Cronos (1993)
September 15, 2022 6:55 AM - Subscribe

Antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) stumbles across Cronos, a 400-year-old scarab that, when it latches onto him, grants him youth and eternal life -- but also a thirst for blood. As Jesus enjoys his newfound vitality, he's unaware that a dying old man, Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook), has sent his nephew, Angel (Ron Perlman), to find the scarab and bring it back to him. But Jesus will not give immortality up easily, even risking the life of his orphan granddaughter (Tamara Shanath). Guillermo del Toro's first feature film.

89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and Criterion. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I remember watching this as a double feature with The City of Lost Children. Both are good, but very, very different. Ron Perlman's been in a lot of weird stuff.
posted by Spike Glee at 7:19 AM on September 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

I watched this movie alone in a theater at night in 1994. I was creeped out by parts, and I also really enjoyed the dark humor. I didn't feel especially creeped out when I left the theater, just that mood of "That was fun!"

When I got home I remembered I had laundry in the dryer downstairs. In the unfinished basement. To turn a light on I would have had to walk halfway across the dank basement to find the pullstring for the light.

I could not take more than one step into the basement from the bottom of the stairs. Nope, nope nope. I got my laundry the next day.

Great job, Guillermo del Toro!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:12 PM on September 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

One of the better variations on the vampire genre. Del Toro did a fantastic job first time out, and IMO, still one of his strongest. I love how he hints at backstory and explanation, but never really spells it out.

The logic building behind vampirism is one of the more interesting to come down the pike. Seemingly less to do with Christian tradition, and more of an esoteric technology for extending life, the idea of an immortality-giving insect eternally entrapped in a clockwork device appeals to my imagination immensely.

Vampirism in movies almost always seemed to be linked with sexuality/seduction in some way, but its absence here is novel. Our protagonist is infected reluctantly, and despite feeling a new invigoration initially, doesn't seem to have any desire for seeking recruits/mates. Instead, it's portrayed more like an addiction in bad need of management, which is a theme that's been explored in a few vampire movies, though rare.

The humor is fun, too. Perlman plays it well as the brutish nephew, who takes the nasty abuse from his rich uncle with a great deal of patience and fear. And I always loved the undertaker, who made a return cameo in the tv show del Toro did a few years back.

Veteran Mexican actor Claudio Brook does a fine job. Even his character is interesting, a fantastically rich and educated man, single mindedly pooling all his resources into one thing only: hunting down the Chronos device to stay alive forever.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:56 PM on September 15, 2022

It’s been a long time since I watched the, but I remember a purgative feeling of grief and dread, which is a nice alternative to the usual “vampire tone register.”
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:24 AM on September 16, 2022

I meant "pervasive," autocorrect, but "purgative" is pretty good, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:55 AM on September 16, 2022

I really enjoy this film - it occupies a similar mindspace as 'Livide' as far as "vampire" films that take radical departures from the established vamp mythos.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:05 PM on September 17, 2022

Just watched and while it's obvious Del Toro hadn't really developed his skills to the extent he's shown later, it's a fun and creepy little film.
posted by octothorpe at 7:08 PM on October 5, 2022

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