Interview With Doug Jones Star Of Pan's Labyrinth
By James Whittington, Tuesday 23rd August 2016

s LabyrinthThe first FrightFest I ever worked on for Horror Channel was back in 2006 when the event was still in the Odeon on Leicester Square. The film crew and I were housed in the top floor trying to conduct our interviews away from the hustle and bustle of the bar area below. It was in this small room we had the pleasure of chatting to Guillermo del Toro before he introduced what would be soon hailed as a masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth. Myself and the whole crew sat open mouthed as the film played to an audience, in awe of what we were seeing on screen. Scary, dark, fantastical and moving, the film cemented Guillermo del Toro's reputation as a true visionary. The film stars Doug Jones in the pivotal roles of El Fauno and the Pale Man, two incredibly different characters that bring the movie's fantastical elements vividly to life.

As the 10th anniversary of the film's release approaches and its part of our FrightFest season on Thursday, we chat to Doug about this incredible film and his amazing career to date.

HC: How did you come to work on Pan's Labyrinth?

DJ: Writer/director Guillermo del Toro came looking for me, bless his heart! We met on his first American studio film, Mimic, in 1997 when I worked just 3 days on the film as one of his "Long John" bug creatures. But it was the first Hellboy movie that really connected us as a director/actor team who understood each other. So a year after Hellboy released in cinemas, he contacted me to play The Faun and Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth, telling me no one else would do. I was very intimidated with his trust in me, but he sent a script and said, "Get an answer back to me tonight if you can!"

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it?

DJ: As I closed the final page of this glorious script, I wiped a tear away, and said, "Oh wow... I HAVE to be in this movie!" Reading his magical, brutal tale, and knowing it was to be directed by the master, himself, I knew we could be looking a classic in the face.

Pans Labyrinth Image 2

HC: You play both El Fauno and the Pale Man, two very iconic characters, how did you approach each one and did Guillermo del Toro give you much direction or back story for them?

DJ: Oddly enough, I don't remember much backstory discussion for either. For El Fauno, he just reminded me of his mythological status, his playful trickery, and that he would be aging backward throughout the film, becoming younger, more fluid and colourful each time you see him, as Ofelia was getting closer to coming home to us in the underworld. The other note was to watch the hind quarter of barn animals to see how their hooves meet the ground and how they shake off flies. For the Pale Man, it was a short discussion about waking up hungry after not eating children for long enough that he has all this sagging skin now. A disgusting beast I was.

HC: Which character did you prefer playing and has anyone come up to you at a convention dressed like them?

DJ: I connect more with El Fauno, as he has an overall sense of good about him. A nurturing side he keeps hidden under the trickery. And yes, El Fauno has been cosplayed by a couple of people at different conventions, which is no easy task! I still have yet to see anyone cosplay The Pale Man in person, although I've seen a few YouTube parodies which were brilliant.

HC: As an artist who regularly wears a costume, how difficult is it to convey emotions etc. through so much make-up and do you have to keep in shape?

DJ: If I want a creature and the performance to look organic and effortless, it is absolutely paramount that I stay in shape for whatever role I'm playing, yes. An acting performance needs to start the same way it would for any actor, in the heart and soul, feeling the character's needs, wants, fears, joys, all that. Then when layers of foam latex are glued onto you, yes, it just becomes a matter of letting that be your character's real second skin, while living and breathing through it. That may require some exaggerated movement and gestures.

Pans Labyrinth Image 1

HC: What was the atmosphere like on set as it's a dark and serious film?

DJ: There was a certain emotional gravity on this set because of the dark story, but when Guillermo's sense of humour is at the helm of the ship, we can steer into a chuckle or two here and there. When I'm looking at the world on set through the tiny tear ducts of a mask, and everyone is speaking Spanish until they need something from me in English, it's difficult to feel out that atmosphere. Because of my physical demands, "Can I survive these hours?" becomes my atmosphere.

HC: What's your most vivid memory from the making of this classic?

DJ: So many memories from that epic film shoot, but after all the fear I carried into that project regarding the Faun's Spanish dialogue. We were shooting on the final day of principle photography, and I remember tearing up as soon as I saw little Ivana Baquero walk on set in that beautiful, shiny, satin dress with those red shoes. After all her character had been through, and after all we had been through together, to see her all cleaned up and so pretty, it was just such a fitting reward for her right choices that brought her there. As it was finally called, "That's a picture wrap on Doug Jones!" all I could think was, "I did it. I actually got through this shoot alive and delivered all that Spanish dialogue on set like a native speaker" A true sense of accomplishment.

HC: This film is in my Top 5 of all time as it is for many people, why do you think it touched such a chord with so many people?

DJ: I think exercising healthy rebellion when your authority figure has lost his way, or is just evil, is a theme to which so many can relate. Whether it's from abusive or ignorant parenting, an unfair teacher, or a boss at a job who was misguided, there are so many in this hurting world who have felt empowered to go home and wrestle the monsters in their own lives from ingesting the story of this beautiful movie.

HC: How would you catagorise the movie as it straddles many genres?

DJ: I think the quickest way I've heard it is a dark fairy tale for adults. But you are so right, it is history, relationship drama, fantasy, a dash of horror, and fairytale all bundled up together.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

DJ: I don't know the UK dates, but in the USA next up, you can see me returning to Guillermo del Toro's TV show, The Strain season 3 as a recurring Ancient vampire. Then in cinemas October 21st you can see me in a couple of scenes (one human, one not) in Ouija: Origin Of Evil. And I play the title role in the feature film, The Bye Bye Man with Carrie-Anne Moss and Fay Dunaway, in theatres December 9th. I'm also very happy to be currently filming Guillermo del Toro's new movie, The Shape Of Water, releasing later in 2017.

HC: Doug Jones, as always, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us.

DJ: And thank you for having me! I'm so proud to celebrate Pan's Labyrinth's 10th anniversary with you all at the Horror Channel!

Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil - FrightFest review
Posted on Tuesday 6th March 2018

Ever wished that Terry Gilliam made more movies? The man who gave us Jabberwocky, The Fisher King and Brazil gave the world a new perspective and encouraged budding movie makers around the world to make their own visions and to stick by what they wanted to create.

Step forward Paul Urkijo whose demonic movie Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil just had its UK premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow. This film is the closest thing to anything Gilliam has made in the past but at the same time feels so original and fresh that it deserves multiple views just to appreciate the detail and love in every single frame.

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The film was successfully funded through Kickstarter in August 2017, raising 45,000 and became one...

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Confused and infuriated for being forced to move away from friends after the death of her father, Leah (Nicole Munoz) performs a blood incantation calling on an evil entity to punish her grieving mother (Laurie Holden). Immediately regretful, she realises she can't reverse the ritual curse and an unholy presence now stalks them both in their rural home.


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Posted on Saturday 3rd March 2018

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Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018

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HC: Where did the idea for Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil come from?

PU: I was inspired by the Basque story "Patxi Errementaria". He was registered by JM Barandiaran, an anthropologist priest who dedicated his life to recording stories and legends of the Basque Country. It is a legend about a blacksmith who was so ev...

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Posted on Wednesday 28th February 2018

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HC: Have you always been a horror fan?

AM: It really started when I was about 7 years old when my older brother showed me Evil Dead. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it truly rocked me. The card scene in the film did not leave my mind for days. That film is stained on my brain. I was terrified. But then I had a realisation that I loved that feeling. It was primal. Then I watched The Shinin...

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HC: You were inspired to write Attack of the Bat Monsters when you were researching 50s movies, did it take long to write?

KG: It took quite a while because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a video production facility while raising a 2-year old and 8-year old, along with my wife, who was also working. I would write at night between 9 and 11pm, and maybe a little more ...

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HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in the film industry?

PM: Since a very young age I was always into, even obsessed, with movies. Specifically horror movies, monster movies really. As a hobby, I got really into special make-up effects and drawing. It got to the point where I was so obsessed with it, I decided when I was a teen that I ha...

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Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018

As we get ready for the trip to Scotland for this year's Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow I've been lucky enough to chat to Gabriela Amaral about her powerful movie Friendly Beast which is getting its UK Premiere at the event.

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GA: Yes, there was. I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and I decided to study cinema because of him. In the beginning, I didn't know what would I do with movies. Would I be an academic? A film critic? A director? I just knew I had to live doing something that had to do with movies. I graduated in Communication Studies in Brazil where I studied horror movies and literature (specific...

Horror Channel FrightFest announces Glasgow Film Festival 2018 line-up
Posted on Thursday 11th January 2018

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This year's bold line-up, once again housed at the iconic Glasgow Film Theatre, embraces the latest horror, fantasy and sci-fi discoveries from ten countries, spanning four continents, reflecting the world-wide popularity of the genre.

Ghost Stories remains one of the scariest stage shows ever seen and on Thursday night FrightFest kicks off with a special screening of Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson's smash hit phenomenon. Starring Martin Freedman, ...

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Aspiring filmmakers living in Scotland are invited to create an entertaining Horror, Sci-Fi or Fantasy film within just 90 seconds.

Films must be shot in Scotland by Scottish residents and entries must not currently be available online. All submissions are free and must be received by Tuesday 13th February 2018. Filmmakers of entries selected to be screened will be notified by 23rd February 2018.

Here's where to apply and read terms and condi...

FrightFest and Glasgow Film Festival send out challenge to aspiring Scottish filmmakers
Posted on Wednesday 20th December 2017

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The winning shorts will be screened both at the Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow Film Festival event, held at the Glasgow Film Theatre on the 2nd/3rd March 2018 and FrightFest's London event in August 2018.

The rules for submission are that films should be no longer than 90 seconds and be in the Horror, Thriller, Scie...

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