Celebrate Guillermo del Toro’s birthday by watching his first feature film

Acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro turns 53 on Mon., Oct. 9, so why not celebrate his birthday by watching one of his movies?  In 1993, he wrote and directed his first feature film, an odd – but very memorable – vampire story called “Cronos”.

Here is a quick review of “Cronos”, and you can find the film via Netflix DVD and Amazon Streaming!

“Cronos” (1993) – When you think of Dracula, what image appears?

For many, it’s Bela Lugosi, who sports a black cape and exposes his fangs in the original “Dracula” (1931).  Lugosi’s Dracula promotes many vampire traditions, like an aversion to sunlight, no mirror reflection, a coffin doubling as a resting vestibule, and so on.  Guillermo del Toro’s “Cronos” comes with some of these traditions, but his film is, without question, a most unique vampire picture.

In present-day Mexico, Jesus (Federico Luppi), a gentle and friendly grandfather, runs an antique gift shop while also finding the time to play hopscotch with his young granddaughter, Aurora (Tamara Shanath).  He loves Aurora and his shop, and life appears swell, however, on one fateful day an archangel statue appears in his place of business. It seems ancient, and a determined buyer, Angel de la Guardia (Ron Perlman), is anxious to purchase it.

Jesus sells the statue for a hefty sum but sans a strange gold broach-like object that he found in a hidden bottom compartment sometime earlier. He kept it for himself.  This weird-looking item is a confusing puzzle of sorts, and the narrator explains that this contraption was invented by an alchemist in 1536. It’s called The Cronos Device.

Well, Jesus becomes attracted to this device like a moth to a flame, but unfortunately, like most addictions, it’s not for his own good.  Guillermo also wrote this unusual monster story and creatively captures the pull between humanity and the undead. The desire for blood certainly is strong for one particular vampire, but he tries to sort out his new urges with his current human relationships.

As expected, they do not nicely coincide.

No such scene is more evident than an episode in a men’s bathroom with small pools of blood sitting on the counter and floor.  It delivers a major ick moment and will – unfortunately – stick with you for quite a while.  The film offers several more intricate shots along the way including a 360-degree view of a dying body laying at the bottom of a cliff, and a potential homage to “Touch of Evil” (1958) with an entanglement on the rooftop of a 10-story apartment building with the name of the chief antagonist: DE LA GUARDIA in the background.

If you have a pretty extensive horror background and believe that you have seen it all, well, not until “Cronos”.  (Netflix DVD, Amazon Streaming)

⭐⭐⭐   out of  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image credits: October Films, Trailer credits: You Tube Movies

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