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One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone (2001) is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones.
This is a Director-Approved DVD with special edition features. Its restoration was supervised by del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro. Also are new and archival interviews with Del Toro about the creation of his film, ¿Que es un fantasma?, a 2004 making-of documentary, an interactive director’s notebook, four deleted scenes, with commentary by del Toro, a new interview with scholar Sebastiaan Faber about the film’s depiction of the Spanish Civil War and a program comparing Del Toro’s thumbnail sketches and Carlos Giménez’s storyboards with the final film.
- 108 minutes
- In color
- In Spanish with new English subtitles
- Aspect ratio: 1.85:1