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Big, Beautiful Books

Adorn your coffeetables with these hardbound masterpieces

By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Dec. 13, 2013

Big, Beautiful Books

Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions

by Guillermo del Toro and Marc Scott Zicree
Harper Design, 256 pp., $60

Born in the Renaissance, a cabinet of curiosities contained the weird, the arcane, and the uncategorizable. Its purpose was to draw the outlines of cosmic mysteries. That's a pretty fair description of this encyclopedic and entrancing examination of the notes and knickknacks of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. If the old saying of "He who dies with the most toys wins" is true, then del Toro has an unassailable lead. His mythical L.A. mansion, Bleak House, is the outward expression of all his influences, as original movie props sit beside life-sized waxworks of the Freaks cast. But it's in the replicated and transcribed pages of his notebooks that those influences are revealed. This is the closest the audience will ever get to cracking open his cerebellum. The reproduced pages, with accompanying discussions between del Toro and Zicree, reveal a seamless melding of Bernie Wrightson and Goya. The book may be broken down by project – from Cronos to Pacific Rim and even the eternal dream of At the Mountains of Madness – but within the pages, they blend into one. Notes about Hellboy sit on a design for Pan's Labyrinth, revealing a creative process that melds and morphs ideas over time.

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