Secret special effects of ‘Hellboy’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ revealed

Dissecting Fantasies: The Secrets of Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro‘s imagination is a fascinating abyss full of the kind of monsters that inhabit both our dreams and our nightmares. The Mexican mastermind behind films such as "Pan’s Labyrinth" and "Hellboy" has created worlds full of the kind of fantastical creatures that amuse and terrify, often at the same time.

And, perhaps surprisingly in a movie world now dominated computer-generated special effects, many of those creatures were painstakingly built by hand.

If you, like me, watched "From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga" about a hundred times in the late 1980s, geeking out on how they built Jabba the Hut from pure rubber and wondering how the guy inside managed to breathe, then you’ll appreciate one of the exhibits on show down here as part of the Guadalajara International Film Festival.

Inaugurated yesterday, "Dissecting Fantasies: The Secrets of Guillermo del Toro," is a sequence of visual presentations that show how some of the creatures in Del Toro’s films came to be, from storyboard to film set.

Actor Doug Jones transforms into the the pale, child-eating monster man from from Pan’s Labyrinth before our very eyes. We watch artists put together Hellboy’s disproportionately large left hand.

And the making of everything from the sword wielded by Prince Nuada in "Hellboy II" to the insects that crawl all over Ofelia when she wanders into the grisly underworld in "Pan’s Labyrinth" becomes clear through a series of 15 different video executions built from behind-the-scenes footage and photos taken during the making of those films.

Creepy, but riveting.

— Deborah Bonello in Guadalajara, Mexico for La Plaza

Image: A photo of a screen shot taken in the exhibition "Dissecting Fantasies: The Secrets of Guillermo del Toro". See more here on Flickr.