Formed his own effects company after taking the "Advanced Makeup Course" from legendary makeup and special-effects artist Dick Smith (The Exorcist, Amadeus).
First directorial project was the late-1980s Mexican sci-fi/horror anthology series A Hora Marcada.
Taught film language and worked as coordinator of the student film workshop at Mexico's University of Guadalajara from 1986 to 1992.
Made his feature-film directing debut with 1993 vampire drama Cronos, whose awards included First Prize at the Cannes Film Festival's International Critics Week, the Mexican Academy Awards' Golden Ariel (best picture) and several Silver Ariels (including best direction and best screenplay).
Sci-fi horror movie Mimic, his first English-language feature, was nominated for Best Film at the 1997 Catalonian International Film Festival.