2 A peek into a hor­ror mas­ter’s mind

Toronto Life - - Culture - guillermo Del Toro: At home With Mon­sters Sept. 30 to Jan. 7, AGO

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.

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