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Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters Review!

Jondee here at the Bleak House,

IMG_4393 copy The Angel of Death.

The Guillermo del Toro exhibit, At Home with Monsters, is currently at LACMA and ends on November 27th. If you have any interest in any of del Toro’s films, you must immediately get in your car and drive down to LACMA. The exhibit is located in the Art of the Americas building which is next to the LACMA Cafe and also the store. The timed ticket gets you into the building and you face the Angel of Death from Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008). The entrance to the exhibit is to the angel’s left and the exit is to the right. You enter and face el fauno from Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) complete with knife and fairy case. The monolith that sends out the insect is behind him. There’s a wall of paintings and photos, but what drew my eye was a limbless doll of an angel with added wings. Turn the corner and there’s the Crimson Peak (2015) costumes of Mia Wasikowska’s Edith Cushing and the green and red gowns of Lucille Sharpe played by Jessica Chastain. This is accompanied by Victorian displays; paintings by Arthur Rackham, panels of Alan Moore’s From Hell graphic novel, and a copy of King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany.

DSC_0390 copy H.P. Lovecraft figure.

The next room is devoted to del Toro’s love of insect things; a lobster suspended overhead, the Kaiju Parasite from Pacific Rim (2013), and the black, ghostly shroud of Lady Sharpe from Crimson Peak. A room for H.P. Lovecraft has a figure of Lovecraft standing with a book in hand. The Cthulhu artwork is surprisingly light there. Some props from Cronos (1993), a display case of Hellboy props including his Good Samaritan gun, and a painting by James Cameron of a stark landscape from Aliens (1986). There is also an Edgar Allan Poe room complete with a figure of Poe reading a book by Thomas Kuebler. A row of paintings ends with pictures of Poe and Lovecraft. On the other side is more paintings, I was stunned by a wooden landscape covered in shadows and a dark sea cove by Eyvid Earle, one of the designers of Sleeping Beauty (1959). Across the room is the haunting figure of Santi in a black room where you can animation of the blood floating from his head! A massive bust of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein is over the door. You can see in a side room, figures of Jack Pierce applying the make-up to Boris Karloff, and also a long side room that has the Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster, continue on and you see Victor Frankenstein.

IMG_4367 copy Albino penguin.

There is panels of Bernie Wrightson’s brilliant graphic novel on Frankenstein. A side room has displays of horror comic books, Famous Monsters magazines, and Hellboy props. On the other side, is the stunning Ray Harryhausen figure by Mike Hill complete with skeleton figures he’s animating and also clinging to him! A corner room has displays of comic books by Richard Corben next to incredible artwork by William Blake plus you can sit down and watch some Mexican wrestling. Finally, you reach some figures of the 1932’s Freaks movie. The Rain Room has the sounds of a rain storm, there is a loud slamming noise, clumps of a boot walking overhead, but I found all of it relaxing. The highlight of the exhibit for me was seeing in a shelf the albino penguin, this was a creature that was prepared for del Toro’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, this would be the ultimate and most well constructed horror film when it is made. At the exit there is a wall of Pan’s Labyrinth concept art and Mako Mori’s suit and her child’s costume from Pacific Rim.  This is an impressive display of a collection that gives you a little insight into del Toro’s mind and interests. The only downside I could see is that there were no displays of Godzilla or King Kong which I think are some of del Toro’s favorites. Merch, this is at the LACMA Store, the book on the exhibit was sold out, and sells out once they put it out. There was a black shirt with the exhibit’s logo, post cards (including one showing del Toro’s house), and a collection of his books and films on DVD.