Welcome to the place where your childhood nightmares dwell.
Guillermo del Toro’s house is exactly that. You may recall the eccentric Mexican director from his amazing film based during Spain's Civil War, Pan’s Labyrinth, the story of a young girl who is forced to live with a cruel military captain and falls into a world of fantasy to deal with her stark reality. Maybe you know him better for being the man who brought Hellboy to the big screen in a dark comedy that fascinated fans worldwide. But did you ever imagine that his place would be as curiously wondrous as the fictional worlds he creates?
Del Toro calls this place the "Bleak House," and more than a comfortable abode, it’s a house of horrors. Since his wife and children find the place too scary, he only uses the house for work purposes and to gather a collection the filmmaker started since childhood. The house has over 10, 000 pieces of souvenirs, books, comic strips, and curiosities related to horror and science fiction. Every corner is filled with horror movie memorabilia, props from his past movies, life-size recreations of offbeat film characters, and Lovecraftian nightmarish creatures. As a matter of fact, the collection is so big that the director had to actually buy two buildings for the Bleak House.
Naturally, the director’s house is just as bizarre and wonderful as his own movies. Del Toro is a fan of Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks, so much so that he has turned the halls and rooms of his house into a sideshow stage. As you walk down its corridors you'll find wax recreations of the film's cast, including figures such as Schlitzie, the Aztec, and the contortionist Johnny Eck.
No horror film buff can live without a deep love and appreciation for the universal monster movies. These iconic characters from the 1930s find a home in Del Toro's Bleak House. He is particularly fond of the well loved Frankenstein, in an interview for the New York Times, he revealed that his fascination with Mary Shelley’s character stems from the fact that he believes it is one of the most beautiful characterizations ever made. This beloved creature is found in an interesting situation at Guillermo's home, as you can see in the picture below, he's drinking a cup of tea from a dainty cup while he is presumably getting a nice haircut. Isn’t that a sight to see?
This house also pays tribute to the minds that inspired some of his greatest works. Curiously, in this menagerie of fantasy, he has a special place dedicated to the sci-fi and horror writer, Forrest J. Ackerman. Ackerman wasn’t only an inspiration for Del Toro, but also his mentor. Since he was kid growing up in the state Guadalajara, Mexico, Del Toro was obsessed with Ackerman’s stories, and he admired him so much that he even wrote him a letter as a kid, asking him to adopt him. While he didn't get adopted, as an adult he managed to meet his hero in L.A and start a beautiful friendship. Ackerman eventually invited Del Toro to his own house of horrors, the Ackermansion, which was a temple of horror and sci-fi memorabilia. This
inspired Del Toro to come up with the Bleak House. It makes you wonder if it has surpassed its predecessor.
Del Toro uses the Bleak House as his own personal library. Not only does he keep all of these curious artifacts as a collection, he also uses them as inspiration for his work. He gets most of his writing done at the house’s Rain Room, a haven that has seen the birth of amazing flicks like Crimson Peak and Pacific Rim.
Although the director was pretty apprehensive about his collection for many years, he recently decided to share it with the world. He has already lent many of his horror artifacts, memorabilia, and toy figures to exhibitions in the US and Mexico. Let’s hope they’ll make their way around the globe so you can have the fright of your life!