Guillermo Del Toro is becoming a kingmaker of sorts in the realm of horror. He has become particularly adept at finding and championing the work of filmmakers working within the genre of Latin horror. Not that he wasn’t already one of the masters himself. But in the last few years he’s taken to finding the work of young and talented, emerging filmmakers and god-fathering their projects from script to screen.
In the past, Del Toro’s helped Juan Antonio Bayona get The Orphanage greenlit when no one else was biting. That film subsequently went on to gain both vast critical acclaim and a VERY respectable domestic box office (and killed in foreign worldwide sales). Another film creative who’s become a benefactor of Del Toro’s after his animated fantasy film ‘Latchkey’s Lament‘ caught his imagination is Troy Nixey. Nixey’s current project ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark‘ finds Del Toro onboard as both co-screenwriter and producer!
As a result, the ‘Del Toro’ name has gained a particular cache that is being equated with a kind of a Midas touch with low-budget/high-quality horror that shows no signs of tarnishing. This is a win-win situation all around, especially as Del Toro’s schedule bottlenecks with epic tentpole films such as the two Hobbit films that will have him relocating to New Zealand for nearly four years.
In his latest foray as the “Don of miedo,” Del Toro is standing behind Spanish director Guillem Morales, who is helming the Spanish-language psychological horror film ‘LOS OJOS DE JULIA‘ (Julia’s Eyes). Guillem has garnered some acclaim with several of his award-winning short films, and on his first feature ‘El Habitante Incierto‘(The Uninvited Guest) [an English-language remake is in the works], but has yet to gain the kind of wide-raging exposure that ‘Julia’s Eyes’ may attract as a result of Del Toro’s backing. And no one has ever spiraled anywhere but UPWARD as a result of it.
The film stars renown Spanish actress Belén Rueda (The Orphanage), who is tailor-made for these kinds of slow-boil horror films where character and good story-telling triumph over plot — a classic hallmark of Latin horror. Rueda plays a woman whose twin sister presumably committed suicide due to the onset of blindness, but who slowly suspects foulplay. Suffering from the same eye disease as her befallen sister, she must solve the mystery before becoming entirely blind herself. Or worse.
Early details indicate that ‘Julia’s Eyes’ is a first-person P.O.V.-er, a detail that redily lends itself to an endless pool of suspenseful opportunities from claustrophobia to ataques de pánico– the HORROR!. The film is being produced and distributed by by Rodar y Rodar(The Orphanage/ Las Manos Del DEL Pianista). Guillem Morales and editor Joan Manel Vilaseca are currently in New Zealand working on the final cut of the film, with “active imput” from Guillermo Del Toro, according to R&R’s website. ‘Ojos’is set to be released in Spain this coming on October 20, 2010. No word has been disclosed yet on a U.S.-based distribution.
If the trailer’s chilling pace and poster are any indication, both ‘Los Ojos De Julia‘ and Guillem Morales look to have a fighting chance at gaining the same kind of buzz and patronage that previously found Del Toro’s other godchild, The Orphanage. If that is the case, there are many more fright-mongers waiting in the shadows who also stand to benefit from the grace of Guillermo Del Toro’s creative and generous good will – and golden touch.
¡Viva el Rey!