Book Review: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History
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Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History
Written by Paula M. Block, Terry J. Erdmann
Foreward by Toby Froud
Introduction by Brian Henson
Publisher: Insight Editions
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Cover Price: $45.00

The brainchild of genius Jim Henson, the movie Labyrinth came out in 1986. Starring a young Jennifer Connelly and the late great musician/actor David Bowie, Labyrinth told the tale of a girl named Sarah who wishes her annoying baby brother be taken away. Bowie is Jareth the Goblin King, who comes to claim the boy. When Sarah realizes what she’s done, she is given 13 hours to solve the labyrinth and find her brother. The movie is less about story and more about the world created by Henson and his team. Filled with tons of creatures and practical effects monsters, Labyrinth is one of the most visually stimulating movies of all time.

Celebrating the film’s 30th anniversary, Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann have created a wonderful companion piece with their new book, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History, from Insight Editions.

With a Foreword by Toby Froud, aka baby Toby, and an introduction by Jim’s son Brian Henson, The Ultimate Visual History is everything the title promises and more. Froud felt the impact of the film even as a baby. In his Foreword, he mentions being fascinated by the world of puppetry and Henson’s Creature Shop so much that thirty years later he builds his own puppets and runs his own company named for his memorable movie outfit: Stripey Pajama Productions. Henson was 22 at the time, working on set as Hoggle’s lead operator. He called Labyrinth, “one of the best periods of my life.” The book is not just filled with amazing stories by the cast and crew including Connelly, and producer George Lucas, but also contains unbelievable artifacts as well. Sketches, concept art, script pages, and more.

The book covers all the amazing characters both living and the creatures from Henson’s shop as well as a detailed look at how the film was made from being greenlit to coming out in theaters. There are nearly 200 beautiful full-color pages worth of memories, and with Bowie’s passing earlier this year from liver cancer, some of them evoke an air of sadness. Brian Henson ends his introduction by remembering his father, who passed away from bacterial pneumonia in 1990. “I wish my father could have lived to see the audience’s incredible undying love for Labyrinth, which continues even after thirty years.”

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History is available today on Amazon for $38.25. It is the perfect gift for the Labyrinth fan in your family as the holidays roll around.

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