14 Of Guillermo Del Toro's Coolest Monsters
When it comes to movie monsters, Guillermo Del Toro has rightly received the rank of maestro. In a world of growing and unavoidable CGI, Del Toro is a committed creator of things that go bump in the night, often with practical effects. The physical presence of these creepy creatures can be felt palpably on screen, and his knack for inventing and portraying all sorts of things that go bump in the night is part of what makes him one of the best directors of the modern film era.
Here are 14 of Del Toro’s absolute coolest critters.
Tooth Fairy (Hellboy 2)
Cute and horrifying in perfect balance, the tooth fairies make an early impression in Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. The bean-headed little beasts zoom around like toddlers off too much Kool-Aid, before feasting on an unfortunate unnamed grunt of the BPRD. It’s difficult to create something that is simultaneously terrifying and seems to demand a little head pat, but Del Toro does it well.
Reapers (Blade 2)
A bit of a throwback to a Marvel movie before there were capital M MARVEL movies, Del Toro directed the second Blade film. Perhaps one of the details that stuck with viewers the most was his rendition of the “reapers”, vampires that have developed a… much more efficient feeding apparatus than a couple of overly pointy canines.
Ghosts (Crimson Peak)
It feels weird to have an entry that just says “ghosts”, but that’s precisely part of the reason Del Toro’s ghosts from Crimson Peak make the list. Ghosts are well-trodden fare at this point not only in cinema, but civilization. Rather than default to pale apparitions, Del Toro pulls these decidedly corporeal, bright red horrors out of his mind to reinvigorate the ghost story.
Santi (Devil’s Backbone)
A second ghost, and though this one follows a more traditional ghostly appearance, it’s still so striking as to stick in the mind of most everyone that’s seen The Devil’s Backbone. Santi is the ghost of a (SPOILERS) dead orphan, with eyes that hypnotize in a less than pleasant way. Not to mention the creepy head wound with a bloody floating cloud to match.
Quinlan (The Strain)
The TV series The Strain may not have Del Toro as directly involved as some of his movies, but his fingerprints are all over it nonetheless. Unsurprising, as it’s based on a book series that bears his name as well. Though the vampires of the Strain in general are top-notch, Quinlan, a human-strigoi (Strain for vampire) hybrid, is one of the very best. Rolling around with ice-blue eyes and a bone-handled sword, it’s fairly undeniable that Quinlan is one bad mother et cetera.
Angel of Death (Hellboy 2)
A pattern you’ll find in Del Toro’s monsters is the taking of a creature or entity that already has a fairly accepted appearance and instead throwing that all out the window and creating an entirely new representation. Not much is a better example of that than the appearance of the Angel of Death in Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. It would have been easy to pop a black robe and a scythe on a ghostly looking lady and call it a day, but instead we get this incredible creation with eyes on the wings and head… plates? Look, it’s hard to describe, but not hard to agree that it rocks.
Knifehead (Pacific Rim)
Pacific Rim, Del Toro’s underappreciated ode to the kaiju film, unsurprisingly has some great kaiju included in it. And as such, we’re entering the Kaiju block of this list, with 4 of the best. A list within a list! Now that’s content. Anyway, the first kaiju on the list is Knifehead, a monster that gets a name THAT cool and is actually able to live up to expectations.
Otachi (Pacific Rim)
Next up is Otachi, an acid-spitting flying bat creature that is pretty cool. What pushes Otachi over the top and onto this list, however, is the fact that we discover, via an absolutely metal birthing scene, that Otachi is pregnant with a hungry lil’ kaiju that enters the scene shortly after Mama Otachi exits.
Slattern (Pacific Rim)
The hammerhead shark is an all-time animal. There’s a reason every 6-year-old on Earth has a t-shirt with one on it. So when you take a hammerhead shark and turn it into a massive kaiju, it obviously kicks ass. That’s simple math.
Mutavore (Pacific Rim)
Our final kaiju is Mutavore, a crescent-headed beauty that’s seen destroying the Sydney Opera House. I don’t know how else to describe Mutavore outside of simply: check out that damn head. Look at the curves on that thing. It’s perfect. It’s like the Eames chair of monster heads.
Mr. Wink (Hellboy 2)
Gorillas are already starting from a point of high cool factor. Pop a couple tusks on one, now we’re cooking with grease. Then add a metal fist connected to a chain that the ape in question can FIRE AT ENEMIES? C’mon now.
Forest God (Hellboy 2)
Also known as The Last Elemental, this fight occurs fairly early on in Hellboy 2, to let you know that you are indeed, watching a good ass movie. The creature perfectly nails the vibe of an ancient power that’s equal parts beautiful and destructive, and is as pissed off as you’d assume any avatar of the environment would be these days.
The Faun (Pan’s Labyrinth)
The first appearance of the Faun in Pan’s Labyrinth is a moment that made everyone in the theater sit up a little straighter. Looking like an ancient wood carving brought to terrifying life, the Faun is a perfect menacing guide throughout the movie. If you’ve ever seen Pan’s Labyrinth, the Faun has popped into your head at least a couple times uninvited since.
The Pale Man (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Of course. The Pale Man was never not making this list. Even to omit him as a contrarian move would reek of desperation. It’s arguable that the Pale Man is Del Toro’s most iconic creature of all, the one that has almost become famous as a stand-alone creation outside of the movie he steals. The Pale Man is a single scene in Pan’s Labyrinth, yet he’s the first image most people think of when the movie’s mentioned. From tip to tail, a creature for the ages.
Top Image: GuillemMedina/Warner Bros. Entertainment