Speaking of directors who deal in eccentric cinema, what bizarre films list would be complete without Guillermo del Toro? Well, you're in luck. This modern master of dark fantasy returned in 2017 with The Shape of Water, his cold-war espionage romance between a mute woman and the magical fish creature she loves. Though the plot recalls the "soothing the savage beast" trope of King Kong and Beauty and the Beast, del Toro cited childhood connections to his religious upbringing, when he was moved by the tragedy of Jesus Christ, and modern parables like Frankenstein as inspirations.
And maybe the film isn't even so fantastical after all: del Toro points out that the themes of "gender marginalization, toxic masculinity, dominance, overbearing power, [and] racial divisions" are really about the issues of today, though he set the story in the 1960s to allow audiences to lower their guard and absorb the strange fairytale in all its glory.