- Cronos (film)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro Produced by Arthur H. Gorson
Written by Guillermo del Toro Starring Federico Luppi
Music by Javier Álvarez Cinematography Guillermo Navarro Editing by Raúl Dávalos Studio Fondo de Fomento Cinematográfico
Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía
Universidad de Guadalajara
Distributed by Prime Films S.L.
Release date(s) May 3, 1993(Cannes Film Festival)
December 3, 1993 (Mexico)
Running time 94 minutes Country Mexico Language Spanish
Cronos is a 1993 Mexican horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring veteran Argentine actor Federico Luppi and American actor Ron Perlman, the first of several films on which del Toro, Luppi and Perlman have collaborated. In North America the film was given limited release to 2 theaters where it grossed $17,538 its opening weekend and grossed a total of $621,392 playing at a total of 28 screens.
The prologue states that in the year 1535, an alchemist in Vera Cruz developed a mechanism that could give eternal life. In 1937 an old building collapsed, killing the alchemist who had marble white skin. Investigators never revealed what else was discovered in the building, but viewers are shown basins filled with blood from a corpse.
In the present, an old antique dealer, Jesús Gris, notices that the base of an arcangel statue is hollow. He opens it and finds a 450-year-old mechanical device in the base. After winding the ornate, golden, scarab-shaped device, it suddenly unfurls spider-like legs that grip him tightly, and it inserts a needle into his skin which injects him with an unidentified solution.
The viewer later sees that a living insect is entombed within the device and is meshed with the internal clockwork. This insect produces the solution. However, Gris is unaware of this detail until later.
Eventually, he discovers that his health and vigor are returning in abundance, as is his youth. His skin loses its wrinkles, his hair thickens and his sexual appetite increases. Unfortunately, he also develops a thirst for blood. This at first disgusts him, but he eventually succumbs to the temptation.
Meanwhile, a rich, dying businessman, Dieter de la Guardia, who has been amassing information about the device for many years, has been searching for the archangel statute with the cronos device. He has appropriated several archangels already. He sends his thuggish nephew, Angel, to purchase the arcangel at the antique shop.
During a cruise Gris sees blood on a men's room floor and decides to lick it. Angel then finds Gris and tries to beat him into giving up the device. But when Gris faints, Angel places his body inside a car and pushes it off a cliff. Gris dies, but in one of the more gruesome episodes of the movie, he revives in an undertaker's establishment before he can be cremated. He later reads the program for his funeral and opens his mouth which had been sewn shut.
He returns to his home where his granddaughter, Aurora, lets him in. He works on a letter to his wife where he comments on he makes observations on the changes that his body has made. His skin is now purple. He also notices that his skin burns in the presence of sunlight and then sleeps in a box to avoid the sunlight. The elderly antique dealer is not willing to give it up, and endangers his young granddaughter in his fight to keep it.
Eventually, he brings the device to Dieter's business headquarters, where the businessman offers him a "way out" in exchange for the device. Gris comments on his skin and the businessman tells him to peel it off because he has new skin underneath, which is marble white like the dead alchemist. Aurora follows him there. Jesús agrees to hand it over in exchange for knowing the "way out," which turns out to be Dieter stabbing him, though not killing him. Before being able to strike the killing blow, Dieter is incapacitated by Aurora, Jesús' granddaughter. Dieter is eventually killed by his nephew, Angel. Angel later confronts Jesús on the rooftop of the building and beats him severely, though Jesús throws them both off the roof, killing Angel. Upon awaking, Jesús destroys the device and returns home, greatly weakened, with his granddaughter. In the final shot of the film, Jesús is lying in bed with white skin dying, surrounded by his wife and granddaughter.
- Federico Luppi as Jesús Gris
- Ron Perlman as Angel de la Guardia
- Claudio Brook as Dieter de la Guardia
- Tamara Shanath as Aurora Gris
- Margarita Isabel as Mercedes
- Daniel Giménez Cacho as Tito
- Mario Iván Martínez as Alchemist
- Farnesio de Bernal as Manuelito
- Juan Carlos Colombo as Funeral Director
- Jorge Martínez de Hoyos as Narrator
- Luis Rodríguez as Buyer
- Javier Álvarez as Bleeding Man
- Gerardo Moscoso as Drunk
- Eugenio Lobo as Stoned Man
- Adriana Olivera as Tango Student
The movie was well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 91% of the critics gave the movie positive reviews, with an average rating of 7.4 and the critical consensus being: "Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent." The internet site The Vampire Movies placed it sixteen in its countdown to the twenty best vampire films of all time.
The movie was first released in 2003 as a "10th anniversary edition" with some extras. On December 7, 2010, The Criterion Collection released Cronos on both DVD and Blu-ray. The disc contains audio commentaries by cast and crew, Geometria, a short horror film by Guillermo del Toro, a video tour of del Toro's home office, and several interviews.
- Cronos at the Internet Movie Database
- Cronos at AllRovi
- Cronos at Metacritic
- Cronos at Rotten Tomatoes
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