Guillermo del Toro rarely makes a misstep as a director, but the fun “Pacific Rim” was arguably his weakest film. It worked reasonably well as a ‘format-specific’ feature (in other words, seeing it in IMAX 3D, as I experienced it), but I give him a pass on its flaws–if only because he’s usually so damn brilliant. His unconventional 1993 vampire debut feature, “Cronos”? Excellent. The troubled 1997 “Mimic”? Don’t judge the under-performer, until you’ve witnessed the director’s cut. 2001’s “The Devil’s Backbone”? Marvelous. And he did some wonderful work picking up the 2nd chapter of the “Blade” franchise, with 2002’s “Blade II”–just about everyone acknowledges that it’s the best of the trilogy. And hopefully, Guillermo will be completing his own triptych, by wrapping up the story arc from 2004’s quite good, “Hellboy”, and its 2008 superior follow-up, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”. Oh, and 2006’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” is one of the ten best films of last decade. Imagine what Mr. del Toro could’ve done with the bloated “The Hobbit” trilogy, if he had taken the reins as originally intended. It may have actually been good.
And, in just two weeks, we get the director’s latest, “Crimson Peak”. Return to form? It certainly looks like it could be. Plus, it already has one renowned supporter in horror novelist titan, Stephen King. SK remarked, after an early screening, that the film is “gorgeous…and just fucking terrifying”. Quite an endorsement. And King’s son, author Joe Hill, labels “Crimson Peak” a “blood-soaked Age of Innocence” and a “glorious sick waltz through Daphne du Maurier territory”. I can’t purchase my ticket soon enough! Here’s hoping the King boys are correct. With the fine Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing (love it!), and fantastic Jessica Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe–my appetite is even more whetted. The eye-popping romantic horror Gothic also stars the superb Tom Hiddleston, and “Pacific Rim” headliner Charlie Hunman. This motion picture also boasts a shared screenplay from GdT and veteran Matthew Robbins, along with beautiful cinematography from Danish marvel, Dan Laustsen. “Crimson Peak” appears to be a treat…and just in time for Halloween! See it in IMAX 3D on October 16th.