The inter-dimensional terror gets slightly longer and more snow-filled this week with the 12-chapter novella At The Mountains of Madness.
I had been aware of “Call of Cthulhu” for some time but it was At the Mountains of Madness that started off all of this nonsense. I wanted to buy a book on iBooks just to check it out and buying the whole H.P. Lovecraft collection for just one extra dollar than buying this novella on this own made too much sense.
Basically, some dudes from Miskatonic U head off to Antarctica and find some weird starfish alien corpses. More investigation into the caves reveals the history of a hyper-intelligent race of “Elder Things” that once lived there. These guys were cool and opposed Cthulhu but unfortunately the weird, replicating and squishy Shoggoth beasts they created to do menial labor ended up like destroying everything. Then a Shoggoth shows up and the dudes get out but once everyone is safe on a helicopter something even crazier comes into view and one dude goes insane.
It’s a good story that follows the typical Lovecraftian mold but if anything the length works against it. There is too much build up of people walking around in the snow describing technical mountain climbing jargon instead of getting terrorized. There are hints of craziness throughout but it takes too long for stuff to get going.
For a while Guillermo Del Toro was set to film this but the combination of insane budget and insane r-ratedness stopped that dead in its tracks. It’s a shame because he’s so good and making weird and awesome nightmare creatures (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and “weird and awesome nightmare creatures” is totally what Lovecraft is about.
Next week we finish with… I don’t know I’m tired so maybe we’ll do “Hypnos.”