The new Netflix series from director Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities is a horror anthology that will adapt the work of HP Lovecraft, and the series may reignite interest in one of the director’s biggest unrealized projects, a Tom Cruise-directed adaptation of To the mountains of madness. More than ten years ago, visionary Guillermo del Toro director and superstar action hero Tom Cruise have joined forces to begin pre-production on To the mountains of madness. An ambitious adaptation of the classic story of the same name by HP Lovecraft, To the mountains of madness became one of Tom Cruise’s best unmade horror films.
However, the presence of the title “The Dreams in the Witch House” in the list of episodes of the new del Toro horror anthology Cabinet of Curiosities proves that the Netflix series will see the director finally adapt Lovecraft. While del Toro’s adaptation of To the mountains of madness has been in Development Hell for over a decade now, the positive reception from Cabinet of Curiosities could potentially reignite interest in the lost horror adventure film. Not only that, but the smaller scale of the horror anthology series might also convince del Toro to make To the mountains of madness a less massively ambitious undertaking, something that would make the supposedly unfilmable adaptation much more accessible.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Defeated HP Lovecraft Horror Movie
In 2011, To the mountains of madness reportedly saw del Toro edit an adaptation of Lovecraft’s seminal cosmic horror story. Whereas the original horror movies excellent at the box office in 2022, ten years ago, they were a riskier proposition for producers. Most financiers balked at the whopping $150 million price tag that del Toro To the mountains of madness came up with, and it wasn’t entirely unreasonable for them to do so. Although it is a formative text in the history of cosmic horror, Lovecraft’s story is very rare in terms of incidents, mainly following two Antarctic explorers while they slowly discover a lost and abandoned city filled with inscriptions that have huge history-altering implications.
Similarly, Lovecraft’s story “Dreams in the Witch’s House” also relies on suggestion more than representation, which means that its adaptation in Cabinet of Curiosities could be a perfect trial run for a bigger Lovecraft movie of Guillermo del Toro director. Everything from the work of Stephen King to stranger thingsat rick and mortyThe Cthulhu cameos have conspired to make Lovecraft’s previously obscure lore more recognizable to viewers in 2022, which means Cabinet of Curiosities will adapt the author’s work to a time when his myth is no longer as unknown as it once was. This could be useful for To the mountains of madnesssince the esoteric nature of Lovecraft’s writing was part of what made the project unappealing in 2011.
Why del Toro’s At The Mountains of Madness hasn’t happened yet
The main reason why To the mountains of madness ever reunited is that the del Toro movie would have been a $150 million R-rated horror film adapted from one of the most famous non-filmable authors. Every time the creators got close, someone balked. When Guillermo del Toro director had the project almost ready to shoot in 2012, $150 million was deemed too expensive for an R-rated film. Top Gun: MaverickThe box office success proved that Tom Cruise could potentially lead del Toro’s movie to success and dead Pool and Logan broke R-rated box office records, Cruise’s The Mummy remake proved that even an A-list star couldn’t pull off a horror blockbuster.
Why At The Mountains of Madness Could Work in 2022
During an interview on The Kingcast podcastToro admitted in December 2021 that he now wanted to do a smaller, weirder adaptation of To the mountains of madness. The positive critical reaction to Cabinet of Curiosities could make this plan perfect, since the Netflix project proves that the director can make Lovecraft’s work accessible to the general public. a smaller one horror movie adaptation could also pull off a shocking twist that would have alienated audiences in 2011 due to its need for an inherently smaller budget.
Del Toro’s Lovecraft Movie Could Revive a Tom Cruise Twist
For a long time, Cruise has been attached to the most expensive version of To the mountains of madness. Now that Top Gun: Maverick completely revived Cruise’s star power, this shocking twist is still available for del Toro’s film. Initially, the main character of Lovecraft’s story is the adventurer Professor Lake, who fearlessly ventures into the titular mountains with a small expedition early in the story and discovers the frozen bodies of monstrous alien beings. However, he is then killed by these beings out of nowhere and the narrator becomes the real leader of To the mountains of madness.
Since Tom Cruise characters rarely die, making Cruise the conventional heroic lake could lead the Guillermo del Toro horror movie to shock audiences who assume his character is the main protagonist of To the mountains of madness. Not only that, but since del Toro doesn’t want to do the original $150 million version of To the mountains of madness which he launched in 2011, the film could keep its budget a bit lower by only requiring Cruise for a third of the story. It would be the best of both worlds, allowing del Toro to make the most of Cruise’s star power, surprise audiences, and translate the dark shock factor of Lovecraft’s work to the screen.
Cabinet of Curiosities Proves Del Toro’s Lovecraft Movie Would Work
While that may not be enough to revive del Toro’s adaptation, the Cabinet of Curiosities the episode “Dreams in the Witch House” provided the kind of intimate, small-scale take on the author’s work that the director thought might work To the mountains of madness. Judging from his sources, “Dreams in the Witch’s Housecould have turned into an overdone, CGI-awash mess. However, director Catherine Hardwicke cut the episode down and made a tale that was sparse, tragic, and actually scary (aside from some sensitive vines). Relying on just a handful of actors and a few locations, “Dreams in the Witch House” involved a whole unseen universe of chilling Lovecraft lore beneath the surface of the simple story. Cabinet of Curiosities the effective episode was the same quality that could save a more modest and faithful film adaptation of To the mountains of madness.
Why Mountains of Madness (Forever) Might Not Happen
Tom Cruise is a busy man, and even Top Gun 3 cannot happen (a guaranteed success) without a say. A relatively modest and risky project like that of Guillermo del Toro horror movie adaptation of To the mountains of madness might struggle to secure the actor’s services, and Cruise might reasonably be put off by the idea of his character being killed off early in the proceedings. Not only that, but critical acclaim Cabinet of Curiosities may not translate to streaming success, which means del Toro’s horror anthology series could end up proving there isn’t a major untapped market for an adaptation of Lovecraft’s work in 2022. However, if Cabinet of Curiosities sells as well with viewers as the horror anthology show did with critics, there’s no reason why To the mountains of madness must languish in Development Hell for much longer.