Giant bugs, dental equipment, comic books, gilt-edged funeral notices of children, illustrations by Edward Gorey, and a giant head of uber monster Frankenstein—these are just a few of the macabre but beautiful items that director Guillermo Del Toro surrounds himself with at his Los Angeles home. That house, called Bleak House, in deference to author Charles Dickens, is the jumping off point for the current big show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA.
Del Toro came to filmmaking after a career in makeup working under industry legend Dick Smith. His fascination with transformation is evident everywhere in the show. Other obsessions are insects, the Victorian era in England (an early edition of Alice in Wonderland is on display), early horror movies, and childhood innocence interrupted. The exhibit is organized thematically, and well planted with videos of the movies as well as the director/designer's jam-packed digitized inspiration notebooks. Storm clouds are projected overhead and the soundtrack is sinister, yet all is not doom and gloom. This is great fun for fans—and anyone with an interest in costume, makeup, set design, and comics.
If you are a fan of Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Cronos, or Crimson Peak, the models, props, and costumes will be familiar. If not, you might want to screen some at home. For Halloween.
Guillermo Del Toro, At Home With Monsters is on exhibition till November 27th. Visit lacma.org for information.
Categories: Costume Design, Film
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