A look at Guillermo del Toro: Cabinet of Curiosities

This is a big and impressive book. Guillermo del Toro is a hugely popular director among native geeks with a string of hits. He was director on Mimic, Blade II, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim. He even has producer credits on the likes of Kung Fu Panda, Megamind and Rise of the Guardians.

He has an eye for the … well, it’s not quite “surreal”, is it? At times his weird creations feel all too real. It’s an eye for the twisted fantastic. There’s certainly a strong argument that he’s defined his own type of style; a style that others will emulate.

What we get in Guillermo del Toro: Cabinet of Curiosities is a look into this mind. The large hardback has over 300 illustrations and is packed with notebook entries and storyboards from his films. In addition there’s pictures from del Toro’s own home, desk and inspirations. Simply put the book is a spooky delight to flick through.

Despite the impressiveness of all the photographs it’s the text content of the book that is most valuable to me. It is here we get the insight into the director’s mind. The Cabinet of Curiosities is co-written by Marc Scott Zicree and Guillermo del Toro himself.

The book tours through the life and films of del Toro. This is a good approach. I didn’t read the book in order. I turned first to Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth sections. Next? In another huge bonus the mighty tome has a section on Unfinished Projects. That’s right… in here we can read about del Toro’s thoughts on At the Mountains of Madness, The Left Hand of Darkness, The List of Seven, Mephisto’s Bridge and Meat Market.

I turned next to read up on his inspirations and his “idea incubators”. Given that Guillermo del Toro has been so hands on with this book it shouldn’t have surprised me to see other big names involved. Jams Cameron wrote the forward and Tom Cruise the afterword. Cruise kindly hints that At The Mountains of Madness may still happen.

This is a sure thing for die hard Guillermo del Toro fans (and how many directors get to say they have those – del Toro does). It’s a pricy book (over 260 full colour pages, hardback) so I suspect those geeks with a fondness for certain films may well prefer to have the book gifted to them for a birthday or festive holiday (Cthulhumass) than summon up the cash themselves. On that note, this book will surely sell very well over the holidays.

Disclaimer: My copy of the book was provided for review. Cabinet of Curiosities, Guillermo del Toro & Marc Scott Zicree, Titan Books, £39.95, 264pp.

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