Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My years in horror: 1993

Wow. 1993 sucked. I could just bite the bullet and name The Nightmare Before Christmas the best of this particular year. Really. We had three Stephen King adaptations that should have been awesome (The Dark Half, Needful Things, and TV's The Tommyknockers). Jason went to hell, literally and figuratively. Leprechaun introduced us to Jennifer Aniston. And, well, that's just about it. I know Return of the Living Dead 3 has its fans but that doesn't cut the mustard for me. And I really like Julian Sands in Warlock: The Armageddon, which is much better than the first Warlock movie. But are any of these the best? Um, no. Thankfully, a Spanish director decided to throw his hat in the ring, otherwise 1993 would have just been a waste of 12 months.

You may not have seen Guillermo del Toro's Cronos and I'm telling you right now you need to make up for that.

Cronos is sort of a vampire movie in the sense that there are practically immortal beings who must feed on the living to continue to survive. There are mechanical insects and an amazing play on time. And Ron Perlman (Hellboy) is in it as the devious villain Angel de la Guardia.

There are interesting family dynamics at play, too. Deiter de la Guardia uses his nephew, Angel,as a thug but that comes back to bite him in the butt. The effects are good enough, especially the marble skin used for the dying "vampires." What is most important, however, is that Cronos shows del Toro's grasp of story and character that he will use later in big effects movies such as Hellboy and Blade II (no, I'm not saying Blade II is great, but I don't blame del Toro for that). Really, if you watch nothing else by del Toro, you should watch Cronos, The Devil's Backbone, and Pan's Labyrinth and call it good.

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