Happy Birthday Guillermo del Toro: Taking a Look at the Director's Finest Films
Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, known for blending boundaries between horror and fantasy films, was born on October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Whether he's directing action-packed blockbusters, artistic period dramas or comic-book adaptations, del Toro brings his unique visual artistry to every project. The director is also an accomplished screenwriter, producer and a former special effects make-up artist.
Del Toro began making short films in high school and later went on to study filmmaking at the University of Guadalajara. He initially worked as a special-effects make-up artist. Before his movie directorial debut with Cronos (1993), del Toro wrote and directed several television series as well.
Though he’s directed nine films so far, del Toro’s filmography has the widest range of horror and fantasy than any other director in Hollywood. With multiple nominations and even a couple of Oscars, BAFTA Awards and a few other prominent awards to his credit, del Toro has reinforced his status as one of the most creative and visionary filmmakers of our time.
On his 56th birthday today, we take a look at some of his most memorable films.
1. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Arguably Guillermo del Toro’s best movie, Pan’s Labyrinth – set in the Spanish Civil War era – tells the heart-breaking tale of a young girl’s escapism into a magical, frightening world where she's revealed to be a princess. Blurring of what could be reality versus imaginary escape from trauma. The film became one of the top grossing foreign releases in the US. It received six Academy Award nominations including one for Best Foreign Language Film, however, it won three – art direction, cinematography and makeup.
2. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Superhero sequels generally fare well in most cases they surpass the original. The first movie (Hellboy) had to explain a demon conjured by the Nazis during the Second World War sides with humans and detests people who would use supernatural forces against humanity. In the sequel Hellboy, while fending humanity against the evil Prince Nauda who is hell-bent on bringing the Golden Army to life, which will help him to conquer the world. Hellboy and his team join forces to defeat the callous ruler. Ron Perlman’s performance as the demonic brawny character in an outing that was both a comic vehicle and a sucker for action, which has left the clamouring for a trilogy to this day.
3. Crimson Peak (2015)
The gothic romance-horror film explores a tortured of love affair Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) and Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) set in a house that has memory and induces fear. Del Toro carefully drifts the films passage avoiding most of the cliched horror genre trappings in a gothic love story. Instead, he focuses on exploring the horrors of love with his signature ghoulish imagery.
4. Cronos (1993)
It was del Toro’s first full length feature. The story touches upon a kindly old antiques shop keeper who discovers a gilded device and begins to undergo a startling transformation as an immortal monster, with his granddaughter witnessing the change. The film set the stage of what the maverick director would go on to do balance horror and comedy. Cronos won an array of awards including eight Aerial awards from the Mexican Film Academy.
5. The Shape of Water (2017)
One of his finest works, critically-acclaimed The Shape of Water is a timeless tale of the power of love. Even though it’s set in the cold war era, the movie that perfectly blends del Toro’s unabashed romanticism and fantasy world is not limited by its time period. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards in 2018, The Shape of Water took home four Oscars, including two for del Toro for Best Picture and Director. The movie was also honoured at global film festivals and made its mark at the Golden Globes too. Apart from its sharp filmmaking and direction, The Shape of Water is regarded as one of the finest ensembles in terms of acting, background score and visual effects. It is, undoubtedly, del Toro’s greatest English-language films so far.