George Goner The Haunted Cabaret
H.P. Lovecraft has dodged a Hollywood bullet. His short novel At The Mountains of Madness, a crowning literary accomplishment of his career, will not be made into a movie. During his lifetime, Lovecraft got so upset at the treatment his story received in one of the leading science-fiction magazines of the day (the cutting, the sloppy editing), one can only believe that being dead and buried these three-quarters of a century would not prevent him from rising up with righteous rage at the CGI-drenched, poorly-acted mess that would doubtless have been the result of studio tampering with one of his finest works.
Lovecraft fans have the film Prometheus to thank for the cancellation of the Mountains of Madness project. Producers considered the storylines too similar to produce both. I disagree, but see no reason to feel disappointment at this turn of events. What were the odds of a major film studio accomplishing what has never been done before-- the effective adaptation of a major Lovecraft story? The record so far is not pretty: The Colour Out of Space produced as Die, Monster, Die. The Shadow Over Innsmouth processed into Dagon, and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward ending up as the Haunted Palace (Not a bad film on its own merits, just a poor adaptation of Lovecraft. Vincent Price as Joseph Curwin and Lon Chaney as Simon Orne are excellent!) The movie most faithful to the story it's adapted from is Re-animator, based on one of HPL's most insignificant tales. Does this tell us anything?
Herbert West-Reanimator is one of the few Lovecraft stories to emphasize excessive gore and violence. Movie makers are much more comfortable with this material than they are with atmosphere and subtlety. In the right hands, Prometheus itself could have been a thoughtful, scary film. Instead, it ended up as a silly Alien prequel!
Given a huge budget, and the ability to hire directors of my choice, dead or alive (prepare the essential salts!), I endorse the following:
Alfred Hitchcock to direct The Thing on the Doorstep
Stanley Kubrick to direct The Shadow Out of Time
Howard Hawks to direct At The Mountains of Madness
If there's any cash left in the bank after all that, I think I'll hire myself to take a shot at filming The Haunter of The Dark. Why not? I can't do much worse than Die, Monster, Die !
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