Most visually stunning films: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

The most important characteristic for any “visually stunning” director is, first and foremost, a vivid imagination and the natural ability to tell stories that others would never conceive. Which is why, in Hollywood’s sea of copycats, filmmakers of this ilk are so few and far between. One director who’s refreshingly atypical, though, is Guillermo del Toro, the fanboy favorite responsible for the fairy tale horror of The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, as well as the decadent Hellboy movies.

The scene above, from Pan’s Labyrinth, exemplifies del Toro’s singular vision: set designs that call to mind J.R.R. Tolkien by way of Fangoria and ingenious monsters that establish permanent residence in viewers’ minds.