October 13, 2017

Muzeum is honouring this spooky Friday the 13th with a photo essay appealing to the horror fan inside all of us.

Film director Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) is touring his cabinet of curiosities across the world and his collectibles of horror and macabre items have landed in Toronto until January 7, 2018, housed at the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

When we toured Bleak House, we came across incredibly rare antiques and movie memorabilia, such as a massive recreation of Frankenstein's monster's head (main photo). Below are some of our standout rarities, and we'd love to know which are your favourites!

Film fiends will remember the 1992 vampire classic Bram Stoker's Dracula, and this iconic helmet for Vlad Dracula will stand out as one of the more memorable costume choices.

Del Toro loves collecting odd ephemera touching on the weird, mythical or occult. This wooden doll, from an unknown artist/origin, was made in the 1900s, and brings up images of sprites, elves and fairies.

This ivory piece came from the 1600s from an unnamed German artist. Dubbed "Allegory of Youth and Death" it is creepy in its simplicity: a boy is using a skull as a pillow as if it's the most natural thing in the world.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is Del Toro's favourite book, and rumours are swirling about the director taking on another adaptation of the horror classic. In this sculpture piece, we see the monster, the Bride of Frankenstein and Dr. Frankenstein looking on at his experimental creations. On tackling the film adaptation at some point, Del Toro told reporters:

"If I do Frankenstein, I literally would stop everything, and I’m going to a sabbatical of three years, just to write that."

In case you couldn't tell by now, Del Toro is obsessed with death. This collectible harkens us back to the morbid fascination with death in the Victoria era: mourning objects were quite popular in the 19th century, evidenced by this macabre "open casket" piece. Creepy!

One of the real treasures for Del Toro fans is checking out the early artwork and storyboards for his films, such as his drawings for characters from his Hellboy series.

Recognize this storyboard? It's from Blade II starring Wesley Snipes, another entry into Del Toro's long canon of films about vampires.

An entire section of this exhibit is devoted to "freaks," such as Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, captured here in a yellowed photo from the 1890s.

The director loves his books, and above is a first edition Alice in Wonderland, circa 1872. He also collects Disney prints from as early as the 1950s.

Another fascination for Del Toro are old comics books, and we're not talking Superman #1. He prefers the stories leaning towards monsters and the unexplainable, such as the vintage Grimm's Ghost Stories.

 If you know your Del Toro films, you'll spot here The Angel of Death from Hellboy II. Yes, those are eyes embedded in the wings. Who's daring enough to try this on for size as a Halloween costume this year?


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