Of course he is. And he was in Montreal this past weekend to talk about that love of horror and dark fantasy, as well as his background in special effects, during the city’s annual Fantasia International Film Festival.
Del Toro attended Fantasia to pick up the festival’s Cheval Noir Award, which is an honorary award for filmmakers influential in the genre category (horror, fantasy, science fiction). The Mexican-born director, who at one point had his own special effects company called Necropia, also gave a master class and introduced Gilles Penso and Alexandre Poncet’s documentary Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex. Del Toro makes an appearance in that last film.
A few quotes from Montreal Gazette’s interview with del Toro stand out:
1. In discussing the long history of storytelling in human culture, del Toro said…
“You can look at a medieval cathedral and find saints and holy symbols in stained glass windows, and gargoyles vomiting rain on the corner. I’m a gargoyle guy.”
2. In discussing the tension between art and popularity in filmmaking, del Toro said…
“…I don’t care about budget; I care about freedom.”
3. In discussing his specific interest in the horror genre, del Toro said…
“I think there is a poetry—even if it’s a dark poetry—and a beauty to the images you can conjure in horror as a genre… It’s very close to the poetry and beauty you can conjure in fairy tales. No other genre offers you that chance…”
That “dark poetry” is on full display in Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), which has its 10th anniversary in October (and will have new, very cool art when it gets re-released by the Criterion Collection).
You can read the rest of the Montreal Gazette interview here: