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Remembering late greats of sci-fi and horror

October 17th, 2017

Image courtesy of the AGO.

One of the themes in Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters is Death and the Afterlife—an important point of contemplation in an exhibition chronicling del Toro’s fascination with the macabre, the horrific and the gothic. But over the past year, thoughts around death and the afterlife have permeated the real-life worlds of sci-fi and horror, as several major icons in those creative fields have recently passed away.

Fortunately, At Home with Monsters gives fans a glimpse into how these towering names in horror, illustration and film influenced one of the most inventive filmmakers of our time, Guillermo del Toro. We asked Jim Shedden, curator of At Home with Monsters, how they are represented in the exhibition.

“On September 14, 2017, Basil Gogos, one of the heroes of the Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters exhibition, passed away. Born in Egypt in 1939, Gogos is considered one of the greatest monster artists of all time, a reputation he earned with his portraits of movie monsters on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine in the 1960s and ‘70s. His work was featured prominently in many other magazines as well, most notably in Creepy and Eerie, also in the ‘70s. Visitors to our exhibition will be treated to three paintings by Gogos, one of Boris Karloff as he appears in The Bride of Frankenstein, one of Hellboy, and one of the Metaluna Mutant.

“Gogos is not the only At Home with Monsters artist to pass away recently: on March 18 we lost Bernie Wrightson, the co-creator of Swamp Thing; he is also known for his graphic novel, Frankenstein, considered by many to be one of the highest achievements of the medium ever. Many original pages from Wrightson’s exquisite Frankenstein are prominently featured in At Home with Monsters, as well as other original pages by him.

“John Hurt (January 22, 1940 – January 25, 2017) has been called ‘the greatest actor in the world’ by filmmaker David Lynch. Because of his roles in del Toro’s Hellboy, Hellboy II and The Strain, Hurt is also a giant in At Home with Monsters. He is represented in the exhibition in a sculpture by Thomas Kuebler, in the role of Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man.

“Finally, two filmmakers close to del Toro’s heart also passed away recently: George Romero (February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017), who invented the modern zombie film with Night of the Living Dead in 1968, and Tobe Hooper (January 25, 1943 – August 26, 2017), director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which has endured as one of the great American horror films—in fact, you can find a passage on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the catalogue for At Home with Monsters.

“It’s sad to mark the passing of these artists, but their legacy boldly lives on.”

– Jim Shedden

You can see these works for yourself in Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, on now until January 7, 2018, and you can catch John Hurt in a screening of Hellboy II: The Golden Army in Jackman Hall on Wednesday, November 1.

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