Hollywood Puts Limits On Horror Movies, Says Guillermo Del Toro


As his latest film ‘Crimson Peak’ hits cinemas, director Guillermo del Toro has discussed the problems with how the horror genre is treated by the major studios today.

With a cast including Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, del Toro describes ‘Crimson Peak’ as a Gothic romance - and says that the comparative unfamiliarity of this subgenre made it a hard film to get made, as it doesn’t conform to prevailing notions of what a horror movie should be.

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The director tells The Wrap that he and screenwriter Matthew Robbins began work on ‘Crimson Peak’ around “eight or nine years ago, after ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’… it came from a lifelong fascination with Gothic romance.


“The fact is, a lot of people confuse horror and Gothic romance. But the flavor of it, the combination of love and death, horror and beauty, is so unique. I’ve been a collector of Gothic romance novels and stories all my life, and I wanted to make one before I croaked.”

Explaining why it took some time to get a green light, del Toro explains, “what it had going against it for the market is that it was a female-centric movie with an R rating in a genre that hasn’t been done for 45 or 50 years. So it was not easy.“

Indeed, del Toro knows full well the problems with getting large-scale R-rated films made, as recent years have notoriously seen him try and fail to get his passion project, HP Lovecraft’s ‘At The Mountains of Madness,’ into production.

Although he was eventually able to find a studio that was willing to make ‘Crimson Peak’ (”thank God Legendary and Universal believed in it enough”), del Toro thinks modern Hollywood has too narrow a conception of what horror movies are.


“…the genre used to be very varied. You had James Whale doing ‘Frankenstein,’ of course, but you had also B-movie products. You had crazy, risky jewels like 'Freaks’ by Todd Browning, or insane independent movies like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'

“You had a range. I think that we have somewhat narrowed that range. Commerce says it’s better to just make a little investment that you have a good chance of recouping. But the language of the genre has languished.”

These remarks would seem to further indicate that del Toro has grown increasingly disillusioned with the studio system, following on from his recent declaration that he does not intend to make many more blockbusters (read more on that HERE).

While he does not go into specifics, the director tells The Wrap “for sure I’m doing a small movie next. I start shooting in June. No title yet. And I’m probably going to do “Pinocchio” as a stop motion.

“And then if the cards fall the right way, we may do “Pacific Rim 2.” I hope I do. But that decision is above my pay grade at this point, you know?”

‘Crimson Peak’ opens this Friday, 16 October.

Picture Credit: Universal