Horror Movie Matters: #6: Pan's Labyrinth 2006 Dir. Guillermo del Toro

#6: Pan's Labyrinth 2006 Dir. Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro makes dark fairy tales. From his vampire tale Cronos, to his take on Hellboy, there are mythic and magical aspects to all of his work. His 2006 effort, Pan’s Labyrinth is the film that perhaps best exemplifies the director’s childlike and horrific sensibilities. Often considered a thematic sequel toThe Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain in the 1940s just after The Spanish Civil War and juxtaposes a young girl’s journey into a fantasy world with the cruelty of reality. In accordance with mythology, the rule of threes applies. Guided by a mythical faun, young Ofelia must complete three tasks in order to prove that she is the long lost princess of the underworld. These tests of heroism mirror struggles she has in her waking life and reinforce both her strengths and weaknesses. Some may not call this a horror film, but instead prefer the term “dark fantasy”, however, the infamous “Pale Man” sequence should be all the evidence you need to place this in the horror genre. Filled with the fantastic and the grotesque, Pan’s Labyrinth is a visual feast that stands as a shining example of the relationship between fantasy and horror.