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GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S Unmade Masterpiece, THE THING Rediscovered, and More!
The Bite #31

GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S Unmade Masterpiece, THE THING Rediscovered, and More!

November 06, 2018

In this Issue:


By Lisa Morton

In an alternate universe, this would be a celebration of Guillermo Del Toro’s masterful film adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, Steven Spielberg’s terrifying Night Skies, and Ridley Scott’s version of I Am Legend. But we’re in this universe, and none of those movies ever got made.

Nearly everyone has a favorite film they wish would get made, and here are six of ours::

Steven Spielberg’s Night Skies: This horror movie about hostile aliens terrorizing a family was originally intended to follow Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Spielberg drafted an outline, writer John Sayles was brought in to develop the screenplay, and eventually Spielberg suggested artist Ron Cobb as director. However, Spielberg got cold feet about malevolent aliens, and made E.T. instead.

Ridley Scott’s I Am Legend: Forget Will Smith. Ridley’s version was set to star Arnold Schwarzenegger and featured an adaptation by John Logan (Penny Dreadful) of Richard Matheson’s classic vampire novel. Unfortunately, the budget drove a stake through its heart.

George A. Romero’s Apartment Living – In the late ‘80s, Romero was going to make this thriller about a living apartment building that traps victims and then survives off their flesh and blood. But the poor box-office performance of the distributor’s other films caused the cancellation an entire then-upcoming slate, including this one. 

David Cronenberg’s Frankenstein: Another casualty of the late ‘80s, this would have been the king of body horror exploring the classic tale of a stitched-together creature. Cronenberg has said his monster would have been intelligent and sensitive. But Frankensteindied in development hell before he got to the script. Instead, he followed The Fly with Dead Ringers.

Tim Burton’s Geek Love: Although we’d love to see the sequel that never was Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, it’s hard to imagine a better match than the cult-favorite Burton and Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, one of the greatest cult novels ever written. Burton has said that he found the material — about a freak show — daunting because he loved it so much.

Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness: Possibly the apex of unmade horror movies. In 2006, Del Toro turned his sights on a mega-budget, R-rated adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s iconic tale of cosmic horror, but the studios balked. But it’s still talked about from time to time as something that may happen, so we live in hope.


Image of the Week

Bite Me

“Some people are excited about them, some people are a little disgusted,” says Katherine Dey about her gruesome cakes.



Science says the best way to decide a horror movie’s rating is by checking the pheromones of the audience.

Math says the higher the body count, the worse the movie. But that doesn’t mean we can resist watching the slasher with the most kills.

The last Friday the 13th reboot never got off the ground, but original screenwriter Victor Miller has the rights now and is planning a new reboot

See photos of children from classic horror movies that show them then and now, and find out what it was really like to be a kid starring in one of those films.

A bot helped write a totally bizarre Goosebumps-style choose-your own adventure story.

A movie buff found the film Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, which has been missing for 50 years, in a second-hand shop.

See how kids react when their parents let them take a photo with Michael Myers.

Here are 5 Halloween sequels that almost happened (including what could have been an … interesting … crossover with Pinhead).

Why does the word “horror” existMerriam-Webster explains.

Southbound director Roxanne Benjamin is remakingNight of the Comet, but this time around, it will have more sci-fi and less comedy.

How filmmakers creatively overcome that pesky problem of having cell phones in horror movies.

Why the new trend in horror films is inherited trauma.

This best of the best list merges more than 20 best horror movie lists to rank 650 horror movies. 

Listen to Christopher Walken’s spooky reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.”

Our favorite horror movie characters have always worn the sickest fashions.

The Root compiled an excellent list of 13 black horror films.

The New York Times Book Review explores the reason ghost stories have never died.

You can now open The Shining door.



By Sam Zimmerman

Today’s States of Horror are decidedly East Coast, one a perfect place for lyrical New England nightmares and the other, the home of two of indie horror’s most exciting contemporary filmmakers.

Florida: Blood Feast

Largely thought of as the first gore movie, Blood Feastsaw legendary horror director Herschell Gordon Lewis transition from nudie cuties to splatter flicks, and all in his frequent production home of Florida. Shot over just a few days in Miami, Blood Feast follows a killer caterer who includes parts of his victims in his meals and makes sacrifices to wake an Egyptian goddess. Just as in those nudie cuties, Lewis practically pioneered splatter onscreen … because he wasn’t seeing it elsewhere, and thought audiences would eat the decidedly non-mainstream exploitation up. They did, and Lewis’ influence on both a subgenre and independent horror is now a legacy.

Georgia: Squirm

In the age of rediscovery, reappraisal and re-release (especially of cult gems), it somehow still feels like director Jeff Lieberman is a little undersung. His unique sensibilities added serious flavor to the paranoid killer thriller and slasher subgenres in movies like Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn and I dare you not to have a killer time with the killer worms of his nature-run-amok jam, Squirm. Set and shot in Georgia (the fictional Fly Creek), Squirm sees a city boy visit his girlfriend in the south. Unfortunately, downed power lines give new mutant life to the worms in that country soil, resulting in one of our great horror movie insults (“you’re gonna be the worm face!”) and one of our great horror movie posters, by film art master Drew Struzan.

Frozen Hell


Before John Carpenter’s 1982 movie The Thing, there was John W. Campbell, Jr.’s 1938 novella “Who Goes There?” But it turns out that story wasn’t where the shape-shifting tale of terror truly began, because what we’d been reading all this years had actually been condensed from a long-lost and never before published novel. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaignFrozen Hell will finally see print, along with (if all stretch goals are met) new stories in The Thing universe.


Listen to John Carpenter’s new musical theme for streaming service Shudder.

Shudder launches first original scripted podcast series with reality-bending Video Palace.

Mandy to stream exclusively on Shudder.