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The Expert Use of Color in Films by Guillermo del Toro

By H. Perry Horton

Del Toro’s entire career has been vividly rendered in shades of such depth and shape they’re practically walking around. Hellboy isn’t just red, he is the burnt brick hue of a smoldering inferno; Blade isn’t just drenched in dark blue, the color is a cowl he wears like a protective suit of armor, cloaking him in the darkness others fear; and Edith isn’t just often dressed in white, when at Crimson Peak that white turns off itself, hinting at the souring of her innocence yet to come.

In a new comparative compilation by Quentin Dumas, the colors of Del Toro as used in the majority of his films are catalogued and analyzed for their symbolic and emotional characteristics, of which there are plenty, because besides being one of cinema’s most visually-distinctive directors, Del Toro is also one of its most well-versed in storytelling traditions from all places and eras. As such, he doesn’t make movies as much as he does sinister and marvelous slices of mythology, layered with beaming and subtext and highlighted in a panoply of vibrant colors.

Deltoro Color Hellboy