El espinazo del diablo (2001)
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Spine number 666 @ Criterion Collection :D
Guillermo del Toro's El espinazo del diablo (aka. The Devil's Backbone) is obviously a precursor to El laberinto del fauno (aka. Pan's Labyrinth) in style, content and atmosphere. Nevertheless I think El laberinto del fauno is better on all three of those. That being said, I cannot stress enough that I would really like to see del Toro make more of this. The magical realism and child's perspective are excellent ingredients for timeless movies. By making the historical context more horrific than the actual horror components (ghosts or fauns), del Toro subverted both genres. Horror elements are added for dramatic effect against the horrors of real life (the Spanish Civil War in El espinazo del diablo and Francoist Spain during World War II in El laberinto del fauno). On top of that, when observed from a child's point of view, it all gets even more horrific because of the innocence we associate with young children. Because of that both El espinazo del diablo and El laberinto del fauno are some of the most touching "horror" movies I've ever seen. While del Toro's next film Crimson Peak is a return to his dark fantasy style, we will have to wait and see if it brings back some of these defining qualities that made him a great director.
Very, very cool movie. Immensely enjoyed that. It's a rich movie ... filled with poetry, symbolism and history, yet still creepy and scary. Hollywood should listen.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #101 in They Shoot Zombies, Don't They?
This movie ranks #306 in The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #772 in The Criterion Collection