Guillermo del Toro: The One Who Makes The Horror Film More Classical

Guillermo Del Toro

Credit : Guillermo del Toro


When mentioning the name of  Guillermo del Toro, those who love horror movies will immediately remember the overwhelming fantasy films that "blow their mind". As one of the most popular Mexican directors, producers, screenwriters and novelists in the world today, Guillermo del Toro gave birth to his own class of horror films with a rich outlook on life and sources with an endless inspiration.


Catholic boy has been interested in making movies since he was 8 years old

Born on October 9th 1964 in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, Guillermo del Toro grew up in a strictly Catholic family. From an early age, attending a boys' seminary and being taught by his devout grandmother, the boy quickly developed an extremely rich imagination about the spiritual world as well as a desire to translate everything into image.

At the age of 8, with his father's camera, young Guillermo has practiced producing the scary short films with characters such as toys in the room. Growing up, his passion for cinema led Toro to study makeup and visual effects from the prestigious Dick Smith company and start making short films himself.

At the age of 21, the young man produced his first horror film, Dona Herlinda and Her Son, and started running his own company, Necropia, which specialized in makeup and visual effects. At the same time, he also wrote, produced, directed Mexican television series and taught in film studios.

Guillermo Del Toro

Credit : Guillermo del Toro


The tide of the "Mexican wave"

At the beginning of the 21st century, when the wave of Mexican cinema widely spread, American audiences began to enjoy excellent classics with different thinking from a trio of talented directors including: Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzles Inárritu and Alfonso Cuarón. If Alejandro Gonzles Inárritu impressed with Amores Perros and 21 Grams, Alfonso Cuarón surprised the audience with Y Tu Mamá También and more recently Gravity, Guillermo del Toro set his footprint on the realm of horror movies, which was not too new but opened up a completely different path.

At this time, Guillermo del Toro began to gain popularity in his homeland when the television series Hora La Marcada collaborated with famous Mexican filmmakers brought good effects. However, the 1993 supernatural horror film Cronos which won nine Mexican Academy Awards and then the International Critics Week award at the Cannes Film Festival the same year really brought his name to become a phenomenon. This resounding success created momentum for Guillermo to step into Hollywood and "he entered Hollywood by the 1997 film Mimic about cockroach monsters. However, because of the strict requirements set by movie capital, he returned to Mexico and opened his own film production company called Tequila Gang.

Four years later, the horror film about an orphaned boy in post-war Spain called The Devil's Blackbone excited the critics and audiences that del Toro decided to try entering the movie capital once again. At this time, the path to filmmaking in Hollywood was more open when he continuously had films about vampires and supernatural forces like Blade, which were loved by American audiences. Two-part sci-fi action and adventure film Hellboy in 2004 and 2008, adapted from Mike Mignola's comic books, also grossed hugely at the global box office!

But the masterpiece that made Guillermo del Toro's career to reach the peak, showing his success in three roles of director, screenwriter and producer up to this point was the 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth.

The film about the innocent girl Ofelia in the context of the interweaving of the fairy world and war has received 5 Oscar nominations and won 3 categories: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup. In addition, Pan's Labyrinth also won 40 other international awards, included in the Top Best Film of 2006 voted by critics.

In 2013, his extraordinary vision contributed greatly to the great success of the blockbuster Pacific Rim, taking on the theme of the battle between the terrible Kaiju monsters outside the Pacific Rim and giant robots, protect humanity named Jaeger.

Guillermo Del Toro

Credit : Guillermo del Toro


The "father" of unique monsters

As a "crazy fan" of horror film directors such as James Whale, Mario Bava, George A. Romero, Alfred Hitchcock, Guillermo del Toro has always had a strong love for fantasy and horror. Moreover, his childhood living in a violent city in Guadalajara, Jalisco state made his mind always haunted by violence and liberation. But above all, it is the religious belief that has penetrated deeply into his blood that makes del Toro always believe in the spiritual world and hell, where there were always abnormal monsters. And he has spent 10 years just learning to dress up, create visual effects to bring them to life on the screen.

del Toro's perseverance and talent were rewarded because most of the monsters were always different and extremely haunting. These monsters included ancient scarab beetles, the Mimic's ability to transform its host into a bloodthirsty vampire in Cronos, the monstrous cockroaches that threaten New York City of the Mimic, the image of a pale, lifeless boy amid the ruins of an orphanage in The Devil's Blackbone, the image of a little girl holding the rotten arm of her ghost mother in Mama. Viewers also can't help but break out in a cold sweat with the god Nong with the head of a goat, the blind devil whose eyes rest on his hand, making children cry and adults shivering in the dark space full of violence of Pan's Labyrinth. In blockbuster hero movies, del Toro also made a difference when he created spectacularly brutal Kaiju monsters in the Pacific Rim or the proud and tragic Jeager robots in Pacific Rim. …

However, not only creating haunting horror images, Guillermo del Toro's rich imagination and excellent makeup directing skills also created a poetic and romantic world helping to reach the emotion of the audience.

Guillermo Del Toro

Credit : Guillermo del Toro


Creator of the "Darkest Fairy Tales"

Not only scaring audience with images, Guillermo del Toro also made a deep impression, which thanked to a story plot  that was so different and shocking that it startled audiences and made critics take off their hats. His films always made viewers' minds heavy and filled with sadness from the very first minutes. Guillermo never scared audiences with easy "ghosts", but always had unique ways of leading, interweaving between dream and reality, between dark and murky colors and a mournful and ghostly background music. All of them made the audience startle and terrified to the extreme when realizing the real evil always comes from the depths of the human soul.

Del Toro's films also often took the main character as a child to deepen the brutal nakedness of wars, taking the pure beauty to be good in the dark and deadly background of the adult world. Therefore, his films have been often labeled as "Darkest Fairy Tales", "Most Horror Children's Films" or "The Grimest Children's Movies"...

The movie The Devil's Backbone had a haunting opening with the death image of an orphan boy being thrown into the water. Then gradually unfolds the life of young Carlos, the son of a war martyr who was abandoned by his guardian in an orphanage after the Spanish Civil War.


The boy was haunted every night between macabre prophecies and bloody and violent conflicts, only to gradually reveal terrible plots and convey the message that humans were the most evil monsters.

As for Pan's Labyrinth, the culmination of Guillermo del Toro's career masterpiece. It was the innocent girl Ofelia's identity during the Spanish Civil War in 1944, which has led the audience to gradually dissect the interior, face the cruel, jealous from the depths of my being, and then I was both scared and moved to tears by the spirit of kindness that repelled the dark things.

Therefore, the film was honored as an excellent work that reaffirmed the artistic power of Guillermo del Toro and brought the film to 3 prestigious Oscars.

Guillermo Del Toro

Credit : Guillermo del Toro


The return of the brilliant Latin American director

During 30 years of persistently pursuing horror films and creating a completely different brand, Guillermo del Toro has contributed to glorifying Mexican cinema in the world's cinema capital. In 2002, the Latin American director was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 50 Young Leaders of the New Millennium. Up to now, there are few horror filmmakers have works that are both appreciated for both artistic quality and eagerly awaited by audiences like del Toro.

In addition to directing, Guillermo del Toro also participated in producing horror films such as The Orphanage, Don't be Afraid of the Dark, Splice, Mama... He has also been a skilled novelist when collaborating with Chuck Hogan comed out horror novels such as: The Strain, The Fall, The Night Eternal. All three of these works reached the top of best-selling books by the New York Times magazine.

In particular, the 2015 Halloween season marked the return of the Mexican monster with the horror film Crimson Peak after 9 years of  from the script to the setting, art design, costumes, music... with the participation the real cast: Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam...

The film was set in an English castle in the 19th century. The main character was the women young writer Edith Cushing and the handsome mysterious man Thomas Sharpe and their lightning marriage. Following her husband to the house located on an ancient castle, the hill surrounded by blood-red clay, she constantly encountered strange things in the house that seemed to have a soul  ghosts everywhere. Crimson Peak has been considered the biggest work of Guillermo Del Toro's career to date and is "a punch in the face for traditional ghost stories" as he has stated.

The film was likened to a combination of classic horror works The Legend of Hell House, The Haunting, House On Haunted Hill, The Addams Family and Haunted Mansion promising a spectacular return of the amazing and talented director after a series of blockbuster projects such as Hellboy 3, Pacific Rim 2 were postponed indefinitely, leaving the audience with many regrets.

And fans continued having the right to look forward to the next movie projects of the talented Mexican director and reflect on the fears deep in our nature.

Guillermo Del Toro

Credit : Guillermo del Toro


Box: 8 things you didn't know about director Guillermo del Toro

  1. Guillermo del Toro is quite private about his family. Currently, he and his wife Lorenza Newton and two daughters Mariana and Marisa have currently lived in Los Angeles, California, USA.
  2. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a marine biologist and studied at the University of Guadalajara Academy of Sciences but eventually dropped out to pursue cinema.
  3. From an early age, del Toro was so passionate about drawing monsters that his grandmother was afraid that grandson would be "haunted" and even tried to ward off evil spirits for him.
  4. He was rejected by the producer when he made the movie Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in 2005 and the director role was given to Andrew Adamson.
  5. He was the co-founder of the Guadalajara Film Research Center and the Mexican Film Festival at the age of 15 and join on the board of the Mexican Film Institute, the Sundance and Spirit awards.
  6. His father was kidnapped in 1998 and was only released after he and his two brothers negotiated and paid a large ransom.
  7. The terrorist events of the US twin towers on September 11th, 2001 greatly influenced his view of humanity and the tragedy was the inspiration for him to make the movie Pan's Labyrinth 5 years later. It is meant to show the brutality of man.
  8. Cronos and The Devil's Backbone are two del Toro films that consistently enter the top 10 best supernatural horror films of all time.