Horror maestro Guillero del Toro may have finally found a way way to make his long-planned passion project At the Mountains of Madness, based on the short story by pioneering writer H.P. Lovecraft. Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, the ever-busy Del Toro — whose series The Strain (based on his own vampire novel of the same name) premieres Sunday, July 13th on FX — says that besides doing post-production on his next film Crimson Tide and developing his recently announced sequel to Pacific Rim he’s considering the possibility of making a PG-13 At the Mountains of Madness at his current filmmaking home Legendary Pictures, which produced his two most recent features.
Del Toro tells the Journal that “there’s a really strong possibility we can do it [At the Mountains of Madness] at Legendary because now they are at Universal, and Universal, you may remember, almost greenlit the movie.” Of his willingness to accept a PG-13 for his adaptation, the director explains that with the MPAA assigning PG-13 ratings to films of increasingly adult content in recent years, “I think I could do it PG-13 now, so I’m going to explore it with [Legendary], to be as horrifying as I can, but to not be quite as graphic. There’s basically one or two scenes in the book that people don’t remember that are pretty graphic. Namely, for example, the human autopsy that the aliens do, which is a very shocking moment. But I think I can find ways of doing it.”
I’m by no means in favor of censorship, but sometimes challenges like this have a way of forcing filmmakers to dig deeper into their toolboxes and come up with even more creative means of telling stories. The PG-13 rated Cloverfield and Drag Me to Hell, for example, were two of the most effective studio horror films I’ve seen in the last decade. So I’m optimistic that a guy as talented as Del Toro can figure something out.
But how about you? Do you think PG-13 is the kiss of death, or can the Big G still do Lovecraft justice?