“Cronos” (1993) – When you think of Dracula, what is the first image to appear in your head?
Bela Lugosi, perhaps?
Bela sports a black cape and exposes his fangs in “Dracula” (1931), and not unlike that image, vampires have their own traditions: sunlight is deadly; mirrors don’t cast reflections; coffins are vestibules for sleep, and so on.
Guillermo del Toro’s film comes with some of these traditions, but without question, it’s a most unique vampire movie.
In present-day Mexico, Jesus (Federico Luppi), a gentle grandfather, runs an antique gift shop while also finding time to play hopscotch with his young granddaughter, Aurora (Tamara Shanath).
Life appears swell, however, on one fateful day, an archangel statue appears in his shop. It’s not particularly striking, but a determined buyer, Angel de la Guardia (Ron Perlman) anxiously wishes to purchase it.
Jesus sells the statue for a hefty sum, but without a strange gold broach-like thing that he found in a hidden bottom compartment sometime earlier. He keeps the small object for himself. The item is a confusing puzzle of sorts, and a narrator explains this contraption was invented by an alchemist in 1536.
It’s called The Cronos Device.
Jesus is attracted to this device like a moth to a flame, but unfortunately, like most addictions, it’s not for his own good.
Guillermo, a master storyteller, creatively captures the tug 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.
If you’ve consumed plenty of vampire films and believe you’ve seen-it-all, then watch “Cronos”. You should be pleasantly surprised.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 3
Ron Perlman stars in “Cronos” (1993)
Ron Perlman stars “Drive” (2011) with Albert Brooks
Albert Brooks stars in “Defending Your Life” (1991) with Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep stars in “The River Wild” (1994) with Kevin Bacon
Directed and written by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Mario Ivan Martinez, and Tamara Shanath
Runtime: 94 minutes
Image credits: October Films