2 A peek into a horror master’s mind
Bleak House, Guillermo del Toro’s home in suburban L.A., is a shrine to the spooky, bizarre and supernatural. Every spare inch of wall and shelf space is occupied by artworks, artifacts and ephemera that the filmmaker has accumulated over the past decade: Gothic paintings, jarred octopus tentacles, rare comic books, freakishly lifelike mannequins of authors like Edgar Allan Poe, and props from the many films he’s directed, including Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak. The house’s quirks, including secret passages and a window that gives the impression that it’s always raining, stimulate del Toro’s imagination and frighten the uninitiated: he once had to explain to a suspicious cop that the unresponsive body in his TV room was just a dummy of Linda Blair’s character from The Exorcist. This month, 600 of Bleak House’s relics will fill the AGO during the gallery’s del Toro exhibition, At Home With Monsters. Here, a few items from the home’s astonishing foyer that made the journey north.
“TwelfTh NighT,” 1908 In the early 20th century, W. Heath Robinson published dark Victorian drawings in countless illustrated books, including this black-and-white scene of a young man in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. ComiC, CirCa 1970s These are among the first comic panels that del Toro drew as a child in Guadalajara, Mexico. They hang beside an illustration of Hellboy by the character’s creator, Mike Mignola. sammael, 2004 Del Toro commissioned sci-fi and fantasy guru Wayne Barlowe to create this life-size model of Sammael the Desolate One, a villainous hellhound from his 2004 film Hellboy.
CroNos DeviCe, CirCa 1993 The glass display cases at the front of Bleak House contain a swath of memorabilia and relics, including the mysterious ancient device from del Toro’s 1993 film, Cronos.