For those of you who know a little about director Guillermo del Toro’s fascination with the original TV movie Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) then you’ll understand his passion for the story and his eventual remake of that very film in 2010 (which he produced and co-wrote). The book Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Blackwood’s Guide to Dangerous Fairies is an extension with his fascination with that film and with fairies and monsters in general. Co-written with Christopher Golden and illustrations by Troy Nixey, del Toro’s book is an extension of his film and the world of fairies as seen through the eyes of the character of Emerson Blackwood whose home is the one in which the tooth breakers (or tooth fairies in the film) nest.
This book is a catalogue of Emerson Blackwood’s life in documenting all the dangerous fairies across the globe. After an incident that caused his best friend to be killed (and he believes a tooth breaker was the cause) Blackwood dedicates his life to documenting all the dangerous fairy cultures for what he thinks is an altruistic reason which is to educate the world about the “hidden people” that co-habitat our realm. Intermixed with Blackwood’s list of fairies are his personal journal entries which include his romantic relationship with Annelise (daughter to his friend that was killed).
What makes the book so fascinating is not just the large list of fairies documented in the book from all over the world as depicted through Blackwood’s interviews and adventures with the people all over the world but also his journal entries where he depicts how his growing obsession with the tooth breakers that killed his friend threatens his whole way of life when he gets too close to seeing the truth and discovers that the most dangerous fairies in the world may also be the most intelligent and they can hold a grudge.
To add to the allure of the book are Nixey’s amazing illustrations of all the different fairy folk and hidden people. You have to give it to del Toro, Golden and Nixey who have crafted a beautiful book not only to read but to look at as well since many of the pages are designed so that readers can see Blackwood’s actual handwriting. This is one of the better books to tie-in to a film since it doesn’t require knowledge of the film nor having had seen the film as it survives on its own and even if you have seen the film then it adds to the richness and enjoyment of the film.