There are those horror movies that you see and immediately forget, and there are those that you'll take with you onward and maybe even forever. Cronos is one of them. A debut feature film by Del Toro, yet you wouldn't feel that when watching it. It is made with so much thought, devotion and emotion that you can't find anything bad to say about it. It is one of those movies that one hardly could make any better.
It is a story of an old man, who owns an antique shop, and becomes a vampire. It is a story of the relationship between a young girl named Mercedes and her grandfather. It is a story of the fear of the death, of the price of eternity. It is a film about life and living. It is mostly sad, sometimes even a little bit terrifying. I can't find the words to describe this film, to do it justice, not in English nor in Hebrew. It is this good.
And to find something to learn from it is so hard and so easy, takes so much energy and so little an amount. Watch it because it is a good movie, and then watch it again to analyze it. I don't know what else to say.
Right… lesson! I think that the moment in which I understood that I was watching something unique was the bathroom scene, the scene in which our vampire drinks blood from the bathroom floor. It is so powerful, so sad, and so pitiful. From this scene I knew that I was in good hands.
And this scene can teach us something about our games. Quite a lot to teach, actually, but I'll focus on a single thing. In most personal horrors games, the characters are very powerful, very strong and tough, with a lot of magical power. They call this state of theirs a curse, but here it usually ends. This scene can remind us of what it means a cursed state. This vampiric state of his made him do so many heartbreaking things, from drinking the blood from the bathroom floor to almost drinking his granddaughter's blood. And this can happen in our games too.
It is not enough to describe the life taking moment, the enjoyment of the act. It is not enough to say "you bite him, his blood is drawn to your bloody, his heart starts to beat faster and faster, and then slowly picks down the pace. The blood starts to run day, but it doesn't matter, the feeling is wonderful, amazing, and good like you've never felt in your life, better than the feeling of seeing your first child born. And when he dies, and the feeling's gone, you know that you just want more." No, it is not enough, not even close to it. Because it doesn't feel like a sad thing, like a sad act. Maybe it's better to not do it both ways at the same time, but by reminding the players that this is a curse, we help to bring the horrors back. We help to make them want the pain away, the feeling gone, and the horror will use this moment to strike.
Because there's another type of personal horror, besides "oh, what have I done"? This other type of personal horror is so close to the known one, yet so different from it. It is the type of "oh, what did it make me do? To what state have I been drawn?" And by reminding the players that this state is a curse, we bring them closer to the second type's embrace.
How about you? Have you watched this movie? What did you think about it? And what have you learned from it?