Director Guillermo del Toro is definitely no stranger to the horrific and the surreal. His films, including The Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth, and Crimson Peak, can be described as nightmarish fairytales that have his signature creepy, otherworldliness—magic, wonder, and a fleshy monstrosity with eyeballs on the palms of its hands. How del Toro comes up with his grotesque cinematic ideas? Or better yet, what kinds of films have inspired him to make his uniquely macabre brand of cinema?
In this Fandor video, we get to see five of his favorite films, all of which have that same unsettling, surrealistic horror that has made del Toro a horror icon. Check it out below:
Some of these titles are rather difficult to classify in terms of genre (as del Toro points out about Freaks), so calling them horror films, sci-fi films, or a semi-autobiographical Italian dramedies would slightly miss the mark. However, the common theme that del Toro sees in each of them is their perversity, horror elements, and the combination of "haunting and enchanting" that seems to be in the DNA of most of del Toro's work.
Here are the films listed in the video:
- 8 1/2 (dir. Federico Fellini, 1963)
- Brazil (dir. Terry Gilliam, 1985)
- Nosferatu (dir. F.W. Murnau, 1922)
- Freaks (dir. Tod Browning, 1932)
- Eyes Without a Face (dir. Georges Franju, 1960)
Not only should all of these films make their way into your Halloween must-watch list, but they're also incredibly nutritious for all students of film. Each one is a classic in its own right, but they also represent a haunted perversity that we don't often see done well in cinema. The fact that these films have become so iconic, especially Brazil and Freaks, is a true testament to the imaginations of their incredibly talented and visionary directors.