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8. 'The Devil's Backbone'
Release date: 2001
Scare factor (1-10): 9
Why it's great: It's probably not a coincidence that Del Toro's other major horror title of the last 13 years is set in the waning days of the Spanish Civil War. I've seen some critics dismiss Del Toro based on his mainstream work, saying he hasn't dealt enough with his heritage, like he has some obligation to only make movies with explicitly Mexican themes or stories, but there are few mainstream English-language filmmakers who would take a step sideways to tell a small story, entirely in Spanish, about a boy dealing with his father's death who is sent to live in what he quickly becomes convinced is a haunted orphanage. This doesn't have the same sort of fantastic anything-goes imagery as "Pan's Labyrinth," but it is stark and scary and did I mention the dead kids? Because there are dead kids. Creepy, creepy, creepy dead kids.
- Drew McWeeny