One of the modern masters of horror, Guillermo del Toro has built one of the strongest & strangest legacies in the genre. He has crossed over to every medium that would allow his particular brand of horror; he’s been involved in horror themed comic book films, novels, & even video games.
-Silent Hills (Cancelled Video Game)
In collaboration with video game designer Hideo Kojima & del Toro film regular Norman Reedus, Silent Hills was supposed to be the greatest horror game in history. Now, the project won't ever see the light of day.
The mysterious & horrifying demo “P.T.” released in 2014 sent the game world into frenzy. People wanted this insane mix of two influential Mexican and Japanese horror figures but Komani soon after announced the cancellation of the project.
10. Cronos (1993)
The debut of an icon.
Cronos is the Mexican vampire film that introduced the world to exactly what Guillermo del Toro had to offer. The film has the earliest examples of his infatuation with the gothic side of horror & his heavy use of vampires.
Debuting at Cannes Film Festival in 1993, Cronos spans from the years 1536 to 1997 and tells the tale of a device that gives the person wearing it eternal life. A breathtaking feature film debut for del Toro, the film has many iconic scenes but one of the best moments scenes is the close-up view of the whirring golden cogwheels inside the device.
It also features Argentine actor Federico Luppi and Ron Perlman, men who would become a regulars in his work.
9. Mimic (1997)
Guillermo del Toro’s first move into the mainstream was creature feature based on short story of the same name. Mimic features an insects created to kill cockroaches but years later the insects turn into monsters able to shape shift.
Looking back on the film, the claustrophobic feeling matched with terrifying bug monsters continued to show what del Toro was going to offer in the genre. The mood and atmosphere that the director brings changes what could have been another 1990's bomb to a respectable cult classic.
Fun Fact: This is also the first project that paired the director with Norman Reedus and the incredible character actor Doug Jones.
8. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Described at del Toro’s most personal film, The Devil’s Backbone is a haunting period piece set in final year of the Spanish Civil War. 12-year-old Carlos arrives at a very mysterious boy’s orphanage after his father death in the war and he begins to unlock secrets about the orphanage during his stay.
While mixing subjects politics, gothic style hauntings, and abuse; The Devil’s Backbone is unlike any ghost film in the past 20 years. Sadness engulfs this movie and it begins to feel like a surreal living nightmare.
Also, Santi is one of the most horrific ghost to ever grace the big screen.
7. Blade II (2002)
In another vampire themed film, this time Guillermo del Toro took over the reigns of the Blade franchise. Following the bad ass 1998 hit, Blade 2 continued the story of Marvel's vampire hunter and unsurprisingly became the most successful film in the franchise.
Continuing where the first film left off, del Toro brought his gothic take of the vampire genre to the ass kicking Blade. The film features Guillermo del Toro signatures like virus, campy vampire drama, and a cartoonish feeling. The creature vampires featured in the film would also be something del Toro would explore later in his work.
This was also the second time Norman Reedus and Guillermo del Toro worked together as Norman plays a big supporting role. The next time they would work together would the aforementioned canceled Silent Hills game.
6. Hellboy (2004)
Trusted with yet another comic book adaptation, Hellboy is one of Guillermo del Toro’s most recognized achievements in film. Teaming up with Ron Perlman, a man featured in 6 of his film, del Toro brought to life the nearly impossible to adapt graphic novel known as Hellboy.
Dark Horse comics needed a smash hit to compete with Marvel & DC in the film department and Hellboy was exactly that. With a box office of a respectable 99 million and favorable critical reviews, this was del Toro’s biggest mainstream success until the 2008 sequel took home more than 160 million dollars.
There has recently been talks and an online campaign for a third installment of the beloved Hellboy franchise so it looks like our favorite red devil might be back with Guillermo del Toro returning to direct.
5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Undoubtedly the greatest work from del Toro has to be the beautiful and chilling Pan’s Labyrinth. Premiering at Cannes film festival and the winner of 3 Academy Awards, Pan’s has been described as the best film of 2006 and sits at a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
What can be explained as Alice in Wonderland for adults, Pan’s Labyrinth is another Spanish Civil War period film from Guillermo del Toro but this time it’s set 5 years after the war. Like The Devil’s Backbone, the film mixes terrifying scenes and whimsical elements with ease. Doug Jones makes another appearance in a del Toro project but this time he plays the iconic roles of Faun & the creepy Pale Man.
Also the film reportedly got a 22-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Not many other people can say they did that.
4. The Strain-Novel (2009)
Moving from film to literature, The Strain novel is yet another vampire themed piece. This time the vampires are more sinister creatures, far less sexy than their Blade and Cronos counterparts. Written in collaboration with Chuck Hogan, the trilogy of books became an instant cult classic with a series of comic books following it. Dealing with a virus, vampires, and intense drama, the project was similar to del Toro’s other work but crossed over to a different medium.
The impact of Guillermo del Toro was spreading like a plague in one of his stories. From novel to comic book to a television series, The Strain is a hit.
3. Pacific Rim (2013)
I know many don’t feel Pacific Rim should be here but the film is a kaiju (monster) movie in vain of classics like Them! & Godzilla. It’s rooted in the horror genre no matter how much sci-fi/action takes over. Del Toro brought some much needed heart and soul back to the monster movie genre.
Shifting his usual stories of vampires or small infectious creatures, Pacific Rim became a global phenomenon as he passed his previous box office record and grossed over 100,000,00 million dollars worldwide. While he showcased the intense war between Earth and the Kaiju, Guillermo del Toro also showed the relationships of the people involved in this war. Morality and intimacy played big parts in the film not only metaphorically but also quite literally.
Sadly the sequel has been delayed but is still moving forward at a later time.
2. The Strain-TV Series (2014)
Moving from the biggest of big screens to the small screen, The Strain television show is part of the television horror renaissance. Along with shows like Hannibal, The Walking Dead, and AHS; The Strain brings some of the most ridiculous horror moments on television with their creature feature vampires.
The FX show is a perfect adaptation of the source material with Guillermo del Toro being heavily involved; he even directed the pilot and has been the exective producer since day one. The Strain has slowly became a must see show and proved to be among the best vampire television shows.
The Strain has also just recently been picked up for a third season. Looks like another year of the del Toro influence.
1. Crimson Peak (2015)
This brings us to the return of haunted gothic loving Guillermo del Toro with his newest piece titled Crimson Peak. Being released in America on October 16th, the perfect Halloween time horror film is a 19th century set romance filled fright-fest.
Starring Mia Wasikowska & the incredible Tom Hiddleston, the romantic gothic film is set to make a splash in the box office. Promising to bring back the whimsical moments in horror but maintaining the terror del Toro is known for, Crimson Peak should to be another milestone in the Guillermo del Toro horror legacy.
The bloody fairytale of tormented romance & ghostly entities also received major praise from horror author Stephen King, as he called the film "gorgeous and just fucking terrifying". A big praise from an iconic name.