The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about some of the strangest and most supernatural experiences of his life. In addition to two encounters with ghosts, he describes how he had a very vivid encounter with a UFO as a young man — and it looked like crap.
“You sound like a complete lunatic, but I saw a UFO. I didn’t want to see a UFO,” says del Toro. “It was horribly designed.” He described buying a six-pack — which he insists he didn’t drink! — with a friend, and the pair drove out to go look at the stars on the side of an isolated freeway near Guadalajara.
As they sat alone in the darkness, they saw a light on the horizon moving “super-fast.” After they honked at it and flashed their lights, it “went from 1,000 meters away [to much closer] in less than a second. Although del Toro described it as the scariest moment of his life, the director of Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim couldn’t help but note how visually unimpressive and hackneyed the spacecraft was, even as he and his friend were fleeing for their lives.
It’s a bit weird to think that a real UFO could seem derivative compared to the Hollywood versions that dominate the popular imagination, or that the entertainment industry has created otherworldly conveyances that are weirder and cooler than those (allegedly) made by real aliens. Still, this was many years ago — and there’s no word from del Toro about the possible stylistic advances in alien technological design in the time since.
“It was so crappy,” the Oscar-nominated director continued to say about his harrowing experience with a janky UFO. “It was a flying saucer, so clichéd, with lights [blinking]. It’s so sad: I wish I could reveal they’re not what you think they are. They are what you think they are.”