Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece PAN’S LABYRINTH is, if you like, the ‘feminine’ counterpart to his earlier and more ‘male’ centered movie THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE. It is also his most personal, deepest and fantastical, interweaving themes of war, fascism and fairy tales.
It is set in early Francoist Spain, in 1944, and is just as much about the movie’s heroine, Ofelia, as it is about the on-going nightmare of WWII and the after effects of the Spanish Civil War. The film sees Ofelia escape the clutches of her evil stepfather into an eerie but captivating fantasy world that belies it’s fairy-tale setting by introducing audiences to a series of nightmare inducing visuals and sequences. This includes a meeting with a giant toad and also with the ‘Pale Man’, an eyeless monstrosity who’s arrival is as shocking as it is frightening.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Most gruesome scene:
The pale man sequence is as creepy as it comes but the part where Captain Vidal (who is a total rotter!) has his mouth knifed and later does a DIY job of sewing it up is as sick as it sounds!