There’s an underlying darkness to Guillermo Del Toro’s canon of work. It’s in his visionary shading of stories and the noted twist at the end of his creations. The man behind titles such as The Devil’s Backbone, Crimson Peak, and of course, Pan’s Labirynth, is always likely to have a great grasp of the horror genre and his picks for his favourite pictures from the category are notably creepy.
When you’re a director as acclaimed and adored as Academy-award Shape of Water creator Guillermo Del Toro, you have certainly had your fair share of cinematic education. While Del Toro studied at the University of Guadalajara, in truth, he learned most of his skills working with his hands as the special effects assistant to Dick Smith or simply creating small films wherever he could — creating fantasy worlds to get lost in. Like many before him, Del Toro’s real education in the movie world came from sitting in front of the screen.
It means when he was asked to create a list of the greatest horror films ever made for a Fandor video, the director was more than happy to provides his top five horror flicks. The list couldn’t have come from anybody else. From Terry Gilliam’s Brazil to Nosferatu, the films act as a window to Del Toro’s own style.
When creating a list like this, there are bound to be several films that should be included by every single person asked. Picking out the undoubted landmark film from Federico Fellini, 8½ was perhaps one of the stranger choices: “A true classic has to be both intimate and universal,” the director wrote about the film previously.
“To speak about cinema through cinema requires a voice unwavering in its passion and purity. 8½ speaks as much about life as it does about art — and it makes certain to connect both. A portrait of the teller and his craft — a lustful, sweaty, gluttonous poem to cinema.” Italian dramedies aren’t your usual fodder for a scary movie night, but there’s enough menacing undertone and surrealist twists for the film to be classified as a freaky watch.
Murnau’s Nosferatu is perhaps the most classic pick, but the strangeness of Freaks from Tod Browning will leave most feeling uncomfortable, if only for the exploitative footage. Gilliam’s Brazil remains another cult classic, and when coupled with the sixties ickfest, Eyes Without a Face, it makes for a truly skin-crawling list of horrors for your evening watching.
Watch the full video below.
Guillermo Del Toro’s favourite horror movies:
- 8 1/2 – Federico Fellini, (1963)
- Brazil – Terry Gilliam, (1985)
- Nosferatu – F.W. Murnau, (1922)
- Freaks – Tod Browning, (1932)
- Eyes Without a Face – Georges Franju, (1960)