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Del Toro talks Mouth of Madness and Witches

GuillermodelToro.jpgGuillermo del Toro has the most amazing imagination, it's stunning what he can bring to the screen and the way he can do it. This man is one of the best film talents in his field, and he's growing with each film he produces. Now he's talking about two possible projects, a remaking of Roald Dahl's The Witches and a film version of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mouth of Madness.

From UK IGN he explains that At Mouth of Madness is a project he would love to tackle, but it is one that suffers from every angle. It's a very tough project to bring to the screen, and he explains why...

"The hard thing about that novel is it's very much a record of an expedition, so the narrative is brilliant in that it's a little bit dry but it's not character-based," he says. "There are many characters that you don't know — you don't even know who the hell the expedition is [made up of] until you have it referenced in another book of Lovecraft's...

...You need to create the character dynamics and the arc of the story, which is not in the book...Also, the horror in the book is only ambiguous and it's kept open at the end. And you can still capture that atmosphere, but then you have to take it and go to a climax... Which in the book is really a climax by almost using negative space in the narrative; it's what you don't see that makes it. That essentially goes against the very essence of show business, because you don't show anything."

Over at SciFi Wire he talks about how much he loves the Dahl story of the Witches and how he really loves the Nicholas Roeg version.

"...but I really, really disliked that the ending was changed, because I think the essence of the Dahl story is that...[is a story that's this old still a spoiler? Removed anyway!]"

He talks about the great subversive imagery from Dahl and his wonderful Tales of the Unexpected, something I loved when I was younger. However his ending comment is somewhat confusing - is this rewrite of Witches complete?

"...much like H.H. Munro, Dahl has a very definitely sophisticated point of view on what the children's world is. That script is written. It's budgeted and awaiting a green light"

Is that in reference to Witches? The thoughts on Lovecraft sounds superb and it does seem like he's got his head around the entire concept and how to bring it to the big screen. Are either of these projects exciting you as much as they are me?



It's "At The Mountains of Madness". Mouth of Madness was a John Carpenter film that knocked off Lovecraft and had the cheek to refuse him a credit at the end.

Del Toro seems to know what he's talking about when it comes to this story. Lovecraft is one of those authors whose stories you can't really do on film, at least not at conventional feature length (my favourite Lovecraft movie is actually the amateur production of "Call of Cthulhu", faithful rendition of the story that runs 47 minutes) because only about three of them are anywhere near conventional novel length. The rest are all short to medium-length tales that don't really lend themselves to film adaptation (for reasons that are only partly to do with their length). I'm not a big Del Toro fan, but at least he seems to have pondered the nature of the story and how to make it, and at least it looks like it won't be a cheap exploiter like most of the other Lovecraft features out there.

Well done, that's how it's written both times in the article. At the Mouth of Madness, and once in italics.

If you're referring to the title it also doesn't have "Guillermo" in it, just to clarify it is he and not Benecio!

I have seen the Carpenter film, and I thought it was a pretty wild journey, although not Lovecraft by a mile.

I've just turned round and seen the very book on my bookcase, time to dust it off methinks.


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