Director Guillermo Del Toro has a vision. It is a vision of a doomed expedition to the Antarctic, one filled with horror and death and hopelessness in the face of cosmic forces that no mortal could ever hope to understand, much less overcome. In 2006 this project was pitched as a multi-million dollar R-rated tentpole horror film, a thing almost unheard of in Hollywood these days, unfortunately Warner Bros passed on the project. Then in 2011, Universal stepped in. James Cameron offered to produce the film and help convert it to 3D, and Tom Cruise was set to star. Add a summer release and it seemed all but guaranteed that GdT could kick start a new golden age of big budget horror. It might have, but the project was nixed at the last minute when Universal got cold feet. The reason? That sort of tentpole could not, would not be profitable. No way. No how.
That was then, though, and this is now. There is hope, hope that this movie can be made after all. Especially since Prometheus (the film that GdT thought would steal his Lovecraftian thunder) failed to address the themes of the film he had proposed. Where is the proof, you might ask? Well this summer a horror movie, aimed at adults, released. Ostentatiously it was a reboot of a beloved series, one whose theme music never fails to raise goosebumps, but what was Jurassic World really? It was a horror movie, a vicious bit of filmmaking that thrilled and terrified audiences. What’s that you say? Jurassic World was not a horror film? Watch it again. It had everything a decent to good horror movie should have, including a scene where a poor assistant is pulled and plucked apart by pterodactyls prior to being swallowed by a giant underwater monster. Yes, Jurassic World is a tentpole horror film, one that to date has grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. So what does that tell us? It tells us that the world is more than ready for a film like At the Mountains of Madness. Audiences want and are ready to spend their money on a big budget R-rated horror film, one packed with action and death and destruction. One filled with cosmic horror and an admittedly bleak ending.
My hope is that Jurassic World could kickstart AtMoM into existence, and from there we could have summer after summer of big budget, high concept horror films. The more we the fans support such ideas the more we can get. It started with Jurassic World, it will continue with Crimson Peak (if that movie has legs, and it should, it could almost guarantee AtMoM’s existence) but really it comes down to us fans. We need to show up. We need to do what we did for Jurassic World. We need to put our money where our mouths are. It’s the only way that we will get truly original and interesting big budget horror films to become regular events, not a rarity in the Hollywood landscape.