Thursday, November 08, 2012


 (1993) ****

This film marks Guillermo del Toro’s directorial debut. An alchemist in 1500’s Vera Cruz created a device that could potentially give one eternal life. After an old building is demolished in 1937, the remains of this alchemist are found with a chunk of debris piercing his heart. His body had strange white flesh and the basement was filled with corpses being drained of their blood, a tidbit the authorities neglected to reveal to the public. Many years later, present time antique dealer Jesús Gris acquires an archangel statue. He discovers the ancient scarab looking Cronos device hidden in the hollow base of the statue. He winds up the gadget and a series of sharply pointed insectile legs unfurl and stab into his skin, he quickly removes the device but later notices that he’s feeling kind of good so he gives it another go. Meanwhile, a filthy rich mogul that is sick and dying who has been trying desperately to find the device tracks it to Jesús’ antique store. He sends his brutish nephew to retrieve the Cronos but Jesús is not ready to give it up for any price. From here it is not only a battle for ownership but Jesús wrestles with his own demons as his body begins to change and an insatiable lust for blood arises.

This is a decidedly different and scientific take on the vampire. One of the things I truly love about Guillermo del Toro’s films is the depth of the characters. He has such a way of making it believable that these are ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. There is a charming relationship going on between Jesús and the young granddaughter he is raising while all this other craziness is happening. Also the disdain that the brute Angel feels for his rich uncle sending him out like an errand boy to do his bidding, it is quite clear that Angel is merely in it for the money. I have been meaning to watch this film for some time now and I’m glad to have finally gotten around to it. This is the sixth film in a row that I have watched and thoroughly enjoyed, a near impossibility as Horrorthon winds to a close. I’m on a real winning streak here and I like it!


Johnny Sweatpants said...

I'm embarrassed to say that I mistook Guillermo Del Toro for Benicio Del Toro. I adored Pan's Labyrinth and both of his movies you reviewed sound great!

Octopunk said...

I saw this when it came out and although I recall it being slow I liked it for the most part. The premise is excellent.

JPX said...

I watched this 2 or 3 years ago and really enjoyed it but when I sat down to write about it I concluded that it would be too difficult to describe so I lazily avoided the task. Thanks for taking up the mantle and getting this on the Monster List!