I say right this second, but what I really mean is after you finish this article. I have to admit, whenever someone brings up Guillermo del Toro in conversation (it happens more than you might think), I fangirl out a little.
Ever since I saw Pan’s Labyrinth in 2006, I have been a huge fan of his work. I wrote a paper on Cronos for a film class once, and when I got his book, Cabinet of Curiosities, for Christmas, it was hands down, my favorite present.
Earlier this week, a friend and I were talking horror, and del Toro’s name came up. He asked if I had heard of an early short film he’d done, Geometria (1987). Epic fan fail, I hadn’t. So he sent me to YouTube, and I have to share my thoughts on it. Now, don’t expect The Devil’s Backbone quality, but here are five reasons you should definitely check out this tragic comedy of horror.
1. It’s short. There’s very little time investment on something that’s an early experiment. Seriously, it’s less than nine minutes out of your day.
2. The props and the creatures. In the very first shot, a doll lamp sits on a side table and the main character slings around an noisy bat on a wire. Del Toro is known for his love of “things in jars” and his fantastic creature creations. With a production budget of only $1,000 he couldn’t do much with this early film, but the idea behind it is still there, and the makeup and prosthetics of the couple of monsters we do get to see aren’t bad for such a small budget.
3. It’s clever. Despite the 80s cheese factor, del Toro plays with words, background shots, and folklore to set up the ending to his story. In such a short film, there is no room for fluff, and even seemingly insignificant details work to set up the ultimate joke.
4. Music. Speaking of which, if you like the 80s, you’ll appreciate the soundtrack. The music sounds like a creepy, hellish carnival establishes the tone nicely.
5. Lighting. The harsh color filters set the tone and provide the hint of the film’s deeper meaning. The symbolic, red light is ever-present but strategically placed among the dominant blues and greens.
6. The twist. This tale gives off the vibe of an Twilight Zone reboot episode, and like every Twilight Zone episode, there’s a funny, little twist. It won’t blow your mind, but it might make you cock your head to the side and think, “I see what you did there, Guillermo.” You can almost see a 23-year-old del Toro just off-camera, winking at you.
(warning: this is quite bad vhs quality)