Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Return Of 31 Days Of Horror: #28 Cronos

Guilmero Del Toro’s career, is one of the most interesting and unique in modern cinema. Del Toro is a true original, and that most valuable of artists, one whose imagination is utterly untamed and unique. Del Toro makes dreams with very sharp teeth, fairy tales that leave you exhilarated and unsettled when the lights go out. Terry Gilliam with financial success, Hayao Miyaziki with a wicked sense of humor and the true beating heart of a romantic.

Del Toro ranks among my personal favorite filmmakers. Made on the cheap in his native Mexico, Cronos is one of those rare first films in which we see a directors identity born fully formed. It contains many of the themes and visual fetishes that Del Toro has based his career on. The intersection of myth and reality, the corrosive effect of power, even that pursued for the right reasons, the tweaking of myth to get it closer to it’s most primal origins, the sadness of the supernatural in our modern world, the monsters that so perfectly externalize the protagonists struggles, and the way in which imagination makes the unbearable into play.

Cronos tells the story of an old man who finds a unique and dangerous little machine in his antique store. A clockwork insect that’s got a nasty bite. Soon he starts feeling and looking much younger, connecting with the world in a way that’s alluded him for awhile, he also starts to crave blood, and develops a nasty burn whenever he comes in contact with the sun. As he loses his grasp on his humanity, his only tie to the mortal world comes from his young grand daughter.

Things get even worse when the machine becomes the heart’s desire of a twisted dying billionaire, and his young thuggish son played to a hilt by Ron Pearlman, in the beginning of what would end up being one of the directors most fruitful relationships. While it may lack the elegance of The Devil’s Backbone, or Pan’s Labryinth, or the sheer energy of his comic book work (though not it’s grizzly sense of humor and terror, witness the scene where the poor old man must withstand his own embalming) Cronos is a strong start that for the watchful marked Del Toro as a Director to be reckoned with, even if only hinted at what would come next.

(And that gets us just about caught up. Thanks for your patience everyone. Till then stay sick. Always wanted to say that).

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