Guillermo Del Toro, You are Metal as F*ck
Recently, my girlfriend and I watched Pacific Rim together—she’d never seen it, and I’ll watch that movie any time. Throughout the film, I nodded along with the awesome moments and tipsily yelled, “EMPTY THE CLIP!” at her. Later in the week, we decided to give the vampire apocalypse show The Strain a chance, and while it had some issues—like plenty of genre shows, the mid-season episodes were a little slow—we loved it overall. What these two pieces of media have in common is that they’re both outlandish in their sci-fi vision, they’re both metal as all Hell, and they’re both the products of Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.
Christ’s head in a blender, Guillermo del Toro is metal. Insane, prolific, and totally fucking metal. This is the guy who made Hellboy, king of the underground comic books, into a Lovecraftian action-horror epic (sorry, two Lovecraftian horror-action epics). Who created a chilling ghost story surrounding fetal deformities in an orphanage. Who made the ancient god Pan into a body-modded fantasy beast inside the mind of a child barely dealing with the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. When he’s not rewriting how we consider vampires three fucking times, he’s producing creepshows like Mama and bizarre kids’ flicks like The Book of Life and Kung Fu Panda 2. He studied with special effects make-up god Dick Smith. He co-wrote Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies. What do you have? Some spiked leather, a Bathory tattoo? Fuck off, you sniveling dentist. Bow before Guillermo del Toro.
It’s easy to overlook how goddamn fucking metal del Toro is because a) his movies are larger-than-life mainstream, and b) they have a childish sense of wonder to them. Hell, Pacific Rim is really just you as a kid slamming Ultraman action figures into each other to the tune of $190 million. But isn’t metal also a larger-than-life expression of what we loved as children? Anyone who forgets what metal meant to them in their youth is inherently false, if you ask me; to paraphrase Pantera, there’s a part of you that should always be sixteen. And as much as I loved small, indie, raggedy movies in my youth, I also loved big and epic and somewhat ridiculous stuff, too. Del Toro’s work appeals to the metalhead because it appeals to big kids who still love monsters.
But let’s forget the big-budget movies for a second. Let’s look at the man. Let’s look at a guy who fled Mexico, the country of his birth, with his family after he had to ransom his kidnapped father in Guadalajara while at the same time making a big-budget giant cockroach movie. The dude has publicly stated that he’s a lapsed Catholic who feels like an involuntary exile from his own homeland. Very few people can speak of that kind of real-world experience, of that kind of emotional gravity. That’s who I want writing the insane set-piece comic book movie—not some gun-for-hire warped by Hollywood or some tried-and-true writing team who just wants to make sure all the characters ends up in their stupid costumes. I want melodrama, and sadness, and a sense of how deep the human heart can go. I want Guillermo del motherfucking Toro.
Guillermo del Toro, you are metal as fuck, and we salute you. Your dreams of fairy-tale horrors and the tactically-armed people who hunt them are the stuff of any great record. You are drift-compatible with our metal hearts. We’ll see you at the Bolivar show.