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Cronos (English Subtitled) 1993 R

Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious and audacious feature debut with Cronos, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jess happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself the possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious American (Ron Perlman).

Starring:
Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman
Runtime:
1 hour, 32 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 30, 2005
Format: DVD
For some reason I developed an early low opinion of Mexican horror films and have since avoided them. Fortunately I didn't realize Cronos was Mexican ans so got to see this truly unusual film directed by Guilliermo del Toro. While it will never win a place on the heights there's a surprising amount of inventiveness and imaginative film work in something that probably has one-tenth the budget of the average Hollywood failure.

Imagine, if you will that a European alchemist fled Europe to Mexico in the 16th Century. Gaining appointment as the Governor's clockmaker he set about making a machine that would prolong his life. He succeeds and lives until a building collapses on him in modern times. His estate is broken up and sold and the real story begins when an antique dealer, Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi), acquires a statue of an angel. In it he finds a golden scarab-like machine. One with horrific powers that Jesus inadvertently activates.

Seeking the scarab for his own purposes is Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook) and his last remaining relative Angel (Ron Perlman). They will stop at nothing, but a repeatedly foiled by the scarab's power over Jesus. Another key player is Aurora Gris (Tamara Shanath) who has no lines but seems to preside over the life and death drama that plays out before her.

There are a few grim and violent moments, but, for the most part, Cronos gains its momentum from its atmospherics. Imagine a screenplay written by Poe and directed by Fellini with echoes of Don't Look Now and you will have a sense of the film's feeling. Colors are dark, sets are detailed, and the minimal special effects are telling. Especially the insides and operation of the clockwork scarab.
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Format: DVD
Guillermo Del Toro's modern Grimm's Fairy Tale "Cronos" focuses as much on character as it does horror. In many respects, it's a throw back to the horror comic books or movies he watched as a kid updated. Antiques dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) gets more than he bargains for when he covers a ornate gold "beetle" at the base of a decorative angel. He and his devoted granddaughter and wife discover the promise of immortality but also the horrible price one must pay when given a "gift" such as this.

Rich industrialist Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook) has his brutish nephew Angel (Ron Perlman)searching for the device himself. Only Dieter knows about the history of the device, what it can do and the consquences of using it. When Jesus resists Dieter's offer for the device, it also puts his family in peril.

A rich, allegorical horror film that recalls the classic films of the 30's and 40's with its focus on character and the consquences of their actions at the expense of endless blood and gore, "Cronos" is a thoughtful, sad movie that demonstrated the considerable talents of Del Toro ("The Devil's Backbone", "Blade II", "Hellboy"). It's got its moments of gross out gore but Del Toro focuses his story on the delicate relationship between Jesus, his wife and granddaughter.

The film is presented with the original Spanish voiceover presented in English. After that, the film is a mix of Spanish and English as Dieter and Angel speak both sparingly throughout the film while Jesus and his family speak nothing but English. It would probably help to have on the subtitles if you don't speak English during the film as it switches back and forth pretty consistently.
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Format: VHS Tape
Before Guillermo del Toro came to Hollywood to make big budget thrillers such as Mimic and Blade II, he was in Mexico making movies that are truly unique and filled with tension. His directorial debut, Cronos, is a hugely original movie and take on the vampire theme. Guillermo also wrote the screenplay.
The movie opens up with a narrator telling the story of an alchemist who made a metallic, beetle like device (the Cronos) that when placed against skin, has a scorpion like stinger that stabs the person and injects a tiny amount of bloody fluid. The injections cause the alchemist to live for centuries and only dies when he is in line at a bank in Vera Cruz during an earthquake and is crushed by falling debris.
Some time later, an antique dealer, Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi), discovers the Cronos device in the base of an old statue he has acquired. After wondering what the device might be for, he inadvertently sets it off and is pricked by it's stinger. The whole process of watching this happen is fascinating, and you are never quite sure if there is some sort of living insect inside the enclosure, thanks to Guillermo's David Lynch like photography and editing of the scene.
Jesus soon discovers that he has more energy and feels more youthful than he has in ages. But unbeknownst to him, there is an evil and rich old man, Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook) who has been searching for years for the device. He has tracked it down to Jesus' shop and sends his simple minded nephew, Angel de la Guardia (brilliantly portrayed by Ron Perlman), to get the statue that has stored in it, the Cronos device. When the statue turns up empty, Dieter instructs Angel to get the device at any cost.
In the meantime, Jesus has become addicted to using the device.
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