Danforth: Tekeli-li, Tekeli-li, Etc.

Dread and Awful Czar,

Cthulhu lives!

Guillermo DelToro begins filming At The Mountains of Madness in July, in 3D.

Perhaps he can borrow some of the 4D film tech that Mandy’s working on so as to give the Shoggoth the ability to devour members of the audience. That would leave the crowds in an insanely gibbering state.

Until then, Dr. J’s attached a link to the best Cthulhu to grace the iridium screen (Dr. J. rolls with the OLED baby).


Dr. J

Well, the Czar is not sure how view this story, which indeed he has known about for some time. Because Del Toro has been making At The Mountains of Madness for like fifteen years or something. He is not a guy who is known for (a) punctuality or (b) delivering completed projects.

One’s view of Del Toro is based on whether you know his source material. For example, the Czar and family enjoyed the Hellboy pictures; fans of the comic hated it. Fans of the Blade series despised his treatment of Blade II. Why? Del Toro hates the source material: he uses only what he has to, and then splatters the material with his own fanciful creatures.

He is the kind of guy who would remake Holiday Inn to look like the Mos Eisley cantina scene. Indeed, rumored whispers abound, that he was dumped unceremoniously from The Hobbit because he kept adding new characters in, causing such tremendous delays in production that nothing was actually being filmed. For months.

The worst part is that his ideas are pretty freaking good. The guy makes some great monsters, and if you can get him to show up for work two days in a row (it can take him several hours to finish a six-foot sub sandwich and about as much time to digest; thank goodness for his disarticulating lower jaw), he comes up with some particularly memorable scenes.

So back to this movie. The Czar read At The Mountains Of Madness, and has his battered paperback copy only about eight feet back, but dimly recalls the plotline: it inspired the John Campbell, Jr., story Who Goes There?, which in turn inspired no less than (as of this October) three The Thing movies and a host of science fiction television prestidigitation: explorers in the Antarctic (or Arctic) uncover something unexpected and indescribable frozen in the ice. Curiosity leads to further exploration, and boy they wish they hadn’t as they unlease shapeshifting horrors that picks them off. Lovecraft did it first, and if you like gigantic penguins, did it best.

Volgi certainly knows the story better than the Czar, having inspired many of Lovecraft’s stories over the years. But one fears that del Toro is going to read the first few pages of the original text, chuck the paperback over a pizza-stained shoulder, and say “Okay, ees not escary enough, okay? Less poot een de fang-tooth robot cockroaches. And make a green cloud of gas dat boils a guy’s face off, okay?”

Word also has it that he spent a lot of time getting the Old Ones exactly right, and his Cthulhu is evidently really impressive. But the real murmurs say that his shoggoths will be awesome; possibly more than Lovecraft himself envisioned (not that he envisioned anything; the Volgi introduced us to him once, and found that HP deliberately used incompatible descriptions of his creatures to make them impossible to visualize; he never really had any idea what a lot of them were supposed to be like, except to confuse the reader. He was a bit of a jerk in person, too.). We will give del Toro this much: when the written account describes the shoggoths as constantly changing shape to accomplish certain tasks, he’s the guy who will spend months worrying about what such a creature would actually look like.

So while the Czar thinks the HPL purists will fling crap at this film, a person totally unfamiliar with Lovecraft will see the movie and think, “Damn. Thems are some of the coolest monsters ever.”

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.