|“||Be careful. What slumbers there... is not human.||„|
|~ The Faun, warning Ofelia about the Pale Man.|
The Pale Man is the secondary antagonist from Guillermo del Toro's 2006 fantasy film Pan's Labyrinth.
He was played by Doug Jones (who also portrayed the faun).
During Ofelia's quest to prove herself worthy that she hadn't turned into an ordinary human, she was sent to the lair of the legendary creature known as the "Pale Man", who is an unfriendly monster with pale elastic skin and has a immense appetite for small defenseless children. Ofilea must successfully retrieve a dagger which was kept locked in Pale Man's lair (the first task was about getting the key). The Faun warned her not to eat anything from the luxurious banquet served at the sleeping Pale Man's table, and also let her take his pet fairies with her to serve as a guide during this journey.
When Oflelia visits Pale Man, he is sleeping in a chair at his dining table next to a warm crackling fireplace. Once there, Ofelia quickly found the dagger with some help from the fairies, but when she was about to leave, she just couldn't resist temptation and ate two juicy plump grapes from the Pale Man's banquet, in spite of the fairies reminding her not to do so. This, as expected, woke the Pale Man from his deep silent slumber, who quickly picked up his eyeballs off a platter on the table and placed them into the eye sockets in the palm of his claw-like hands, to see and immediately set off to find and eat Ofelia.
The girl watched in horror as he mercilessly devoured two of the fairies that were accompanying her. As Ofelia rushed to escape, the exit closed just seconds before she was able to reach it, but she quickly drew another one with a piece of chalk that she was carrying and both her and the remaining fairy managed to escape just in the nick of time, leaving the Pale Man behind to presumably go back into slumber at his table.
There were good reasons why the fairies warned Ofelia about the Pale Man, as shown on the walls of the creature's lair, there are paintings of the Pale Man eating live children one by one. And in a corner of Pale Man's lair were a large pile of childrens' clothing and shoes, which indicates that he does eat his victims entirely, as there are no bones or remains left.
During the time the story takes place it is in post–Civil War Spain in 1944 (after Francisco Franco has come into power). When most people were boiling roots and "literally making almost stone soup for dinner--nobody had food." So the banquet laid out upon the table in Pale Man's lair would have been very, very tempting for children who at the time would have been practically starving.
- The Pale Man has similarities to the Dark Master from Bridge to Terabithia. Both are evil beings that live in the protagonist's fantastical world and they parallel with the protagonists stepfather/ father. Incidently, both films have a female protagonist dying.
- It has been said that, for the fairy eating scene, Doug Jones had to bite condoms filled with fake blood.
- It took Doug Jones five hours to get in Pale Man's suit.