Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cronos (1993)

With the Criterion Collection leaving +Hulu soon, I'm catching up on movies I haven't seen in years or haven't seen at all.

Cronos, a film by Guillermo del Toro, better known for Hellboy and other "weirdness", was next on that list.

Short review? Set in the modern era, an old man, Jesus Gris, in charge of a shop buys an old statue that contains an odd device. The device belonged to an ancient alchemist who'd crafted the device to grant eternal life. Unfortunately for the alchemist, that didn't include being crushed and vital organs pierced! Hence the alchemist items wind up for sale and this statue winds up in the old man's shop.

The story follows what happens when someone else seeks out the item and what happens when you play with ancient secrets without the instructions. It's not Guillermo's strongest work but it's a solid film and is worth viewing.

For role playing games, it brought to mind two bits.

1) Jane Stop This Crazy Thing! Jesus initial exposure to the device was accidental. Future exposures were deliberate. He does this without knowing what exactly he's doing and he suffers quite a bit for it. In post-apocalyptic settings or fantasy settings with their share of weird technology, don't be afraid to throw negative side effects into the game when players don't' bother trying to learn how to use an item.

2)Origin of the Species: The villain of the piece, the recluse and wealthy De La Guardia, notes how wonderful insects are. How versatile they are. He compares the miracles of Jesus to those of insects. But the device itself? The one crafted by the alchemist? Well, it grants you immortality, aging wise at least, by forcing the immortal to drink human blood.

It's a wonderful play off of the vampire origin and could be a fantastic way to do things in a role playing game. Forget getting bit by a vampire. Forget necromancers and their rites. It's a bug. A huge weird bug that lives in symbiosis with the user.

Keep an open mind when you're watching movies, reading books, looking at comics, and listening to others. Inspiration for thing different strikes when you least expect it.

For those readers with Hulu, any recommendations on the Criterion Collection? Any favorites? Any to avoid at all costs?