Guillermo del Toro's Latest Monsters will be Unlike Anything Seen Before
Published: September 22, 2010 - 8:40am
Guillermo del Toro took part in The New York Times' "TimesTalks" series last night to discuss this week's release of he and Chuck Hogan's second vampire novel in the Strain series, The Fall. The conversation turned to his latest project: the film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.
One of the most daunting tasks for the film will be bringing the novella's creatures to life. A task he has been preparing for over the last twenty years. The filmmaker is completely enamored with Lovecraft's work and is equally enthusiastic about staying true to the author's vision. He cautioned about being too slavish to material though and quipped "I always say, jokingly, that adapting somebody else's work is like marrying a widow. You have to be respectful of the memory of the late husband but at some point [slaps hand suggestively]." Here are some of the more memorable things del Toro touched on.
"We've been designing for the last 3-weeks. It's being produced by James Cameron, who's been a friend for 20-years," del Toro said, "we have avoided working together until the time came for the right project. Obviously, the difference between the novella and the movie is that Lovecraft had a gift for making everything specifically ambiguous. He would say 'the leering face loaded with madness,’ or 'the evil perverse entity of unnamable'… everything was unnamable, indescribable. When you're reading you go,'Whoa!' your brain fills those spaces. For every creature, everyone has a secret mental image of what those creatures look like. It's going to be impossible to please everyone."
"I've been thinking of those monsters for twenty years. Fortunately for me no one has done monsters like the ones I'm doing. In all the movies ever made there's never been monsters like the ones we're doing. About two weeks ago we were visited by Dennis Muren. He looked at the designs, and he turned to us and said, 'No one has seen monsters like this ever.' I was like, [boyish grin] 'Yeah!' I was happy and vindicated and all that."
Dennis Muren, a six time Oscar winner for special effects, has worked with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and George Lucas bringing their visions to the big screen. He has been consulting with del Toro on the film. It seems del Toro is making sure these latest creations will get their full justice on being displayed in the movie as he talked about the differences of seen versus unseen horror.
"It's not only because I want it to be unique, it's because the way I have imagined the creatures for years is my own. I think monsters have to be powerful, fascinating, and you have to be fascinated in the most strict sense of the word. You cannot avert your eyes from them. There's a school of thought that says the unseen is more powerful, and I agree to a point. Then there is another type of horror movie that is a monster movie, in which the fascination of seeing the monster, and seeing the monster do its deed, is very powerful. Most people watch National Geographic secretly waiting to watch the lion attack the gazelle. [laughs] Ultimately, I think there is a part of monster lore that requires the payoff."