Creature Feature

In a monster profile in this week’s New Yorker, Daniel Zalewski delves into the good-naturedly grotesque universe of Mexican horror auteur Guillermo del Toro (Cronos). Painting del Toro  as a descendant of both such beast-obsessed fanboys as Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J. Ackerman and such creature effects innovators  as Ray Harryhausen, Zalewski presents the director as something of a geek genius, focusing much of his article on del Toro's frightfully fleshly designs for future—and largely studio-stalled—creep-shows. Those intrigued by del Toro’s dark visions will find the piece compulsively readable, crammed as it is with details on his ideas for The Hobbit (a project he is no longer associated with, after years of planning); a newly reanimated Frankenstein; and his longstanding dream movie, an adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s 1931 novella At the Mountains of Madness, about a horrific race of endlessly morphing alien beings in Antarctica. And if you're familiar with del Toro, you won’t be surprised that Zalewski can't resist taking readers on a tour of Bleak House, the Westlake Village, California, estate that del Toro has transformed into a perverse palace of monstrosities (a severed leg from Cronos is propped near the fireplace; anatomical fetuses reside in jars in the kitchen). It’s the world according to Guillermo, and it’s worth a visit.

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