If he could, Guillermo del Toro would probably walk through San Diego’s Comic-Con International talking to every fan personally about their shared love of monsters, robots and things that go bump in the night.
Instead, the director helped create two immersive worlds for the Legendary booth at the convention, a virtual reality encounter where fans can train to pilot a Jaeger–the giant, neurally linked robots from his 2013 science-fiction epic “Pacific Rim”– and a Gothic gallery they can stroll through to enter the world of his next project, the 2015 haunted house film “Crimson Peak.”
To enter the “Crimson Peak” portion of the booth, which Del Toro gave press a tour of Wednesday night, fans walk through snow-covered gates into a space that includes evocative props and costumes from the film. Set in a deteriorating mansion in 19th century northern England, “Crimson Peak” stars Mia Wasikowska as a young author who discovers her charming husband (Tom Hiddleston) isn’t who he seems to be. The objects in the gallery spell out clues from the film — there’s a book on the history of insects, a bloody knife, a portrait of an intimidating matriarch. A moth print in the wallpaper spells out the word fear.
“It’s very brutal and very beautiful,” Del Toro said, of the atmosphere he wants to create in “Crimson Peak.”
The director said he hopes Comic-Con fans will find something unusual in the crush of the 130,000-person convention when they step into the “Crimson Peak” gallery — solitude.
“I would love for people to be alone in here,” he said.
The “Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot” experience at the booth takes visitors into a another of Del Toro’s intricately wrought worlds and a dramatically different one. When users don an Oculus Rift headset, they find themselves looking out from inside a 250-story robot as a copilot guides them in battle with one of the movie’s massive kaiju monsters.
A turn over the shoulder reveals action unfolding on all sides inside the Jaeger — the massive set (and character) that Del Toro will revisit in a “Pacific Rim” sequel set for 2017.
– Rebecca Keegan
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