Many guys have man caves – a room, a basement, a shed where a dude can get away from the demands of domesticity and do dude things. Guillermo del Toro, the Oscar-nominated director of such movies as Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim and the upcoming Crimson Peak, doesn’t just have a cave. He has an entire house. It’s called Bleak House and it's pretty amazing. In a featurette for Criterion’s release of Cronos (1993), Del Toro gives a guided tour. You can watch it above.
As you can see, the place feels less like a frat house than an eccentric museum. One of his inspirations was curiosity cabinets of old. Indeed, the walls are crammed with paintings, prints and curios and just about every corner is teeming with skeletons, skulls, tentacles and creepy things floating in bottles of formaldehyde.
Another inspiration was the original research library for Disney Studios, which fed the imagination of the studio’s artists with lots of art. So Del Toro has original frames from Gertie the Dinosaur by Winsor McCay, the first animated movie ever, along with drawings by Moebius and photographs of Alfred Hitchcock. He also has piles of books, magazines and DVDs. “Whatever it is," says Del Toro, "it’s here to provide a shock to the system and get circulating the lifeblood of creativity, which I think is curiosity. When we lose curiosity, we lose entirely inventiveness, and we start becoming old. So the man cave of Bleak house was designed to be sort of a compression chamber where we can create a stimulating environment..." for artists.
Right above you even more about Bleak House in which Del Toro gives a tour to horror director Tim Sullivan. Not only is the place filled with strange and macabre curiosities but also mementoes from Del Toro’s movies. Want to see Del Toro brandish the original Big Baby from Hellboy II: The Golden Army? Check this video out.
Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of badgers and even more pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads. The Veeptopus store is here.