I shouldn’t need to tell you this, but in case you don’t already know, I’m going to tell you: Guillermo del Toro is awesome. You might be familiar with him, since his name is all over everything these days, from novels (The Strain trilogy) to Hollywood blockbusters (Pacific Rim, The Hobbit Trilogy) and with the recent unusual announcement of his involvement with the popular horror video game franchise Silent Hill (recently titled Silent Hills, which looks amazing from its trailer.) This article is an homage of sorts to reassure people that del Toro is the man. He is someone who sheds light on the darkest corners of the human heart. But it’s a somber light – it doesn’t overpower the darkness. Rather, the director simply uses this “somber light” as an observational tool, showing viewers that things – objects, environments, people – can be simultaneously beautiful and eerie, dazzling and discomforting, not unlike the works of Tim Burton or David Lynch (though Lynch is decidedly more morose.) On that note, here are a few points on makes del Toro del Toro (and why he’s awesome):
- His work: Poetic, stylish and, with a few exceptions, filled with dread – what more can a thrill-seeker, horror hound or someone who just generally appreciates film as art ask for?
- His acceptance of madness and the human condition: Coming from a childhood filled with intense family situations. From his uber-religious grandmother, to the kidnapping of his father, del Toro has opened up on the dark times he encountered at a young age and how he channels his emotions to create compelling, chilling stories. At one point, his Catholic grandmother attempted to exorcise him when she learned of his passion for unique art and creature features. So…yeah.
- His craft: The man creates worlds like there’s no tomorrow, investing wholeheartedly in them from the unique vision of his first vampire film Cronos, to the award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth, to the lovable Hellboy. Also, he literally creates, having founded his own makeup design company, Necropia, in the ’80s.
- He’s got a way with words and knows what he wants: Not only can del Toro make people squirm with his screenplays, but he can always carry out an entertaining interview (like this one with Empire Magazine, when he teased fans with his possible involvement with the long-gestating film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness.) Also, it seems the man always knows what he wants from a casting/design standpoint – utilizing the film-as-an-art-form, but also monsters-are-awesome card to full effect, and he just seems like a super cool guy.
All in all, I just want to say thank you, Guillermo – I appreciate and admire your passion, imagination and drive to scare the hell out of people. I hope to one day be involved in a fraction of the creative processes you have carried out to brilliantly bring light to darkness (and vice versa.) Stay golden.