b. October  1964, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Films, like books, have the power to change you forever. Watching a movie at the right place and time can turn you into a cinephile or unleash a lifelong affair with a particular genre. Six-year-old Guillermo del Toro had one of those moments when he watched Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931). When young Memo (short for Guillermo) saw Dr Frankenstein’s experiment on screen for the first time, he may have thought the creature was tender, frail, and that there was more to him that just being a ‘monster’, or someone else’s invention. This is how he has described the encounter:

I swear the moment Boris Karloff crosses the threshold and his eyes are in ecstasy—they are looking up like the sculpture of St. Teresa by Bernini—it was like Paul on the road to Damascus. I was struck. I said, “This is the guy that is going to give his life for my sins. This is the one that the Bible speaks of. This is the Messiah that has been promised.” The way martyrdom is presented in the Bible is really hard to decipher when you are a kid, but there was a state of grace to the way Boris played the Creature. And I thought, “He is not going to last. Such purity cannot last in the world of men.” And sure enough, it did not. 1

Dr Frankenstein’s creation was the beginning of his love affair with monsters — and a project that perhaps he’ll undertake one day. But it was his own childhood experiences what triggered his love of the extraordinary and helped him create a world of wonder where curiosity, magic, religion and the unexpected can (and most certainly will) happen. Del Toro had no ordinary childhood years, at least not by the traditional Hollywood director’s standard. Born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, the second largest metropolis in Mexico and one of the most Catholic, he experienced Mexico’s many contradictions, as well as its magic, first-hand.

The son of Federico del Toro, a businessman famous for having won the national lottery and owning a car dealership, and Guadalupe del Toro, a woman who enjoyed reading the tarot, young Memo spent many hours browsing through his father’s anatomy books. He also spent long stretches of time with his grandmother, a devout Catholic who perhaps unknowingly fed del Toro plenty of material for his future films, including Cronos (1993) and El espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone, 2001), films on which Catholic imagery plays a pivotal role. He recalls:

My grandmother would love to hear me talk about my plans. I was already into monsters, ever since I was in the crib, so one of the rooms in her house had a sign that said “Monster Club, Do Not Trespass,” and it had a vampire bat that I had cut out of artificial fur. She exorcised me a couple of times—she threw holy water at me. And I would laugh because it was ridiculous. 2

Young Memo was an avid consumer of magazines, book and comics. When he was seven years old, he bought a copy of the cult magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, whose publisher was Forrest Ackerman. 3 Ackerman was an editor, a science fiction writer, literary agent to Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov and an avid memorabilia collector, just like del Toro later in life (in fact, select items from del Toro’s personal collection, which is stored in Bleak House, gave birth to the exhibition At Home with the Monsters, which has toured the world). Ackerman’s imagination and use of language, however, captivated and inspired del Toro, who, Zalewski argues, would eventually become his heir. 4

Memo spent many hours watching films produced by Hammer Films and Universal Pictures, consuming Japanese pop, Mexican horror films, Editorial Novaro’s comics, Fantomas and magazines such as Duda, Tradiciones y Leyendas. 5 These fandom practices, combined with his upbringing and schooling in the Jesuit college Instituto de Ciencias in Zapopan, where he filmed his first short film Pesadilla 1 (Nightmare 1) in the 1980s, helped him develop a unique view of the world in which the magical and the real coexist. But perhaps more importantly, Torito (short for Toro, it literally means ‘little bull’) read, watched and learned about these extraordinary worlds with awe. And it is this feeling, this moment of discovery captured in time, what he has been trying to convey in his films for over a quarter of a century.

Valuing this sense of amazement is perhaps why in some of his projects the action is seen through the eyes of children. This is all in evidence in Aurora from del Toro’s first feature film Cronos, Carlos in The Devil’s Backbone, Ofelia in El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006), Chuy in Mimic (1997), and Zach in the book trilogy and TV show The Strain. These characters are brave, curious and seemingly believe in the supernatural/fairy world; but they also make mistakes and sometimes are willing to risk their own wellbeing to help those they care about. We can think, for example, of Ofelia when she places the mandrake root under her mother’s bed to save her and her unborn brother, despite the consequences she might face if the adults find out, or of Chuy when he decides to follow ‘Mr Funny Shoes’. By placing children in liminal states between fantasy and reality, life and death, childhood and adulthood, del Toro also augments the horror in his films because the most vulnerable are at the centre of the threats. 6

Terrible fairy tales

Del Toro has spoken candidly about the “lucid nightmares” he had as a child.

There was no difference between that and reality. In my grandmother’s house, every now and then, the church bells nearby would chime late, either at midnight or 10 pm. I would hear the bell going ding-dong, ding-dong, and there was a big armoire in my room, and out would come a hand and the face of a goat and the leg of a goat. It was horrible, so horrible. 7

Cronos, 1993

These creatures have continued to speak through his imagination and perhaps by facing his childhood fears, he has created an oeuvre that is imbued by the fairy-tale spirit. His films are populated with memorable characters immersed in worlds that would be too horrific to survive without magic and who sometimes seek in other worlds an explanation to their reality. In his seminal book, Fairy Tales and The Art of Subversion, Jack Zipes writes that classic fairy tales as we have come to know them are “historical prescriptions, internalized, potent, explosive, and we acknowledge the power they hold over our lives by mystifying them”. 8 Most of del Toro’s films are powerful historical accounts of their times that have mystified certain fairy tales to help the audience understand and survive convoluted times.

In Cronos, a story written by del Toro himself and produced by Bertha Navarro and Arthur H. Gorson, del Toro tells the story of a girl named Aurora (Tamara Shanath) and her grandfather, Jesús Gris, a Mexican antique dealer who discovers a golden clock-like artefact inside an old angel statue. The device contains a type of insect that feeds on blood and grants eternal life to the person who owns it. Gris gets stung by the artefact. His granddaughter witnesses this and her grandfather’s subsequent transformation into a blood-thirsty, yet noble, vampire.

Much can be said and has been said about Cronos and its genre influences, particularly that of H.P. Lovecraft 9 but at the core Cronos is the story of an old man who doesn’t want to age and who is trying to reconcile his family to make sense of who he is—father, businessman, grandfather, carer. It is with great tenderness that we see how the roles reverse and his granddaughter becomes a sort of carer. She takes him to the attic where she plays and places him inside a box with a ragged teddy bear to make sure he has a place to rest and hide from the light. It’s also through her eyes that we see him vanquish his enemies and learn to control his impulse to hunt victims and drink their blood. The darkness of the tale, however, doesn’t come from Gris himself but from those who want to steal the device.

In Cronos, his first collaboration with the American actor Ron Perlman, we see how his character Ángel de la Guardia, who works for De la Guardia (Claudio Brooks), a sick man obsessed with the device, is capable of being eviller and crueller than the vampire himself. At the end, however, like in most fairy tales, Cronos has a ‘happy ending’ where Gris manages to make peace with himself and his family is brought back together, attaining what Ann Davies says is ‘reconciliation, redemption and restoration of the family unit’. 10

It’s the girl, Aurora, a name that is also a reference to the princess in Sleeping Beauty, who draws our attention. Dressed almost always in red like Red Riding Hood and then with a blue dress similar to that of Disney’s Alice in Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1951) she manages to trick and vanquish the ‘werewolf’, Ángel, to help her grandfather and unknowingly her grandmother, with whom she will stay at the end of the fairy-tale film. Cronos, which was partially funded by the government body Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía (IMCINE) won many accolades around the world, including nine Arieles (the Mexican equivalent to the Oscars) and the Golden Camera at Cannes. Its fresh take on the vampire myth put del Toro on the map and opened the doors to Hollywood.

Initiation rituals: Del Toro’s entry into Hollywood

For his next project, the Mexican director worked alongside Harvey Weisntein in the production of Mimic. The film was del Toro’s first experience in Hollywood and it paired him with then upcoming actor Mira Sorvino, who portraits Dr Susan Tyler, an entomologist who created a genetically modified insect named Judas breed to kill cockroaches infected with a deadly virus. The creatures, however, spun out of control and three years after saving the world, they threaten humanity. Tyler has to face her creations and along with her partner and an unlikely companion, a boy name Chuy (Alexander Goodwin), she goes inside New York’s underground tunnels to find them. It’s again through Chuy that we see parts of the battle between the scientist and her creations. The film showcased some of del Toro’s motifs: a child protagonist, insects and the relationship between a young person and an elder, in this case Dr Gates (F. Murray Abraham), a mentor to Tyler, and Chuy’s grandfather Manny (Giancarlo Giannini). Several of Mimic’s key elements would re-appear years later in his trilogy The Strain (2009 – 2011), which was co-written with Chuck Hogan.

Mimic, however, fell short with critics and at the box office—it received mixed reviews and failed to make enough money to cover its production cost of US$30 million. It has also been reported that there were many creative disagreements between Miramax’s executives and del Toro, particularly during the production and post-production. Del Toro was also struck by personal tragedy when his father was kidnapped in Guadalajara. It was film director and producer James Cameron who helped the Mexican director and lent him money to pay the ransom. Del Toro recalls: “My first American experience was almost my last because it was with the Weinstens and Miramax. I have got to tell you, two horrible things happened in the late nineties, my father was kidnapped and I worked with the Weinstens. I know which one was worse …  the kidnapping made more sense, I knew what they wanted.” 11

After the incident, del Toro, his wife Lorenza (from whom he separated in 2018) and his two daughters left Mexico. This involuntary exile saw him transform himself into a bilingual auteur who, in most of his projects, has a character who is seeking a place to call home. In his journey, Guillermo hasn’t been alone. He has been accompanied by filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, the famous Three Amigos who have conquered Hollywood during the past decade. Their story, however, began in Mexico City in the 1980s when del Toro was working in his special effects company Necropia producing monsters and special effects for advertising (the Alka-Seltzer commercial in which the director himself transforms into a werewolf is a classic of Mexican advertising https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk_XiG-ukLE), for films and for the TV show La Hora Marcada, a Televisa production. Cuarón was one of the directors of said show.

La Hora Marcada didn’t make waves in other countries but in Mexico it was a ground-breaking series that allowed a new generation of filmmakers and screenwriters, including cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, to explore genres such as horror and suspense. When Torito met Cuarón, he candidly asked him why his script was so bad, and both started to chat. There was no envy, no greed, nothing but sheer love of cinema and the honesty that characterises del Toro both as a person and as a creator. This encounter sparked a friendship that has lasted decades. Del Toro met Alejandro González Iñarritú a few years later, when the latter was working on his film Amores Perros (2001). 12 Since then Cuarón, Gonzalez Iñárritu and del Toro have been producers in some of each other’s films and together co-founded the production company Cha Cha Cha Films, whose first film was Rudo and Cursi (2008), directed by Cuarón’s brother Carlos.

Mimic, 1997

Guillermo’s backbone

After shooing Mimic, del Toro opted to work in another Spanish-speaking production. Set in Spain and produced by Pedro Almodóvar, The Devil’s Backbone is considered one of del Toro’s most personal projects, if not the most prior to the Oscar-winning The Shape of the Water (2017). Just before the end of the Spanish Civil War, a 12-year-old named Carlos is left in an all-boys orphanage that is being haunted by the ghost of Santi, an orphan who was murdered by the school’s cleaner Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega). During the war, a bomb was dropped on the courtyard: it lays unexploded, a latent reminder of the horrors perpetrated by Franco’s troops. This story delves into del Toro’s take on ghosts and starts with his definition of ghosts:

What is a ghost? It is a terrible event that is doomed to be repeated over and over again. It is a moment of pain, perhaps somethings that is dead but that sometimes seems to be alive, a feeling floating in time, like a blurry photograph, like an insect trapped in amber. 13

This definition is, in fact, the backbone of the film. Del Toro weaves together a tapestry of horror and humanity by showing us terrible events: the Civil War itself, Jacinto’s greed, and the real and figurative pain that the rojos (Communists) who take care of the children live with. But we also see, almost trapped as a del Toro signature ghosts, the melancholia that each character endures, as they are also looking for a home that is forever gone. Even villains deserve compassion: later in the film the viewers also learn that Jacinto is an orphan too.

The film clearly hints at the fairy tale tradition. Jacinto has been plotting a way to get the gold that the school teachers have been hiding. He kills Santi and threatens the other children who know what he is trying to do. He is both Jack climbing the beanstalk to try to get the gold as a passage to a better his life, and the ogre who threatens those who are on their way. 14 Santi’s ghost is a figure that only the children can see and he is trying to warn them about what is about to happen. Santi, like the ghosts in the director’s later film Crimson Peak (2015) are there to warn the living. And it is worth pondering here whether those early ‘lucid nightmares’ del Toro has described are the source of this particular take on ghosts or if it is a representation of his own self, trapped in amber between two languages, several countries and the liminality of navigating between his personal projects and big-budget films.

El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone, 2001)

Into Guillermo’s Labyrinth

It’s with Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), his first film nominated for an Academy Award, that del Toro closes his Spanish-language Trilogy, which includes Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone, and delves yet again into fairy-tale realm. The director choses to revisit the Spanish Civil War to tell us another story where evil is prominent from the start. We see the horrors of the years following the conflict through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero). Ofelia and her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) are uprooted to general Vidal’s (Sergi Lopez) quarters where they are to settle and find a new life. Ofelia still misses her father, who died during the war, but Carmen is trying to protect her by granting her a new father and a new life, something that Ofelia is too blind, too young to understand.

Ofelia’s imagination, however, is plagued by fairy tales and in this space of war, blood and lies she finds a labyrinth where a faun who is at times too kind and at times seems evil gives her three tasks to open the gates of the underground world. The tasks challenge the girl’s willpower and put her in danger by confronting disgust (removing a key from a toad’s mouth); greed (avoiding eating from a table set with a banquet), and envy (saving either herself or her brother). Ofelia embodies different fairy tale heroes: she’s Snow White 15 who goes to lives in the woods, she is Alice who enters another world, and she is Dorothy, ruby slippers included, who finally manages to go back home. 16

Like Cronos’s Aurora, Mimic’s Chuy and The Devil’s Backbone’s Carlos, Ofelia manages to touch the lives of the adults, reminding them of their humanity. In the last scene, when the maid and rebel Mercedes (Maribel Verdú) tells Vidal that his son will not know about him, the order of this world is restored. Ofelia, indeed, saved her brother and she manages to go back home, becoming princess Moanna and sitting next to her mother, her Queen, who also happens to be in the other world.

In del Toro’s Spanish-language Trilogy, hope and justice are key to understanding its worldview. Aurora’s grandfather finds redemption, Santi punishes Jacinto, Carlos and his friends leave the orphanage, and his teacher, although now a ghost, manages to fulfill his purpose in life—help these children escape and at the same time find a home for himself. For her part, Ofelia leaves hope in a world that needs it after so much cruelty. And, indeed, in most of del Toro’s films order is restored at the end, like in most fairy tales

Del Toro has spoken about the weight both the fairy tales and the Bible have had in his formation. And perhaps that is why in his fairy-tale films there is always an element of redemption and good and evil characters. In del Toro’s words: ‘I think that all of them have a huge quotient of darkness because the one thing that alchemy understand and fairy tale lore understands is that you need vile matter for magic to flourish. You need lead to turn it into gold. You need the two things for the process.’ 17

El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006)

An auteur at the service of blockbusters

Despite these most personal films, del Toro has also put his expert knowledge of fairy tales at the service of more commercial endeavours, such as Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) and Pacific Rim (2013). He would have also put it at the service of The Hobbit, however, the project was on hold for such a long time due to copyright battles, that after five years of waiting and working in the pre-production in New Zealand, del Toro abandoned the project (he received a scriptwriter credit in Peter Jackson’s trilogy).

But in Hellboy II in particular we see can see the Mexican director’s imagination at the service of a big franchise. Del Toro’s take on Mike Mignola’s comic allowed him to more fully blend together his worldview with that of an already endearing character. In the film we see a young Hellboy reading fairy tale stories before going to bed. These fairy tales ‘a Tolkeinian pastiche of myths and legends’ are at the very centre of this film. Hellboy will come face-to-face with the elves, ogres, goblins and the golden mechanical army he read about when he was a boy. Hellboy II is inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and it questions the real by delving into the complexities of the human nature 18

Exploring human nature and responding to the questions why are we here and what are we doing are two constants in del Toro’s filmography. And just like he always goes back to these themes and to a group of actors and co-creators with whom he enjoys working, del Toro also goes back to the themes that have made him a celebrity: Mimic-like subway scenes, Cronos-like clock artefacts, fairy tale books, and, of course, the relationship between old and young—a relationship that is bound to be explored in full in his take on Pinocchio, to be produced by Netflix.

Later days: Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water

Before delving into his most personal film, The Shape of Water, del Toro revisited his love of the gothic and horror in Crimson Peak (2015). The film feels like fresh take on the Blue Beard story and revisits topics such as the quest to find a home and the role that ghosts play in day-to-day life, themes that are also core to some of the films he produced during the years he spent working on The Hobbit, including J.A Bayona’s El orfanato (The Orphanage, 2007), Andrés Muschietti’s Mama (2013) and the animated film The Book of Life (Jorge Gutierrez, 2014).

It can be argued that Crimson Peak deals with sudden loss. After unexpectedly losing his father, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), who lost her mother when she was a child, opts to get married to Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a British entrepreneur who had presented a project to her father and who had started to court her when her dad was still alive. Despite acknowledging that his father was against the union, Edith, a writer who oddly enough refuses to explore romance in her stories, moves from the United States to the dilapidated Allerdale Hall in England. The house seems to breathe and move, holding not only ghosts but the terrible secrets that these tormented souls are trying to make sure Edith discovers before it’s too late for her to escape. Thomas’s sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain) guards the family’s secrets. She also holds the keys to every room in the house and tells Edith,not to enter certain rooms. It’s in one of these ‘forbidden rooms’ where Edith discovers she is not Thomas’s first wife.

The prohibition to enter a room, the keys, the fact that she’s not Thomas’s first wife … all seem to point that indeed Thomas is a take on Blue Beard. However, it’s Lucille, the ‘mastermind’ behind Thomas marriages Blue Beard of the story. The film is also reminiscent of Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’, a short story based on Blue Beard in which a young girl marries a rich widowed Marquis. In Carter’s version the heroine loses her virginity, finds a collection of sadistic pornography (here Edith finds a book with several depictions of sex) and enters the ‘forbidden room’. When Blue Beard is about to kill her, her mother arrives and saves her, giving her a ‘happy’ ending. In Crimson Peak, del Toro Lucille’s takes the masculine role from her brother as soon as the action is taken to the estate. It’s Lucille who Edith has to battle to be able to save herself and it is Thomas’s ghost who helps her vanquish his sister (her mother was one of the ghosts that tries to warn her).

In this film, just like in The Devil’s Backbone, ghosts remained trapped in a moment in time, like amber, or in this case, the red clay from the state’s defunct mines. ‘The most horrifying and haunting image of the film,’ wrote Chloe Germaine Buckley in her review, ‘is that of Lucille—now a ghost—inescapably incarcerated in the shadow of her mother’s portrait, while Edith escapes through the castle’s gates.” 19

Crimson Peak, 2015

After Crimson Peak, del Toro immersed himself in his most successful project yet—The Shape of Water. The film starts with an open invitation to enter del Toro’s febrile imagination, one inhabited by films, books and ‘monsters. Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a young mute woman, lives on the top floor on a cinema compound, and works at night as a janitor in a research facility. Her best friends are her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), an aging graphic artist with whom she watches movies, particularly musicals, and Zelda (Octavia Spencer), a feisty janitor. Elisa, who in a way is reminiscent of Cronos’s Aurora because of her haircut, choice of clothes and muteness (Aurora only pronounced one word throughout the film), discovers an amphibian man (Doug Jones). Instead of being scared or repelled by it, she finds an unlikely companion.

In this fairy-tale film, del Toro gives Elisa and his friends the incredible task of rescuing the Amphibian Man from the research facility before Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), the man who captured him and one of the leaders at the centre, kills him in an attempt to attest his masculinity and his power over the ‘monster’. Elisa gets help from Dr Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), a Russian scientist who has infiltrated the facility.. In one of the film’s most powerful scenes, Elisa tells Giles that the ‘monster’ is the only person who gets her, and convinces him to help her get the ‘monster’  out of the facility and in to her house to eventually free him.

The Shape of Water is more than an unlikely love story. The Amphibian Man, like Dorothy in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, wants to go back home; and Elisa, who is an orphan, is also looking for a home. In this iteration of Baum’s story, Elisa, like Dorothy, gets three friends (Dr Hoffstetler, Giles and Zelda) that will help her get back home and vanquish Strickland, the ‘wicked witch’.

The fact that Elisa is mute also draws a parallel to del Toro and his transformation from a Spanish-speaking creator to a bilingual auteur. In her book Lost in Translation. Eva Hoffman provides the reader with the details of her journey from Poland (Paradise) to Canada (Exile) and the United States (The New World) and her transformation from a monolingual to a bilingual person who had to reinvent herself in a place that was completely unfamiliar to her. In the book, Hoffman explains how language or the lack of language affected her and writes that at one point on the transformation the ‘signifier becomes severed from the signified’ 20, and she found herself continually trying to translate to the old language, rendering herself voiceless.

The Shape of Water, 2017

Whereas the journey of Hoffman and del Toro can’t be fully compared, there is indeed a sense of loss in his oeuvre, a type of ‘voicelessness’ that comes perhaps as the result of the transformation of an artist from monolingual to bilingual, from always at home to perpetually uprooted. And it is perhaps because of this reason that we see Elisa losing and finding her voice, seeking and finding a home, making sense of the world through films and looking at life in a way that can only be conveyed through art. If we can argue that there is a bit of del Toro in Elisa and the Amphibian Man, then The Shape of Water is indeed del Toro’s most personal and mature film—and one that opens a new chapter in his career.

Del Toro’s journey has come full circle. The child who bought a copy of Ackerman’s magazine sat down with Ackerman in his adult life simply to converse. Del Toro gathers all his memorabilia in a house named Bleak House and there, amongst his rare books, original artwork, busts and life-size figures (including one of Edgar Alan Poe), he sits down to work. Part of his collection is now touring the world as the exhibition Guillermo del Toro: Cabinet of Curiosities. In one of the cities it has toured, or perhaps in one it hasn’t been to, a young person will come face to face with del Toro’s imagination. They will find the same innocence in the books, magazines and real-size monsters, the magic and wonder that young Memo treasured, and perhaps after watching all his films, they will explore these realms again, giving life and new meaning to del Toro’s legacy, one which perhaps one day will include his adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Selected filmography

Cronos (1993)
El espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone, 2001)
El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Crimson Peak (2015).
The Shape of the Water (2017)

Endnotes:

  1. Stephen Galloway, “Guillermo Del Toro on Confronting Childhood Demons and Surviving a Real-Life Horror Story”, Hollywood Reporter, November 3 2017, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/guillermo-del-toro-confronting-childhood-demons-surviving-a-real-life-horror-story-1053205
  2. Stephen Galloway, “Guillermo Del Toro on Confronting Childhood Demons and Surviving a Real-Life Horror Story”,  Hollywood Reporter, November 3 2017, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/guillermo-del-toro-confronting-childhood-demons-surviving-a-real-life-horror-story-1053205
  3. Daniel Zalewski, “Show The Monsters”, The New Yorker, February 7 2011, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/02/07/show-the-monster
  4. Daniel Zalewski, “Show The Monsters”, The New Yorker, February 7 2011, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/02/07/show-the-monster
  5. Gerardo Lammers, “Guillermo del Toro: Los años de formación, March 3 2018, Confabulario, http://confabulario.eluniversal.com.mx/guillermo-del-toro-los-anos-de-formacion/
  6. Rebecca Janicker, “Myth And Monstrosity: The Dark Realism of H.P. Lovecraft and Guillermo del Toro’ in The Transnational Fantasies of Guillermo del Toro, edited by Dolores Tierney, Deborah Shaw and Ann Davies, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, p 56
  7. Galloway, 2017
  8. Jack Zipes, Fairy Tales and the art of subversion, Routledge Classics, 2012, p. 11
  9. Janicker, 2017
  10. In Janicker, 2017, p 52
  11. Zack Sharf, ‘Guillermo del Toro ‘Hated the Experience’ of Working with Harvey Weinstein on “Mimic”,’ Indiewire, October 12, 2017, https://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/guillermo-del-toro-harvey-weinstein-mimic-horrible-experience-1201886601/
  12. Lorraine Ali, ‘Oscars 2015: Brutal Honesty Marks Inarritu’s Bond With Cuaron, Del Toro, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2015,  https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-oscars-inarritu-cuaron-del-toro-20150221-story.html
  13. Author’s translation. The original reads:‘¿Qué es un fantasma? Un evento terrible condenado a repetirse una y otra vez, un instante de dolor, quizá algo muerto que parece por momentos vivo aún, un sentimiento suspendido en el tiempo, como una fotografía borrosa, como un insecto atrapado en ámbar’.
  14. Juan Carlos Vargas, ‘Between Fantasy and Reality’ in The Transnational Fantasies of Guillermo del Toro, edited by Ann Davies, Deborah Shaw and Dolores Tierney, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, p 185
  15. Jack Zipes, ‘Video Review’, Journal of American Folklore 121 (480), 2008, pages 237
  16. Zipes, 2008
  17. Del Toro in Zipes 2008
  18. Tony M. Vinci, Remembering Why We Once Feared the Dark, The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 45, No. 5, 2012, p. 1045
  19. Chloe Germaine Buckley, ‘Crimson Peak – A Gothic Romance That Takes Us Back To The Feminine Early Days of Horror’, October 20. 2015, https://theconversation.com/crimson-peak-a-gothic-romance-that-takes-us-back-to-the-feminine-early-days-of-horror-49396
  20. Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation, 106

About The Author

Gabriella Munoz is a writer and editor based in Melbourne. Her non-fiction has been published widely, including The Victorian Writer, Mascara Literary Review, Iconica and Eureka Street. Gabriella was the Digital Writer in Residence at Writers Victoria in 2018.