Guillermo Del Toro, is a Mexican-American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and novelist, who is passionate about film, specializing in the world of dark fantasy, tales of terror and contemporary crime thrillers. Last week, Del Toro was in town to promote his exhibition opening, in partnership with The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) called: “Guillermo Del Toro: At Home With Monsters.”
The exhibition is an accompaniment to his book “At Home With Monsters, (Inside his films, Notebooks, and Collections). It focuses on Del Toro’s “creative process, including the well-defined themes that he obsessively returns to in all his films, the journals in which he logs his ideas, and the vast and inspiring collection of art and pop culture ephemera that he has amassed at his private man cave “Bleak House.”
Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico where he was raised by his grandmother in a strict Catholic household. He’d developed an interest in filmmaking at an early age, and started experimenting using his father’s “super 8 cameras,” making short films using his vivid imagination and his collection of toys – and having always been fascinated with the dark side, he has a real affection for misunderstood monsters, like Frankenstein.
He has a very philosophical view of Frankenstein, (affectionately referring to him as “Frank”), seeing the humanity within (beyond the freakish exterior). In a recent interview, he spoke about Frank’s sadness and longing to connect through the heart.
One of his creations was the “serial killer potato,” who was obsessed with world domination. He’d made about 10 short films before his first feature. He’d then studied special effects with “The God Father of Make-Up Artists,” Dick Smith (who brilliantly transformed Linda Blair from an innocent child into a ghoulish green slime spewing monster, in the film classic “The Exorcist”).
Del Toro’s films have alternated between the Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces such as “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” to the more Hollywood mainstream action films such as “Hellboy.”
When Mr. Del Toro was in town for TIFF recently to promote his latest work “The Shape of Water” (starring Sally Hawkins, as a mute janitor) he’d spoken about his love of Hamilton: “I love Hamilton, I love it. It has some of the greatest stores, bookstores, restaurants. It’s really a transforming city.” He’d also gushed about his love of Toronto, praising those who work in the film business as “technically and artistically top-notch.”
Now that we are in the month of October, and Halloween is around the corner, it is the perfect opportunity for horror film buffs to delve deeper into Guillermo Del Toro’s world of horror and dark fantasy. One might even get up close and personal with the likes of “Frankenstein” and “Hellboy.
Some of the sculptures from his own collection of memorabilia are featured in the AGO exhibition which will run from Sept. 30 to Jan.7, 2018.