Shots Fired! Del Toro Puts An End To The Shape Of Water Debate

It's been an interesting time these last few days with the Academy Award nominations coming out, surprising us all with two major genre films, The Shape of Water and Get Out, being nominated in the Best Picture category. This is unprecented, unheralded, and an absolute gift to the fans of the genre that wait to see each year if our passion is finally going to be given the recognition it so justly deserves.

But of course, since we can't have nice things, rather than taking this moment to celebrate a victory for horror, what happens? Classic catty in-fighting. Whats the matter this time? Apparently commentators in the community just don't feel right calling this film horror.

Now this debate isn't news. Bloody Disgusting was compelled to address it, message boards are constantly in a tizzy about it, and the other half constantly keep asking "Who the fuck cares?"

People. People fucking care, apparently. And I'm one of them. You know who else cares? Guillermo Del Toro.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Del Toro had this to say about this historic Oscars year: 

“It’s a landmark year.I say this because Jordan Peele and myself, through different alchemies, have taken the genre and each brought a very different, very personal take. I have always been interested in the dark poetics of the genre. And Jordan has evidently been incredibly compelled to tell the story from a different point of view and has elevated it to a parable of social power that I think is unrivaled.”

I want to highlight one line from this: “Jordan Peele and myself, through different alchemies, have taken the genre and each brought a very different, very personal take." This is the important bit, because its where Del Toro intimates that Get Out and The Shape of Water are in the same genres, but they are imbuing it with their own personal life to create their pieces of cinematic horror art. Del Toro continued:

“I look at the last 10 years, and I look at things like The Babadook, Under the Shadow, Tigers Are Not Afraid, and Let the Right One In. These are movies that are thematically strong, artistically strong. They are new proponents of this alchemy I mentioned, I think the time has come to allow the genre to be part of the conversation.”

And so do we, Guillermo. Let's just hope the rest of the horror community can heed your words and follow suit. Because horror films today, now more than ever, are the vital conduits for storytelling in this tumultuous future.