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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 9, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Guillermo del Toro: The man with the monsters

Perhaps you’re looking for a nice long read today; something that will distract you from looming tasks. (Looming for me: a screening of “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D” tonight, complete with screaming little girls and “Bieber manicures” offered in the lobby, the thought of which frightens me. Then again, my nails do look like hell.) Then you’ll enjoy reading Daniel Zalewski’s detailed profile of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro in this week’s New Yorker, available online (at least for now). del Toro’s recently been in the headlines for exiting the troubled production of “The Hobbit” (a process detailed in the story), but many of us know him best for “Hellboy” or the beautiful, eerie “Pan’s Labyrinth.” In the New Yorker story, you’ll meet “Bleak House,” his second home in an L.A. suburb that serves as both office and repository for his collection of monsters and horror memorabilia. Here’s a description of the bookshelves:

He began to show me around Bleak House. The windows had blood-red curtains and shirred blinds, giving the place a bordello vibe. In the downstairs library, the shelves were rigorously taxonomized. “This is Vampire Fiction,” he said, pointing to a row of books. “And this is Vampire Fact.” He picked up an aged leather-bound volume. “This is a treatise on vampirism, probably one of the best ones ever published, from 1759.” The book, “Dissertations Upon the Apparitions of Angels, Dæmons, and Ghosts, and Concerning the Vampires of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia,” was printed in Paris and helped establish the idea that vampirism was contagious. (“Those who have been sucked suck also in their turn.”) Del Toro, who has inflexible preferences when it comes to vampires, admires the Polish folkloric tradition, in which erotic fangs are replaced by vile stingers. “They are the nastiest creatures,” he said. “Nothing romantic about them.” In 2009, he co-wrote a novel, “The Strain,” a gory update of the Polish typology–and a riposte to the swoony “Twilight.”

Like I said, a good read. Check it out, if you’ve got time today.

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