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You'll Barely Recognize Santi From The Devil's Backbone Today

One of director Guillermo del Toro's best horror films is the 2001 cult favorite "The Devil's Backbone," a haunting and creepy ghost story set at an orphanage in the late 1930s during the Spanish Civil War. It follows new orphan Carlos (played by Fernando Tielve), who begins seeing apparitions that seem to coincide with whisperings about a boy named Santi (portrayed by Junio Valverde) who went missing at the orphanage around the same time a warplane dropped a bomb in the orphanage's courtyard, lodging the deactivated weapon there for all to see. Carlos hears a ghostly voice warn him that many at the orphanage will soon die. When Carlos finally sees the ghost, Santi's apparition is a pale young boy with nightmarish eyes and a bloody head wound. 

While Santi is arguably one of the most important characters in the disturbing movie, its fans might not recognize the actor who plays him now. Valverde is now in his 30s and has acted in numerous projects since "The Devil's Backbone," according to IMDb.

Junio Valverde is an actor and director now

The Spanish actor Junio Valverde is probably best known by horror fans for his role as Santi, the ghostly orphan from "The Devil's Backbone," but he has starred in several TV shows and movies produced in Spain, including "U.C.O." and "Tierra de lobos," according to IMDb. The actor's official website is under construction and he hasn't been active on social media in years, but he is credited as both the actor and director on a short film titled "Vert," suggesting he hopes to follow in Guillermo del Toro's footsteps. The Kickstarter page for the project describes it as "a surreal tale of resistance to the deterioration of relationships over time and the attempt to freeze life at its best moment."

Regardless, with blue eyes and shaggy dark hair, the now-adult Valverde appears as a far cry from the ghastly ghoul depicted in one of del Toro's earliest and most powerful films.