM on March 9, 2011


You know what a safe bet is? Penny Arcade the Movie.

Two assholes joking about video games for two hours? It might make a good Adult Swim show, but that's as far as it goes.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:39 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The odds that a random 20yr old has read P/A is higher than the odds that 20yr old read any of the last 4 issues of Batman.

This is the worst example.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:42 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If a few more "grown-ups" would refuse to watch, rent or buy shitty, childish superhero movies and comic-based cinematic tripe, and would stop wanking themselves into apparently-not-even-ironic raptures over cartoons like "The Incredibles" and "Toy Story 14" then maybe the money-grubbers of Hollywood wouldn't be so inclined to treat us like children, eh? There's a thought.

Ahh, bite my shiny metal ass.
posted by Scoo at 2:47 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


For crying out loud, pitch this to HBO, it's where all the grown up pictures are these days anyways.
posted by Scoo at 2:48 PM on March 9, 2011


They didn't show up for Scott Pilgrim because Scott Pilgrim was a bad movie. It was fun, it looked cool, but it was also about a shitty dweeb who is selfish, narcissistic, juvenile, goes on a quest, learns nothing, and at the end still gets the girl. That defines a bad movie.

Yeah, no. He's like that way for much of the movie, but then he learns plenty and levels up because of it, with boopy special effects and coins and KAPOW-type text on the screen to announce what he's learnt and how he's grown.

Final boss battle: Scott earned the power of LOVE, realizes he cheated on both Knives and Ramona, realizes he should fight for himself, not Ramona (I feel like I learned something), apologizes to Kim, Scott earned the power of SELF RESPECT, apologizes to Knives and Ramona for cheating on them (Gideon: are we done with the hugging and learning?).

Ramona and Knives both grow, and it's implied that the band members grow as well.
posted by zippy at 3:22 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forgot to say, if you do buy the HPLHS version of call of Cthulhu (and you really should) make sure to watch the 'making of...' extras. It's amazing, especially how they did the sea and the traffic in Boston.

Give those guys the money.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:22 PM on March 9, 2011


First, none of these guys has ever seen the original or probably even heard of Tarkovsky. They're thinking SF movie with George Clooney.

I dunno. I'm kind of partial to the Hollywood of The Player, where even the security guards and messengers are steeped in filmic history and tropes, but all are compromised and corrupted by the money and the process.

(And frankly, your analysis sounds a lot like Griffin Mill patter to me! Don't take it personally.)
posted by dhartung at 3:24 PM on March 9, 2011


... and if anyone really knows why Scott Pilgrim was such a bomb I suggest they apply to run Universal. I'm not a huge Edgar Wright fan, or a Cera fan, or even a comic book fan, but on paper I would have bankrolled that picture.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:26 PM on March 9, 2011


Penny Arcade the Movie

Please let it be:

WERNER HERZOG'S PENNY ARCADE
posted by zippy at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lovecraft never showed us the monster.

That's just not true, Pastabagel. Grimgrin pointed out just one example from Mountains of Madness, but there are others; it's probably the story with the most explicitly detailed descriptions of Lovecraftian monsters, but it's not the only one. Sure, he loved to pull back and hint at vast unutterable horror (especially when talking about the Great Old Ones Or Whatever) but he also liked to move in close and deliver gruesome specifics on all sorts of shambling abominations.
posted by mediareport at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mountains of Madness is monster-description-tastic.

Also for full fidelity to Lovecrafts vision most of the story should be Ken Burns style shots of bas-reliefs.
posted by Artw at 3:37 PM on March 9, 2011


Actually on second thought it's probably not fair to consider the Old Ones as the monsters. The little monster is the Shoggoth (that is also described) and the big monster is, as usual, an ancient, vast, cold and indifferent universe ruled by a blind idiot god, where all the works of even the mightiest beings must inevitably collapse into dust and ruin under the sheer uncaring weight of the ages.

Which actually makes me somewhat skeptical of even Del Toro's ability to adapt it.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:18 PM on March 9, 2011


RATED "R" FOR IMPLIED COSMIC HORROR
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


... and if anyone really knows why Scott Pilgrim was such a bomb I suggest they apply to run Universal. I'm not a huge Edgar Wright fan, or a Cera fan, or even a comic book fan, but on paper I would have bankrolled that picture.

Hate to say it as a Canadian, a huge Arrested Development fan, and great appreciator of Super Bad, but the elephant in the Scott Pilgrim room was Michael Cera. I totally dug most of what was going on in the movie, but at some point, I just got tired of Cera being Cera. It wasn't even a bad performance. It was just him, the uniquely geeky persona he can't help but present. Maybe you can only ingest so much of it in your lifetime, and then it suddenly gets toxic, because that's certainly how it felt for me, maybe halfway through Scott Pilgrim. I just looked forward to him NOT being on screen, which didn't happen much.

Personally, I hope the guy matures a bit, and finds a way to stay in the acting game (maybe playing villains) because I think he's a hell of an actor in smaller doses. But I suspect his leading man days are seriously numbered. Because he's gotten too old to play cute, which thus far is only leaving us with ... weird?
posted by philip-random at 4:54 PM on March 9, 2011


Ian Culbard on adapting Mountains of Madness as a comic - Really rather interesting in terms of the changes he's had to made in order to pull off what sounds like a pretty straight adaptation.
posted by Artw at 5:00 PM on March 9, 2011


Unfortunately for everyone, I have things I have to do tonight that I'm totally stalling on.

And then I read this pile of horseshit which seeks to assign blame for the rash of comic book retreads and other safe bets on "the audience not coming out." But that phrase "the audience didn't come out" is not use in that article to mean The audience didn't like the film, it is used as an attack on the audience's lack of predictability, and their laziness.

It's frustrating when things we haven't seen before get no love, and then some shitpile that everyone knows is bad -- a Transformers 2, let's say -- makes a fucking billion dollars. But this isn't a line of thinking I ever like to follow very far. It implies that your movie's entitled to an audience. It's not. Is it disappointing? Sure. But it's not unfair. If people would rather eat McDonald's than a real meal, that's their right. Doesn't mean we should pretend what they're eating isn't shit. But it's just not nice to call someone a shit-eater. You call out the chef, not the guy he's cooking for.

They didn't show up for Scott Pilgrim because Scott Pilgrim was a bad movie. It was fun, it looked cool, but it was also about a shitty dweeb who is selfish, narcissistic, juvenile, goes on a quest, learns nothing, and at the end still gets the girl. That defines a bad movie.

I think this is actually the worst assessment of this film I've ever heard -- I don't mean "most negative" here, but rather "most wildly off-base and like you didn't even see it" -- but that's not worth mentioning. Though I just mentioned it, because fuck. The point is, though, that had all these people gone to see it and concluded it was a bad movie, your point would make sense; but since the issue under consideration is that no one saw it (in the theater), "bad movie" is a pretty dopey explanation for its failure. In fact, most critics who saw it seemed to like it a great deal, and if there was a flurry of Friday night "OMG IT iZ THE SUX0R" text messages from people who actually did go see it, effectively killing the film in its tracks, I have heard nothing to that effect. Not saying it didn't happen, but generally critical and audience aggregates show it getting high marks. I'm sorry you didn't like it personally, but I think few people who saw the film feel about it the way you do. So...why didn't they go? A complicated question, to be sure. I just know your answer isn't the right one.

Make a good film, and people will show up. But that means not making comic book movies and video games movies, because by and large those things are lousy stories in their original formats. The exception is The Dark Knight. But that's not really an exception, because it was directed by Christopher Nolan, who I am convinced could adapt a cookie recipe for the screen and it would be revolutionary.

I think Nolan's a pretty workmanlike director, actually. His work is steeped in tradition. He's a very solid filmmaker, but revolutionary? How? In what way?

To your first point, there are a lot of comic books and video games. Saying these things are "by and large lousy stories" is sort of like saying, "Books, you know, they're pretty much bullshit."

Comic book movies are bad movies because they are based on comic books almost all of which are bad. 14 year olds don't care about Spiderman, and they won't care about Green Lantern, because a guy dressed up in a costume to fight bad guys in a costume is moronic and they know this.

Fourteen-year-olds absolutely care about Spider-Man and Green Lantern. They just don't care about Spider-Man and Green Lantern comic books. I'm not sure who these awesomely jaded children of the apocalypse are you're talking about, but kids are still huge consumers of all crap Star Wars, superhero, and anime...just not so much in comic book form. Guys dressed up in costumes to fight bad guys in costumes were designed for fourteen-year-olds; a fourteen-year-old is their ideal audience.

Seriously, pick up and DC or Marvel comic and flip through it. Count how many panels show someone gritting their teeth. I picked up a copy of something called Brightest Day and it was easily 40%. A bunch of bodybuilders in fancy dress baring their teeth at each other. RRRR! Who the fuck wants to read that? And the covers of all these comics look like 80's heavy metal album covers- skulls and snakes and lasers and bullshit.

Modern mainstream superhero comics are not really the basis for these films, though. The films, like the modern comics themselves, are usually reworkings of stories told decades ago. The approach of superhero comics in those days was very different, for the most part. I'm not ascribing a value judgment either way -- I'm just saying modern Marvel and DC superhero comics are less adapted than they are themselves adaptations of earlier work. That earlier work is mostly what's getting adapted for films.

Batman issue #700 sold 100,000 copies. Penny Arcade has 915,000 US visitors a month. And yet we still think of Batman as the mainstream and Penny Arcade as the fringe or the underground. It's the other way around. The odds that a random 20yr old has read P/A is higher than the odds that 20yr old read any of the last 4 issues of Batman.

You know what a safe bet is? Penny Arcade the Movie.


They made that movie. It was called Clerks. It's about due for a remake, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:14 PM on March 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


They made that movie. It was called Clerks.

My god... it so totally was.
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a HUGE Del Toro fan (and, ya know, a big fan of my namesake), but honestly I'd rather see Kerry Conran or Robert Rodriguez make Mountains of Madness in a greenscreen studio for $50 million (or even the HPLHS for $50 thousand) than a $150 million 3D-stravaganza filmed on location in Antarctica.
posted by luvcraft at 5:20 PM on March 9, 2011


The studios want a family-friendly Cthulhu Mythos movie? What the hell are they thinking?

They probably read "Lovecraft" and assumed it was a romantic comedy.
posted by mek at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2011


You know, Del Toro isn't exactly a stranger to working within tight budgets. If he thinks something needs $150m to do it justice I'm inclined to trust him that it does indeed need that much.
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


They probably read "Lovecraft" and assumed it was a romantic comedy.

has this been done yet? I've seen stoner movie Lovecraft but I'm not sure about romantic Lovecraft. Hmmmm.....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:41 PM on March 9, 2011


From everything I've read, del Toro was only planning to shoot for a couple of weeks in Antarctica, get some scenery, landscapes, that sort of thing. The bulk of filming was to take place in British Columbia, which is neither dangerous nor expensive (indeed, the tax breaks were inciting). So the oft-repeated idea (in this thread anyways) that the location was an impediment to the project getting approved is a canard, as far as I can see.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:56 PM on March 9, 2011


(angrily) Fuck Dagon!
(enthusiastically) Yes! Fuck Dagon!

...remains one of my favorite bits of dialog from any horror movie.


And now it is one of mine. I must see this.

has this been done yet? I've seen stoner movie Lovecraft but I'm not sure about romantic Lovecraft. Hmmmm.....

"The Thing on the Doorstep" is the best you could do. (And, in theory, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," but leave aside.) There was a video-shot film of that, I understand, set in modern days, in the past few years. I've become a big Lovecraft fangirl lately, but I frankly believe that his most skin-crawling abomination of a creature was Asenath Waite.

I have not paid to see a Tom Cruise movie in some time, on principle -- the principle of his being a creepy, woman-abusing cultist -- but I would have paid cash on the barrelhead to see Tom Cruise devoured by a shoggoth. Nonetheless, as big of a fangirl as I am, I can't fault the business judgment here, and I hope Del Toro finds a way somehow.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:59 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel writes "Batman issue #700 sold 100,000 copies. Penny Arcade has 915,000 US visitors a month. And yet we still think of Batman as the mainstream and Penny Arcade as the fringe or the underground. It's the other way around. The odds that a random 20yr old has read P/A is higher than the odds that 20yr old read any of the last 4 issues of Batman.

"You know what a safe bet is? Penny Arcade the Movie."


That's an unfair comparison. Reading a Penny Arcade strip takes what, 20 seconds? And you can do it for free. One has to make the effort to acquire a comic book and actually lay out cash to do so. Considering comic books aren't sold in Wal-Mart it's amazing a Batman, even the 700th issue, generates those kinds of sales.
posted by Mitheral at 7:52 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just got around to reading the screenplay I posted earlier.

I don't think I like it very much, to be honest. It seems so rushed, and it plays like an action movie, not a horror movie, and the climax is kind of incomprehensible.

I hope later drafts improved on it a lot.
posted by empath at 9:51 PM on March 9, 2011


I don't know if I care what Del Toro wrote. His strength as a director doesn't seem to be dialogue so much as creating a set of visuals or ambiance and emotional tone. Frankly I think he could take a terrible script and make a great movie better than he could a well written one that bogged him down in detail a muddied his vision.

I wonder if Kickstart.com could handle 150 million dollars worth of project pledges?
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:01 AM on March 10, 2011


and muddled rather... speaking of horrible writers.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:02 AM on March 10, 2011


I think the script going around the internet may actually be over a decade old now...
posted by Artw at 12:03 AM on March 10, 2011


Actually a proper Lovecraft film wouldn't have a rating, just what die you roll for SAN Loss.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:58 AM on March 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Films Universal Studios Will be making Instead of At the Mountains of Madness:
Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Ouija.
posted by zamboni at 1:18 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I'd get all steamed up and say I have no intention of watching those after this, but really had no intention of seeing them anyway.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]




World War Z is dead too.

Stretch fucking Armstrong is all we deserve, aparently.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on March 23, 2011


What you are moaning about... there's still gonna be Battleship! That's gonna be awesome with, big ships and stuff.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:56 PM on March 23, 2011


Mars Needs Moms just tanked with all hands on deck with a budget of $150m, taking the of the prospect of an abominable Yellow Submarine remake with it.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I swear the trailer for Sucker Punch should have a voice over that says "there is also a plot of some kind" per the SNL parody trailer of Basic Instinct 2.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on March 23, 2011


Heard a rumour that Sucker Punch tested so badly they've gone back to the editing room to try and carve a plot into it
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:04 PM on March 23, 2011


It's out this week.

Nobody has seen a review copy, of course.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on March 23, 2011


That makes me sad, but I kind of expected that it was going to be too much to ask for it to be visually awesome and cleverly plotted as well.

Still, I fully expect that it will be one of the most fun things that make no sense that I'll see in the near future, in a bright-flashy-lights-make-me-smile kind of way.
posted by quin at 3:15 PM on March 23, 2011




Heh. And that's io9 - there's been no bigger cheerleader for it than them.

(Thank you for linking to the ca version of the site)
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on March 25, 2011


Nested fantasies is the new nested dreams.
posted by Trochanter at 1:35 PM on March 25, 2011




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