Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del ToroAt the beginning of 2014, Yahoo Movies had this very ambitious undertaking in which it was going to list the 50 greatest living actors. (Roughly one a week for the whole year.) Despite my consistency of giving my two cents on the list as it trickled down (most of which I disagreed with,) Yahoo abruptly stopped posting after #44.

I don’t know what happened or why they stopped. Maybe it had to do with the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman in February and Robin Williams in August. (Both of whom would’ve undoubtedly made the list.)

This has inspired me to tell you about my personal list of the most influential actors and filmmakers that have inspired me when I conceptualize my stories.

Today we start with: Guillermo del Toro. Guillermo-Del-Toro-and-Doug-Jones-on-the-set-of-Pans-Labyrinth

My first introduction to del Toro’s work was in 2002 when he directed Blade 2. He also wrote, directed, and had heavy creative collaboration for the Hellboy films, but it wasn’t until I saw Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto Del Fauno) in 2006 that I realized just how much of a fan of his I truly was.

I know I’ve discussed Pan’s Labyrinth in the past so I’m not going to go into an artistic interpretation of the work. Not only was Pan’s Labyrinth written and directed by del Toro, he also came up with all of the original creature designs!

Like Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro’s other Spanish films left me with a sense of simultaneous wonder and terror when I saw El Orfanato (The Orphanage) and El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone.) Just like in M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier films, del Toro also consistently finds these brilliant child actors to be the catalyst of very adult stories.

hitchkubDel Toro’s influence is obvious with similarities in directorial and cinematic styling to that of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick. Del Toro also often uses natural light for dramatic and terrifying effect, and his shots make him probably one of the most meticulous directors working today.

He is currently writing and is set to direct a darker re-imagination of Pinocchio (due for a 2017 release) as well as sequels to Pacific Rim and the long-awaited Hellboy 3. More recently, the first trailer of his next film, Crimson Peak, is set to release on October 16 and looks to be one of his most terrifying and beautifully shot films yet.

Guillermo del Toro is a Renaissance Man filmmaker; writer, director, and creature designer. With his hand in each creative proverbial cookie jar, I consider him the Wes Anderson of horror. If you haven’t yet, check out any of his former films. If you’re a fan of horror and suspense, you won’t be disappointed.

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