Del Toro Double Feature:
For those knowledgeable of Guillermo Del Toro, two of his early films, Cronos and The Devil's Backbone, will feel quite familiar. They are built upon many of the director's most recognizable styles and themes. Cerebral and gothic horrors about life and death, mortality and immortality. Innocent, victimized children trapped within the violent conflicts of adults. Mythology, fantasy, and folklore. Imagery of insects, clocks, and mechanical contraptions. Like other of Del Toro's, all of these elements permeate Cronos and TDB. Both films are well-made and well worth the time for those who are a fan of horror and the supernatural. They are also an insightful looking-glass into the beginnings of one of my all-time favourite directors working today.
Cronos tells the story of a mythological contraption that imbues its possessor/user with immortality. The insect-like golden item falls unwittingly into the hands of an elderly clock shop owner, and quickly takes controls of the man, transferring its addictive and uncontrollable force onto him. At the same time, another wealthy and ailing businessman, with the help of his nephew, searches for the object. This is the first collaboration between Del Toro and Ron Perlman, and, truly, no one brings out Perlman's energetic and campy side like Del Toro. The film is a bit unrefined compared to Del Toro's more recent outings, however, it is nonetheless an enjoyable and stylistic viewing. 8/10
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Whereas Cronos carries with it a zanier energy like Hellboy, The Devil's Backbone is in every way a precursor to Del Toro's masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth. TDB is an introspective tale about the ghost of boy that haunts an orphanage for boys. Like Pan, TDB is told from the perspective of innocent children who live at the mercy of the adults who run the location they live within, including one particular violent man. The film's pseudo-historical setting contrasted with fantasy elements, and its slow, methodical pacing are, again, all reminiscent of Pan. The film is of a more personal level, and is worth a watch for those who like more-reflective horror. 8.5/10 - 16 hours ago