CRONOS (1993) Reviews and overview

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Cronos del toro
Cronos is a 1993 Mexican vampire horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak; Pan’s Labyrinth; The Devil’s Backbone), and starring veteran Argentine actor Federico Luppi and American actor Ron Perlman.

Cronos is del Toro’s first feature film, and the first of several films on which he collaborated with Luppi and Perlman.

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Cronos is a modern-day vampire film which re-works the ancient themes of fear and desire. Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) is an antique dealer who, with his grandaughter Aurora, discovers a mysterious scarab-like object at the base of an old statue.

The statue’s previous owner was a 16th century alchemist who sought eternal life and the object turns out to be the Cronos which grants the user eternal life in exchange for blood. Intrigued, Jesus is drawn into the grip of the Cronos and when Dieter and his nephew Angel (who hold the alchemist’s diaries) hound the antique dealer, Aurora tries to save her grandfather but she too becomes a part of the thirst for blood…

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“A compelling, complex and wonderfully atmospheric film from Mexican director Guillermo del Toro that is as much about religion and the nature of cinema as it is a horror story. Although thematically profound, stately in pace and largely devoid of the kind of blood-letting beloved of schlock fans, this is still a highly effective chiller…” David Parkinson, Radio Times

“While Cronos may be slightly less than its reputation had it, it is nevertheless a fascinating effort. Modern horror has almost lost the ability of creating atmosphere through slowly accumulating effect and character. Cronos on the other hand builds slowly and with creepy fascination.” Richard Scheib, Moria


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“It’s perhaps true that Cronos remains the director’s finest work. Though he’s never really surrendered his own vision to that great a degree, the likes of Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II and most recently Hellboy still haven’t seen him produce a truly great film. A distinctive oeuvre certainly, but no masterpieces just yet. And yet, retrospectively, it seems that Cronos has always been the one to build on, the one which has heralded the most promise.” The Digital Fix

“This is a wonderfully baroque, gleeful subversion of the days of Hammer. A unique, terrifying mini-masterpiece.” Steve Beard, Empire

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