El Espinazo del Diablo (literally translated in English as The Devil’s Backbone) is a Spanish film released in 2001, written and directed by a famous Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro who was recently recognized internationally by his latest award-winning drama fantasy film El Laberinto del Fauno as known as Pan’s Labyrinth. In fact, the director claimed that The Devil’s Backbone was the first movie of his planned trilogy of war, which followed by Pan’s Labyrinth. The last movie of this trilogy would be released in the future but no information has been revealed yet.
The film sets in 1939 during the Spanish Civil War. A ten-year-old boy named Carlos, whose parents were killed in the war, is taken to an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. As a newcomer, he is teased by another boy and also has a trouble with a furious and troubled school caretaker. As if that wasn’t enough, Carlos seemed to be the only one who felt a presence of a ghost, probably a former schoolboy who mysteriously disappeared the night an unexploded bomb was dropped in the middle of the school ground. The ghost haunted Carlos with a phrase “Many of you will die.” What’s the meaning behind this deadly prediction? As the plot revealed, the audience would question what is more disgusting, a ghost or human-being?