In case you haven’t heard, the genre film to see this season is The Shape of Water. The movie is a strange blend of dark fantasy and odd romance, and has been getting rave reviews here at Nightmare on Film Street. A lot of the praise has been appropriately heaped on the film’s auteur, Guillermo del Toro.

Del Toro tells some of the most creative paranormal tales in film today, with movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage in his repertoire. As it turns out, however, not all of del Toro’s experiences with the paranormal are entirely fictitious.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, del Toro describes his own encounters with the unexplained. He recounts a night he spent in a reportedly haunted hotel with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and composer Danny Elfman (we at NoFS are already trying to get invited next time). In another story, he describes hearing a spirit sigh in a family bedroom.


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You sound like a complete lunatic, but I saw a UFO. I didn’t want to see a UFO. It was horribly designed. I was with a friend. We bought a six-pack. We didn’t consume it, and there was a place called Cerro del Cuatro, “Mountain of the Four,” on the periphery of Guadalajara. We said, ‘Let’s go to the highway.’ We sit down to watch the stars and have the beer and talk. We were the only guys by the freeway. And we saw a light on the horizon going super-fast, not linear. And I said, ‘Honk and flash the lights.’ And we started honking.

Probably the most detailed story he tells is of being chased by a UFO, the sight of which was terrifying and apparently…just a bit disappointing.

..Went from 1,000 meters away [to much closer] in less than a second — and it was so crappy. It was a flying saucer, so clichéd, with lights [blinking]. It’s so sad: I wish I could reveal they’re not what you think they are. They are what you think they are. And the fear we felt was so primal. I have never been that scared in my life. We jumped in the car, drove really fast. It was following us, and then I looked back and it was gone.

 

After describing the real monsters he’s encountered, del Toro spends most of the interview talking about the ones he’s created. Belief, especially in the paranormal, has heavily influenced his art, and it’s given us some fantastic entertainment. So to all the ghosts and aliens that have appeared to Guillermo — keep it up. We appreciate it.

For more Guillermo del Toro, check out our list of his films stuck in development hell, or our podcast covering some of his most important films. For more true spooky encounters, check out our coverage of real life UFO research funded by the US. And for the inevitable announcement of a del Toro/Mignola/Elfman ghost-hunting team-up movie, stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter.