Too Spoopy

Too Spoopy


Why Can’t Anyone Do a Decent Lovecraft Adaptation?

With the recent news that Tom Cruise may be starring in Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, based upon the legendary Lovecraft novella, and news about the script popping up online, I find myself once again dreading another Lovecraft adaptation. If you had talked to me five years ago, I would have told you it was the one film I was most excited for, in the universe. Talk to me now, and perhaps its just that nothing can live up to what I built this movie up to be in my head, but all my high hopes for the film have been dashed. It might be James Mcavoy, who I’m ok with. However, Tom Cruise is so crazy, that I know I won’t be able to enjoy an ATMOM with him in it, no matter how great the visuals are.
I heard that the script has Cthulhu just arbitrarily showing up, and that the city under the aformentioned Mountains of Madness has been completely wiped from the script. Likewise, the whole explanation of humanities standing in the cosmos has apparently been cut, in what I can only assume to be an attempt to make the film less philosophical and nihilistic, so that a wider audience can sit and watch it without feeling bummed out.
If you read either of the short stories or the poem I’ve posted, you can probably guess that Lovecraft is a big influence on my writing (I know real original, right?). I try not to name names, but to rather emulate Lovecraft’s grand scale and concept that there are things that if seen by human eyes, will render the viewer mad. Obviously, I also try to make my stories my own. I don’t want to ever get to the point, where I’m relying on Lovecraft’s gods, to make the story powerful, instead of my own powers with words. Admittedly, its tough to come up with new creatures, because I can’t think of a type of abstract monster that can’t in some way be traced back to at least one Lovecraft tale. Also, there are enough authors that rely solely on Lovecraft’s gods already, for nearly everything they write. I may have some homages to the man’s work in the future , but ideally I will be trying to have everything I write be mostly me. Off topic, I know, but it just occured to me, so there ya go.
You ask me, the power of the story was that we finally got to find out how humans ranked in the cosmos, among Lovecraft’s set of gods. Also, perhaps my favorite literary setting of all time is that underground city, found beneath the mountains. It is so epic, and cutting that out seems like a needless thing. Why not just cut out the shoggoths? And while we’re at it, lets cut out the whole part about the elder things as well. Lets just change them to zombies! Oooh, or lets change them to vampires, because that hasn’t been done enough yet!
The only thing I’m looking forward to about this film is the monster design. However, I could just browse through the internet for Lovecraft monsters, or I could go play Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, again, preferably without the damn part where I saved it, and then the game froze at the exact spot it would reload to. Without the important theme of humanities minute standing in the universe, where is the power behind the beasties? It makes them no different then any other cliche, movie monster. Also, I know Cthulhu is a god, and can propably transport himself wherever he wants on Earth at will, but last time I checked he was asleep in R’lyeh, not dead but dreaming. So, why would he randomly wake up to scare some little tiny humans in Antartica? That’s like if I woke up, and decided to drive to Colorado, into a specific set of wilderness, to take out three specific ants. Its completely, and utterly, preposterous.
Why is it so hard for Hollywood to make a decent Lovecraft adaptation? My take on it, is its because all of these producers and film makers want to show the fantasic creatures and settings of Lovecraft, without the themes of humanity being low on the totem pole, and so woefully unprepared for other beings in the universe, that the sight of them will drive us mad. They don’t want to screw up their profits by making people have to think too hard, essentially.
Maybe someday I can watch a decent Lovecraft adaptation, that isn’t put out by the Lovecraft historical society with a super low budget, so that the monsters look all silly. Still, at least they keep their films in the correct time period, and at least they try to convey the themes previously discussed. Lovecraft must be rolling in his damn grave.

One Response to Why Can’t Anyone Do a Decent Lovecraft Adaptation?

  1. If this turns out to be true about the Mountains of Madness script, not to mention Tom Cruise, that’ll be very depressing. You’re right about the studio mentality, what the material calls for is someone who understands the power of suggestion, like Robert Wise: he was a hell of a commercial director but just as much a story teller.

    I think he truly understood the material of The Haunting and did fine by Shirley Jackson’s book. In his intro to the 20th anniversary edition of “Carrion Comfort”, Dan Simmons talks about the dumbing down and commercialization of horror in the editing business. Same thing.

    Cool site, by the way.

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