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Transnational political horror in Cronos (1991), El Espinazo del Diablo (2001) and El Laberinto del Fauno (2006)

posted on 2023-06-09, 03:52 authored by Dolores TierneyDolores Tierney
Following Robin Wood, Tanya Modleski, and other horror theorists, this chapter addresses the political function of horror and horrific tropes (including aspects of horror’s mise-en-scène) in Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, El espinazo, and El laberinto del fauno. It takes into consideration the significant transnationality of the horror genre itself both in terms of its classical Hollywood origins that effectively absorbed a range of stylistic, cultural, and industrial practices of nations outside the United States, as well as what critics have argued is its potential as a genre for “travel[ing] . . . across different national cultures and contexts [and] also across media forms and fan culture.” This includes Cronos’s acknowledgment of Mexico’s own horror/fantasy film tradition, which is heavily hybridized, drawing in particular on the style, iconography, and even narratives of the 1930s Universal horror films Frankenstein (James Whale 1931), Dracula (Tod Browning 1931), and Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz 1933). The chapter positions del Toro as a part of this hybridized and transnational film history with institutional roots on both sides of the US/Mexico border. It contends that these films take advantage of a shared Hispanic imaginary and explore cultural, local, and political material specific to Mexico/Latin America and Spain.


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  • Published

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Palgrave Macmillan

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Book title

The transnational fantasies of Guillermo del Toro

Place of publication

New York



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  • Music Publications

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Deborah Shaw, Ann Davies, Dolores Tierney

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