Thursday, September 16, 2010

At the Mountains of Sadness

Before The Satanic Verses, I'd been reading At the Mountains of Madness again, I guess in anticipation of Guillermo del Toro's upcoming film adaptation of it. The movie's being produced by James Cameron, who recently said;

The thing about Lovecraft is he left a lot to the imagination. He never told you what they looked like. He managed to create a sense of creeping horror without specifics.

From At the Mountains of Madness;

"Objects are eight feet long all over. Six-foot, five-ridged barrel torso three and five-tenths feet central diameter, one foot end diameters. Dark grey, flexible, and infinitely tough. Seven-foot membranous wings of same colour, found folded, spread out of furrows between ridges. Wing framework tubular or glandular, of lighter grey, with orifices at wing tips. Spread wings have serrated edge. Around equator, one at central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges are five systems of light grey flexible arms or tentacles found tightly folded to torso but expansible to maximum length of over three feet. Like arms of primitive crinoid. Single stalks three inches diameter branch after six inches into five substalks, each of which branches after eight inches into small, tapering tentacles or tendrils, giving each stalk a total of twenty-five tentacles.

"At top of torso blunt, bulbous neck of lighter grey, with gill-like suggestions, holds yellowish five-pointed starfish-shaped apparent head covered with three-inch wiry cilia of various prismatic colours. Head thick and puffy, about two feet point to point . . ."

And here we can see what Cameron's talking about. "About two feet?!" Well, is it two feet or not? Come on, HP, you gonna tell us exactly how long it is or what? What the fuck? I'm completely in the dark and frankly frightened by the omission of detail.

Actually that's just the beginning of a character's long, careful description of one of the monsters in At the Mountains of Madness that segues into that character's description of a dissection of the creature. To be fair, it would be easy for Cameron to miss this kind of detail if over two thirds of the pages were missing from his copy of At the Mountains of Madness.

Gods, everything that guy says and does nowadays gives me douche chills. At least he's not directing. Though of course I'm feeling more and more like a drooling idiot in a strait jacket for seeing nothing particularly good about Avatar. I look and I just can't see what most people evidently see. So for all I know, Cameron might've been saying something really insightful about Lovecraft. All I can do is pound my head on the wall and scream gibberish.

At least I don't hate Lady Gaga. I can desperately, feverishly cling to that. I don't really enjoy Lady Gaga, but I don't hate her. I like that she's sort of weird. I thought the meat dress was gross, but a lot of people do. That's something, right?

I heard clips the other day from Oprah Winfrey's season premiere of people screaming shrilly for her before she announced she was having John Travolta fly them all to Australia. As usual, I can only stand outside the school of humanity and watch it sway and sparkle with alien colours.

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