Guillermo del Toro loves movies. Loves ’em. Loves making them and – maybe even more so – loves talking about them. On the Cronos DVD’s hour-long interview, the Mexican filmmaker’s jaw flaps joyously like a knackered trapdoor about – everything, really. How Wuthering Heights turned him into a horror nut, his Super-8 shorts, the 10-year evolution of Cronos from script-school project to finished film, his collaborators and his influences, including Bava, Whale, Argento and Clive Barker.
Cronos’ circular pulp-gothic vampire riff is where it all started for the then 29-year-old, with crusty Mexican antiques-dealer Jesús Gris (Federico Luppi) discovering an ornate clockwork scarab with the ability to grant bloody immortality – much to the chagrin of a dying miser (Claudio Brook) and his face-thumping nephew Angel (Ron Perlman).
Stylishly dusted with musty mysticism, Cronos never sinks its teeth to the bone, but despite some grumbling plot-cogs, del Toro’s hallmarks – tragic heart, splatty body horror, prickly insect-fear – all gestate wickedly. Best of all, though, are some delicious flickers of Buñuelian humour, from bad-boy Perlman whistling Christmas carols to an embalmed Luppi finding rest in his beloved granddaughter’s toy chest. Best watched with del Toro’s juicy, ardent commentary on full-yak.