Boundary-crossing and genre-bending in the films of Guillermo del Toro

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This chapter analyses interstices between monstrosity and transnational culture in the work of perhaps the most renowned director working through this articulation: Guillermo del Toro. His films always challenge the boundaries between times, between life and death, as well as the human boundaries—-between groups, between the self, and the monstrous other—we build and defend out of fear. His most popular work, which travels both narratively and literally through Hollywood/blockbuster global mechanisms, resists complete absorption into normative paradigms through its insistent porosity, destabilization of control and relational monstrous cartographies which resist geographical containment. Uncontainability defines both aesthetic and subject matter. Domination is undone in reversals between bravado and humility, and above all, by acceptance of, love toward, and becoming our monstrous others. The mechanisms of popular cultural production for global audiences may privilege recycling of the familiar, flattening of idiosyncrasy in favor of translatability, and dehistoricized visual spectacle. However, the insistent presence of death as companion to life, the uncanny making of strange familiar and familiar strange, and a culturally eclectic fantastical sensibility, changes the transnational life of del Toro’s films from purely market-oriented translatability into something that itself actually articulates an ethics of crossing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranscultural images in Hollywood cinema
Subtitle of host publicationdebates on migration, identity, and finance
EditorsUğur Baloğlu, Yıldız Derya Birincioğlu
Place of PublicationLanham, USA ; London
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781793648983
ISBN (Print)9781793648976
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameCommunication, Globalization, and Cultural Identity
PublisherLexington Books


  • Guillermo del Toro
  • migrant
  • Hollywood
  • Genre blending
  • fantasy


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