The Supernatural Cinema of Guillermo del Toro

Critical Essays


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About the Book

Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro is one of the most prolific artists working in film. His directorial work includes Cronos (1993), Mimic (1997), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Hellboy II (2008), Pacific Rim (2013) and Best Picture The Shape of Water (2017). He has also worked extensively as a producer, with several screenwriting credits to his name. As a novelist he coauthored The Strain Trilogy (2009–2011), which he also developed into a television series for FX in 2014. Del Toro has spoken of the “primal, spiritual function” of his art, which gives expression to his fascination with monsters, myth, archetype, metaphor, Jungian psychology, the paranormal and religion. This collection of new essays discusses cultural, religious and literary influences on del Toro’s work and explores key themes of his films, including the child’s experience of humanity through encounters with the monstrous.

About the Author(s)

John W. Morehead is an independent scholar who specializes in new religious movements, the intersection of religion and popular culture, and interreligious conflict. He lives in Syracuse, Utah.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by John W. Morehead

Foreword by Doug Jones
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9595-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2075-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword Doug Jones 1
Introduction John W. Morehead 7

The Magical Spirituality of a Lapsed Catholic: Atheism and Anticlericalism (S. T. Joshi) 11
At the Mountains of Mexico: The Echoes and Intertexts of Lovecraft and Dunsany (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 22
Slime and Subtlety: Monsters in del Toro’s ­Spanish-Language Films (Ann Davies) 41
Time Out of Joint: Traumatic Hauntings in the Spanish Civil War Films (Karin Brown) 58
The Child Transformed by Monsters: The Monstrous Beauty of Childhood Trauma (Jessica Balanzategui) 76
The Ambivalence of Creative Desire: Theogonic Myth and Monstrous Offspring (Sidney L. Sondergard) 93
Henry’s Kids: Othered Children and Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster (John Kenneth Muir) 112
Where the Wild Things Are: Monsters and Children (Alexandra West) 130
Bloodsucking Bugs: Horacio Quiroga and the Latin American Transformation of Vampires (Gabriel ­Eljaiek-Rodríguez) 146
The Birth of Fantasy: A Nietzschaen Reading of Pan’s Labyrinth (Jack Collins) 163
Menstruation as Heroine’s Journey in Pan’s Labyrinth (Richard Lindsay) 182

About the Contributors 201
Index 205

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent…original and penetrating insights”—Journal of Popular Film and Television
  • “Fills a gap…remarkable…the essays of this book, written in highly readable styles, serve as testimonies of future fantasies and new ways to see reality”—Journal of Fantastic in the Arts