Stuart Gordon finds a "Thing on the Doorstep"

Esplatter recycles some information gleaned from Fangoria: Stuart Gordon  is planning to film H. P. Lovecraft’s classic tale, “A Thing on the Doorstep,” which will be produced by Amicus, the company that financed his recent art-house release STUCK.

Gordon told Fangoria that he hopes to begin filming in the fall. “It follows the short story pretty closely, and what’s great about it is that, as far as I know, it’s the only Lovecraft tale that has a strong female character. Normally we have to invent one, but for the first time, we didn’t have to do that. We’re also working with Amicus again, because we had so much fun the first time around.”

Lovecraft’s story (which, running 27 pages and divided into seven chapters, might best be termed a novelette) takes the form of a first-person confession by a narrator named Dan Upton, who has just killed his best friend Edward Pickman Derby by putting six bullets in his brain. Dan’s justification is that he did not kill Edward but an evil intelligence that had possessed Edward’s body. Edward had been married to Asenath, who apparently had the power to transfer her consciousness from one body to another (the twist is that Asenath is not really Asenath; her body has previously been snatched by her evil father Ephraim, the story’s true culprit). Continue reading “Stuart Gordon finds a "Thing on the Doorstep"”

Del Toro's Lovecraftian Madness

MTV’s Movie Blog has a brief interview with writer-director Guillermo Del Toro, in which he expresses his enthusiasm for a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s novel At the Mountains of Madness:

“I remember when I was a kid out of the studios came the big event horror movies, ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Alien,’ ‘Jaws,’ ‘The Shining,’” del Toro recalled. “It is my hope that this movie will be a tentpole movie [of that sort]. It has the scope of a Shackleton epic exploration movie but it’s full of tentacled things.”

Madness is one of the few novels Lovecraft ever wrote, and it is one of his best tales. Written later in his brief career, when he was moving away from horror toward science-fiction, it tells of an expedition to the Arctic that uncovers evidence of a lost civilization of aliens. Some of the aliens thaw out and slaughter members of the expedition, but there is a twist regarding the creatures that predates later STAR TREK episodes like DEVIL IN THE DARK. The novel also provides a sort of history of the alien invasion, depicted in hieroglyphics inside an ancient building, that clearly influenced some ideas in Dan O’Bannon’s screenplay for ALIEN (which were omitted from the final film).
Del Toro says the novel is perfect for a film adaptation, because it leaves room for the screenplay to develop drama and characterization:

“It’s not hard to be faithful to Lovecraft because what is great about the novel is that it’s a compilation of really dry scientific annotations that happen to be annotating something really scary. There is no character or dramatic thread,” he insisted. “You take those document and you then create a story. If you were [just rigidly faithful] you would be doing a National Geographic special on a crew that disappeared in an exploration mission.
“I’m happy with [my script],” he continued. “I know some people would like a happier ending but I’m happy with the ending there is.”