“I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I think it’s better if we stay together.”
The second night of HMF and I’m revisiting a favorite from nights of Halloween past.
Guillermo del Toro’s debut feature has all of the themes he comes back to again and again. Del Toro himself said:
“To me, Cronos contains the essence of what I want to do … a sincere declaration of how I view the world.”
Both literally and figuratively, this is vintage del Toro.
His best work uses and subverts genre trappings and fantastical horror to showcase the beauty and monstrosity of humanity. The horror of the monsters in the del Toro canon always pale in comparison to what humans are willing to do to one another in a quest for power, money, or youth.
Del Toro said of Cronos, “I do what I’ve done in Devil’s Backbone, what I’ve done in Pan’s Labyrinth, etc. Which is, I take the central monster figure and I make it the saddest figure in the tale.”
This is a story of the inherent tragedy of vampire lore. One of the central themes in many vampire stories is the loss of humanity in the pursuit of immortality. The inability to accept the reality of death results in a half life. Vampires are immortal, they reject death, but only by becoming death. They live forever, but only in darkness, only by consuming life itself. #fucktwilight
These stories are often about the destructive potential of the human quest for immortality. Thus, Guillermo del Toro is the perfect storyteller for the genre, and it in turn is a perfect playground for his first feature.
Cronos is arrestingly grotesque and beautiful, often at the same time. A monster story about what it means to be human. A horror film about love, family, redemption, mortality, and sacrifice. Or to put it more simply, Cronos is Guillermo del Toro at his best.
Will I Ever Watch It Again? Most definitely. As is easily seen above, Cronos is included amongst my very favorite Halloween Movie Fest films from the seven years I’ve done it.