Guillermo del Toro is one of the most talented filmmakers working in horror today. Throughout a fascinating career, the Mexican auteur has created several unforgettable spectacles, such as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water which have helped him establish a global following of extremely dedicated fans.
In a past interview, del Toro was once asked about his approach to horror filmmaking and his ideas about horror cinema in general. While claiming that he was different from other horror directors, he explained: “As a director, I’m not that interested in scares. I use my horror movies more like a fairy-tale. I do horror images, but like a fairy tale.”
“Fairy tales and horror divide neatly into two camps: cautionary and anarchic,” del Toro added. “There are horror movies in favour of obedience and horror movies in favour of disobedience… There’s a lot of horror that’s pro-structural, pro-patriarchal and pro-institutions, but there’s also horror that is really, really anarchic and rebellious.”
Although he does not prefer having scares in his horror films, one iconic work of horror cinema scared him so much that he decided to renounce meat for a while. The legendary film which turned Guillermo del Toro into a strict vegetarian for a period of time was none other than Tobe Hooper’s 1974 gem The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Initially marketed as a work based on true events, the horror classic chronicles the misfortunes of a group of friends who are terrorised by a family of cannibals. The film’s stature has only grown in subsequent years, with critics and horror fans routinely pointing out its hard-hitting sociopolitical commentary.
On multiple occasions, Tobe Hooper has said that he thinks of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as an allegory about meat. While some scholars have criticised it for its depiction of violence against women, Hooper has maintained that it is more concerned with the chain of life and the systematic murder perpetrated by our society.
“I gave up meat while making that film,” Hooper said. “In a way, I thought the heart of the film was about meat; it’s about the chain of life and killing sentient beings, and it has cannibalism in it, although you have to come to that conclusion by yourself because it’s only implied. Guillermo del Toro also gave up eating meat after seeing that movie.”