One of the most important film-makers at the moment is none other than Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.
His dark-fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth caught the attention of critics and public in general, gaining multiple nominations for important awards. But it was probably his 2 latest projects (Pacific Rim and the upcoming horror film Crimson Peak) which put Guillermo in the spotlight.
Today I have the pleasure and tough task of giving you the list of Top 5 Guillermo del Toro films.
Shall we start?
Guillermo’s first film, which gained him the grand prize in Critics’ Weeks at the 1993 Cannes Festival.
Cronos marked Guillermo’s style: dark vibe, monsters… and children.
It’s the story of Jesus Gris, the owner of an antique shop who finds a strange artefact in the form of a scarab, which clings to his hand. Little does he know that inside this object is an insect that injects him with a strange solution, giving him youth and a strange thirst for blood.
Dying businessman Dieter de la Guardia wants to get his hands on the artefact to save himself. And so trouble begins.
Although the main character is basically a vampire, it goes far from the typical vampire story.
I recommend it. Just keep in mind that it was his first movie and budget here in México is hard to get. Don’t be too harsh, the story is good.
Fun fact: Guillermo studied special effects and make-up before immersing in filmmaking. All make-up effects in this movie were made by Guillermo and his then-company of special effects and make-up Necropia.
4. The Devil’s Backbone. 
This film marked another constant in future del Toro films: war. Especially the Spanish Civil War.
Oh, and orphanages.
Carmen and Casares run a small orphanage in Civil War Spain. They are hiding a large stash of gold from Franco’s troops, who have been attacking the orphanage, leaving a defused bomb in the middle of the courtyard.
Then comes Carlos, a boy left behind by his parents. He begins having visions of a child named Santi who went missing the day the bomb appeared in the courtyard.
The Devil’s Backbone script was Guillermo del Toro’s screen writing thesis and he considers it his most personal film.
That’s enough reason to watch it, don’t you think?
3. Hellboy 
One thing you must know about Guillermo: he is a big fanboy. And isn’t it a fanboy’s dream to direct a comic-based movie?
In 2004 he directed Hellboy, based on the graphic novel by Dark Horse Comics.
Starring Ron Perlman, who previously worked with Guillermo in Cronos (Ron Perlman speaking Spanish in Cronos, guys!), this film is based on Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, and it’s basically the story of a demon conjured by the Nazis who then becomes a defender against dark forces.
This one is a must for comic fans.
2. Pacific Rim 
Kaijus, jaegers, epic battles… and Idris Elba (yes!!!). Pacific Rim is a favourite among science fiction fans. And with good reason.
Guillermo wrote it as a trilogy, which by the way, is most likely happening as the sequel will hit theatres in 2017.
Set in a not-so-distant future, the Earth is being invaded by humongous monsters called Kaijus, which emerge from a portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. In order to combat them, the Jaegers are created: equally humongous robots controlled by at least two pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge.
It’s one of those films where I went “how did he come up with all this?!” and if you haven’t watched it yet, then you are missing out big time.
1. Pan’s Labyrinth. .Time for a funny story!
I refused to watch this film, and I refused for years! And my mom would try to convince me to watch it almost every month, no lie. Until one day when I was super bored and decided to watch it.
And that, children, is how I fell in love with del Toro’s film craft.
Pan’s Labyrinth is a work of art and I could talk about its greatness for hours, but I’ll do my best to keep it short.
This dark-fantasy film should not be mistaken for a children’s film because it isn’t. Be prepared for a serious amount of feels, I’m warning you.
It takes place during the Spanish Civil War. Ofelia and her mom move in with Captain Vidal, Ofelia’s stepfather. There she finds an abandoned labyrinth where a mysterious faun creature lives. The faun is convinced Ofelia is Princes Moanna, and gives her instructions for 3 tasks she must complete in order to return to the underworld kingdom.
The film interweaves the rawness of the real world with the mythical world.
And I’m going to stop now before I start crying.
This film won the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup.
It is, in my opinion, the biggest example of Guillermo’s creativity and attention to details, as he designed every creature that is seen in the film.
If it doesn’t make you cry, or at least shed one tear, then we need to have a serious talk.
BONUS: The Orphanage 
This isn’t exactly a Guillermo del Toro film as he only served as a producer but you can clearly see his influence in it.
The Orphanage left me with a permanent emotional damage.
Laura moves with her husband and son to the old orphanage where she grew up. There, her son Simón starts communicating with an invisible new friend, Tomás. When Simón suddenly disappears, Laura realises that the only way to find her son is to find out what happened with the children she grew up with and with Simón’s invisible friend.
Warning: super heavy feels ahead.
Guillermo has gone from vampire films, to superhero worlds, to an exploration of a child’s desires of the heart, all with a special attention to details and very well constructed stories.
His next big movies are Crimson Peak, with Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, to be released in October of next year, and the sequel to Pacific Rim, scheduled for 2017.
All I have to say is: gracias, Memo. Keep the awesomeness coming!
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