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In 1535, an alchemist builds an extraordinary mechanism encapsulated into a small golden device. The invention…

Release Year: 1993

Rating: 6.8/10 (9,318 voted)

Critic's Score: 70/100

Guillermo del Toro

Stars: Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook

In 1535, an alchemist builds an extraordinary mechanism encapsulated into a small golden device. The invention, designed to convey eternal life to its owner, survives its maker until 1997, when it shows up with an antiques dealer. Fascinated with the strange device, Gris (Luppi) doesn't note that there's more than one person looking for it. The promise of eternal life has become an obsession for old and sick Mr. De la Guardia (Brook). He and his nephew (Perlman) will do anything to get the Chronos Invention.


Federico Luppi

Jesus Gris

Ron Perlman

Angel de la Guardia

Claudio Brook

De la Guardia

Margarita Isabel


Tamara Shanath


Daniel Giménez Cacho


Mario Iván Martínez


Farnesio de Bernal


Juan Carlos Colombo

Funeral Director

Jorge Martínez de Hoyos



Luis Rodríguez


Javier Álvarez

Bleeding Man

Gerardo Moscoso


Eugenio Lobo

Stoned Man

Adriana Olivera

Tango Student

Release Date: May 1994

Filming Locations: Mexico

Box Office Details

Budget: $2,000,000


Gross: $621,392

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The names used are: Jesus Gris and Angel de la Guardia, which translates to "Grey Jesus" and "Guardian Angel". Angel, guards his uncle, and Jesus has gray hair and, eventually, grey skin.


Crew or equipment visible:
When Jesús searches for Aurora after she has taken the Cronos, as he walks through two doors, he stops. Behind him, reflected in the glass of the door, is crew and equipment.


Jesus Gris:
I am Jesus… Gris… Jesus Gris… Jesus Gris.

User Review

An interesting, original and engaging retelling of a classic story!

Rating: 8/10

Guillermo Del Toro's stylish and original take on the vampire legend is
one of the most strangely overlooked and underrated films of the
1990's. It's films like this that make me want to watch films – films
that are fresh, unpredictable and so rich in symbolism that it has
leaves lots of room for discussion. Del Toro was little more than an
amateur director at the time this made, but in spite of that he's more
than given the professionals a run for their money. Every scene is
adeptly filmed, and the way that Del Toro makes contrasts between
locations and the two central families is a pleasure to observe. The
way that the film switches language from English to Spanish and back
again is indicative of the fact that this is a rich tapestry of
contradictions and one that makes intelligent comments on many
subjects, from obvious ones such as addiction, to more concealed ones,
such as a commentary on family; stemming from the way that the roles of
child and parent become reversed when our hero becomes afflicted with
the vampire-like curse.

For the story, Del Toro has taken the classic vampire theme and mixed
it with essences of mechanics and the human lust of being able to live
forever. The story follows Jesús Gris, an antique dealer that lives
with his granddaughter Aurora and wife Mercedes. One day, our hero
happens upon a mechanical scarab that latches itself onto his palm,
causing him to bleed. Jesús slowly gets addicted to the mystical
scarab, but there's someone else that wants it and will stop at nothing
to get it. The mythology of the scarab is told in a great opening
sequence that sets the viewer up for an intriguing and original horror
story. The film retains the intrigue that it sets up in it's intro for
the duration, and Del Toro ensures that his audience is always left
guessing and wanting to see what comes next. The film works due to
interesting characters that the audience is able to feel for, and is
constantly interesting by the way that Del Toro handles the contrasts
that the story presents.

On the whole, this is a fabulous horror story that takes an existing
legend and makes it it's own. This is exactly the sort of film that
cinema needs more of; and it's not one that film fans will want to
miss. Highly recommended viewing.