Twelve was my Monster Year. I worshiped Hollywood's movie creatures, subscribed to "Famous Monsters of Filmland", and even created my own makeup kit. That all ended one October afternoon when I turned myself into a five-foot Frankenstein.
Walking unsteadily up a sidewalk I encountered my neighbor, four-year-old Lanny Caesar, and gave chase. He thought I was the real thing and may still be having nightmares. I was that good (or at least it seemed that way) but it was time to move on.
Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro had the same boyhood bug but he never stopped "chasing Lanny". He found great success in pushing the monster envelope directing films which include fantastic, primal creatures.
The director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and many other successful movies has filled not just his films with monsters but his California home, "Bleak House", as well.
One room of Del Toro's house recreated in his museum exhibit.
Last year he agreed to share his fantasy art collection with the world. It is now a traveling museum exhibition, "At Home With Monsters". It opened in Toronto earlier this month (the show runs through January). It originated at the Los Angeles' County Art Museum last year and my son and I were there see it.
The show includes sculptures, books, prints, and film artifacts. In addition, del Toro commissioned artists to create full-size scenes from classic movies
"The Bride of Frankenstein"
And characters from movies. " Freaks"
and below, "Pan's Labyrinth".
He also had artists create life-like sculptures of his heroes like animator Ray Harryhousen
and author, H.P. Lovecraft.
If you need some cheering up, you can visit a replica of the director's Rain Room. Special effects on its windows make it seem as if there is a perpetual thunderstorm outside.
It might make me, like Lanny, run away.
Del Torro comes out with his next film in December, "The Shape of Water". Unlike "Hellboy" and his other mega-monster hits, this one may have more adult appeal.
Check out the trailer, https://youtu.be/XFYWazblaUA It look like an enticing Creature From the Black Lagoon love story.
The museum exhibit is just a part of del Toro's Bleak House collection. Maybe you can see the rest of it if you stop by his Los Angeles home on Halloween night. If you do, be kind,
don't bring Lanny.
Happy Halloween from the Grove Guy and his lovely wife, Francesca.