October 9, 1964 -

"When I was a very young child, about 2 years old, I woke up one night after watching an Outer Limits episode called 'The Mutant'. I was so scared by it that I started to see green ants on the wall and monsters in my closet. That's exactly the moment when I made a pact with the monsters. I told them "If you're nice to me and let me go to the bathroom, I'll devote my life to you" That's the reason I started to do horror films."

A Mexican film writer/director. Del Toro’s first picture was Cronos (1993), a psychological horror film that combined elements of a drug parable with the traditional fountain of youth story.

For his follow-up, del Toro moved to the United States and made Mimic (1997). Originally intended to be one segment of a horror anthology film (ie Night Gallery), del Toro managed to save it and expand it when the original project fell through. Mimic is, without a doubt, one of the best horror films in recent memory. Making the most of a limited budget, del Toro takes what in lesser hands would be a camp-fest (giant bugs under New York) and crafts an emotionally charged and viscerally exciting film. Every frame is carefully composed, and the editing is nothing short of masterful. In a lot of ways (visually, at least), it reminds me of the original Halloween (1979).

Del Toro’s next film took him back to his roots. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) is a ghost story set in an orphanage in the Spanish Civil War. It’s very old-fashioned yet suggestive, reminding one of Val Lewton’s 1950’s b-movies, with a little bit of Lord of the Flies mixed in. It also boasts some amazing performances.

Del Toro’s most recent film is the action sequel, Blade II (2002). This film has been unfairly maligned. It's one of those action films where plot and character are really secondary, held back in favor of a pure emotional response created by the movement–– the ballet of action (ala John Woo). As a consequence, the film is essentially one continuous action scene sprinkled with vignettes of plot. There are some who would say that nothing but action scenes does not make an interesting film. To that, I respond, "Says who? Did I miss a memo?"

His next project is titled Hellboy, based on the comic book of the same name, about a demon with a solid stone arm (Hellboy) summoned by Nazis at the end of WWII. He is rescued by the Allies and sides with the forces of good. As near as I can tell, this'll be kind of a Lovecraftian noir action flick. The release date should be sometime in 2004. Should be interesting.

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