Insects, fairies, monsters, clockwork designs, amber lighting and Catholic symbols: welcome to the lost world of Guillermo del Toro.
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Guillermo was raised a strict catholic, even though his parents were far from that. His mother was a witch of sorts, traveling with gypsies and reading Tarot. His father, Federico del Toro, was a successful automotive dealer who once the fabled Mexican lottery. His Catholicism infatuation came from the time spent at his grandmother’s house. Being a devoted catholic, she was convinced that her grandson was going to Hell. She tried even once exorcising his demons using Holy water. Was she a little more open-minded, one would’ve told her the demon of art was completely harmless, even family-friendly.
Guillermo believes that humans created demons, angels and monsters to have a better understanding of the world that they lived in. Mythology and religious themes have been devised by man to adapt to the greater powers that he didn’t understand or the overall mystery of the Universe. There’s a beauty in monsters, or at least that’s how Guillermo sees them. Probably that is the reason why he depicts them as extremes of either sympathy or deviousness.
Guillermo is one of those rare godly artists. They create their own universe, lay the rules for it and prepare the setting. His characters carry a part of his soul –a complex map for all that matters- and play their roles precisely according to what he has in mind, no matter how unjust, improbable or otherworldly. That’s what gods do, they don’t explain, and they wave their wands so that the wind or the stars move in the person’s favor, or simply go against him/her.
Guillermo fell in love with moviemaking at 8 years old, when he began learning special effects and make-up on the hands of special effects artist, Dick Smith. He has made 10 short movies before his first feature, Cronos, a Mexican vampire horror film. Since then, Guillermo has had many arthouse and box office successful films including comic book adaptations: Hell Boy and Blade II, also the critically acclaimed historical horror movies: The Devil’s Backbone “El espinazo del Diablo” and Pan’s Labyrinth “El laberinto del fauno” for which he gained an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay.
Both Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone create the same gothic, claustrophobic settings and both have little kids as the main protagonists. With creepy settings, sad themes and perfect musical scores, both those movies are able to get you inside Guillermo del Toro’s magical yet unsettling world. The two movies contain elements from Guillermo’s childhood, like the character inspired by his Uncle’s ghost in The Devil’s Backbone, and the faun and fairies in Pan’s Labyrinth which come from Guillermo’s personal doodles and scribbles in his notebooks.
Guillermo’s latest film: Pacific Rim is a crazy mix of aliens, giant robots and sea monsters. The film performed moderately at the US box office but went huge worldwide, earning more than $407 million. The Guillermo mind is still full of mysteries unfolded, one can easily tell, a proof of that would be the gloriously gory 2-minute-45-second couch gag/opening of the Simpson’s Halloween episode “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.”
Want proof? Watch the creepy video here:
Written by: Jaylan Salah