Pan's Labyrinth is in many ways a companion to The Devil's Backbone, combining magical fantasy with the harsh realities of the Spanish Civil War. Ofelia is a young girl uprooted to a remote military outpost commanded by her new stepfather, a general in Franco's army. Powerless and lonely, Ofelia discovers a neglected labyrinth behind the family home. There she meets Pan, a fantastical creature who challenges her with three tasks which he claims will reveal her true identity.
The Devil's Backbone:
A deliciously dark horror, The Devil's Backbone tells the tale of a remote Spanish orphanage during the final days of the Civil War whose young inhabitants are brutally terrorised by Santi, a decomposing spirit who stalks the building's dark, decaying hallways. But as the film builds to its explosive finale, the children learn the true story of Santi's death. Produced by Pedro Almodovar, the film heralded Del Toro's return to more personal filmmaking.
Del Toro's chilling directorial debut marked him out as a formidable talent. Blackly comic Jesus Gris, an elderly antiques dealer who discovers an ancient mechanical device once belonging to a 16th century alchemist. Shaped like a beetle, the device houses an immortal parasite which offers the ageing antiquarian the chance of eternal life. The cost? An extreme aversion to daylight and an agonising thirst for human blood.