Guillermo del Toro is a master of bringing fantasy and horror to live on screen. A renowned director, writer and producer, del Toro has captivated audiences with films ranging from the beautiful and bizarre (Pan’s Labyrinth) to the over the top and fantastical (Pacific Rim). Elaborate and horrifying creatures and monsters fill many of his films, adding an otherworldly quality to already bizarre stories. Del Toro’s latest movie, Crimson Peak, is the director’s take on Gothic horror, with grotesque ghosts haunting an old Victorian mansion.
Del Toro’s films usually feature at least one bizarre or shocking scene. To commemorate Crimson Peak, here’s a look at five of the craziest moments in Guillermo del Toro’s acclaimed filmography:
The Battle of Hong Kong - Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim was basically a two hour brawl between kaiju and Jaegers, but the most spectacular of the fights was Gipsy Danger’s brawl against two kaiju in the streets of Hong Kong. After the other Jaegers are decimated by the kaiju’s initial attack, jaeger pilots Mako and Raleigh charges into action, blasting the first kaiju to bits with its plasma cannons and taking on the second kaiju wielding a massive cargo freighter. When the second kaiju carries Gipsy into the stratosphere, Mako reveals the Jaeger’s secret weapon: a collapsible sword. A perfect blend of brutal and goofy, the fifteen minute battle sequence epitomized Pacific Rim as a blockbuster film that could pull off over the top action without seeming cheesy or fake.
Vampires Aren’t Sexy - The Strain
Variations of vampires appear in several of del Toro’s projects, including The Strain, a novel series turned FX television show. In an early episode, del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse showed off just how different his vampires were from the sex crazed bloodsuckers typically seen in horror films. While unknowingly transforming into a vampire, rocker Gabriel Bolivar discovers that he no longer has need of his....um, man parts. In fact, while going to the bathroom, Bolivar’s junk just falls off into the toilet, leaving a shiny, smooth pelvis where his twig and cherries were a moment before. While there are plenty of other scary scenes in The Strain, Bolivar’s shriveled up genitals was the first scene that some really messed up stuff was about to happen on the show.
Hellboy vs. Sammael in the Subway - Hellboy
Mainstream audiences were first exposed to del Toro’s imagination and penchant for the bizarre thanks to the Hellboy films, two movies based on the popular Dark Horse comics. One of the more ridiculous fight sequences in the movies feature Hellboy squaring off against Sammael, a tentacle covered hellhound summoned by Rasputin. The fight scene is brutal and unforgiving, with Hellboy trading blows with the monster as they fall through an elevator shaft and into a crowded subway station. While the monster appears to gain the upper hand, Hellboy finishes the monster off after Sammael threatens a box full of kittens. You can threaten humans all you like, but screw with a kitten and Hellboy will seriously mess you up.
The Pale Man - Pan’s Labyrinth
A dark fairy tale set during the Spanish Civil War, Pan’s Labyrinth is widely considered to be one of Del Toro’s best movies. One of the scariest and most bizarre moments in the Spanish language film is Ofelia’s journey into the lair of the Pale Man, an eyeless, grotesque monster played by Doug Jones. Sent by a mysterious faun to obtain a dagger from the Pale Man, Ofelia enters the lair and realizes that the Pale Man eats children. As she silently retrieves the dagger, she sees a large feast sitting in front of the seemingly asleep monster. Ofelia ignores the warnings of her fairy guides and eats two grapes from the spread, alerting the Pale Man to her presence. After eating two of the fairies, the Pale Man chases after Ofelia and nearly catches her before she escapes his lair. While she escapes unharmed, the faun abandons Ofelia for her disobedience, leading to deadly consequences in the final third of the movie.
Monster in the Bedsheets – Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
While del Toro didn’t direct Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a 2011 remake of a made for TV horror film, he did write and produce the film. In the movie, a small girl named Sally temporarily moves into an ancient New England mansion, not knowing that the house is infested by gnome like creatures who obsessively desire the teeth of children. After leaving threatening messages for the family and attacking one of the workers restoring the home, the creatures target Sally and sneak into her home at night. Sally notices a lump in her bedsheets and grabs a flashlight to see what’s underneath. As Sally shines the flashlight on the creature, she gets her first glance at the creatures menacing her throughout the film, causing her to break down into hysterics as the gnome and several others scurry across the floor. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark showed that del Toro could even turn Tooth Fairy stories and into a terrifying experience.