The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth: Studies in the Horror Film


The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth: Studies in the Horror Film


Editor: Danel Olson

Contributing author: Walter Rankin


Document Type

Book Contribution


Before Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro wrote, produced, and directed two films held by secrets of the past, The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). Both films garnered international acclaim, with the second breaking box-office records for a Spanish feature and winning three Oscars. Both films rank among the best films of the decade.
For the first time, editor Danel Olson approaches these movies as cinematic siblings whose quests are bound together. In addition to interviews, never-before-seen photographs, and concept drawings, international scholars offer ten essays on the themes of philosophy, sex, metaphor, feminism, fascism, music, fantasy, ghosts, and history in the films, as well as del Toro’s literary and artistic influences.
Sharing reflections on making the movies are fourteen of the actors and four key members of the crew. Del Toro himself muses on the struggle to follow his film-dreams, Ivana Baquero (Ofelia) contemplates the deeper lessons of magic, and Fernando Tielve (Carlos) portrays the supernatural reality of being inside del Toro’s art. Drawings and sketches from the film are included inside, and the cover image of the faun is based on the brilliant sculpture work of Max Roudaut.
Through stories and sources unavailable until now, this volume brings scholars, cinephiles, and collectors closer to the most impassioned screen-alchemist of our time. Del Toro emerges as a man of multitudes: a “cinematic creator and father,” a “madman,” a “crazy genius,” a “very naughty boy,” a “storytelling monster,” and “the one who changed my life forever.” This is an indispensable investigation of two of the early 21st century’s key films.



Publication Date


Publication Information

Rankin, Walter. "Defusing the Mythology of World War II: Fairies, Fighters, Ghosts, and Bombs in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone." In The Devil’s Backbone & Pan’s Labyrinth: Studies in the Horror Film, edited by Danel Olson. Lakewood, CO: Centipede Press, 2016.


Copyright 2016

The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth: Studies in the Horror Film