cover image Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

Britt Salvesen and Jim Shedden. Insight Editions, $29.99 (152p) ISBN 978-1608878604

This portrait of Bleak House, the home of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak), is pure nerd eye-candy. Salvesen and Shedden have assembled a richly illustrated house tour, with essays outlining how different areas represent different facets of del Toro's artistry. Bleak House is filled with photorealistic mannequins of horror characters and creators; thousands of statues, toys, and props from genre films; various occult doodads; and multiple overflowing libraries, including a room solely devoted to vampire lore. If there ever was a Xanadu for fans of science fiction and horror, del Toro's stately halls fit the bill. The essays, especially one on collecting, are warmly written and welcome, if unnecessary next to the breathtaking photographs. The book's latter half features short written pieces with titles such as "Victoriana"; "Magic, Alchemy, and the Occult"; and "Frankenstein and Horror." There are also reproductions of more classical artworks, tying del Toro's world to that of fine art. Del Toro is known for equally embracing horror films and Charles Dickens (after whose novel his home is named); it is only fitting that in his home, Frankenstein's monster stands among irreplaceable antique furnishings. This unusual portrait of the artist will have readers scrambling to catch up on the director's works; it is an unqualified success. (Aug.)