Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974)
-Review by Nic Brown-
“Vampires come in as many forms as beasts of prey.” At least that is the case in the 1974 Hammer Studios film CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER. Captain Kronos (Horst Jansen) travels the British countryside with his hunchbacked companion Professor Hieronymos Grost. Their mission: to kill vampires wherever they may be found.
A letter from an old friend summons Kronos to a remote village where the young women are being drained of their youth. During their journey to investigate the deaths, Kronos and the Professor rescue a young woman named Carla (Caroline Munro) from imprisonment and she joins them on their journey. Aside from her role as eye candy for the audience, Carla also serves as a plot device enabling Professor Grost to explain many of the folklore rituals that the pair uses to unearth the killer.
CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is different from most vampire films in a number of respects. Most strikingly, the audience, like Kronos, does not know who the vampire is or what its powers are. So the film has an element of mystery. Also, the vampire lore used in the film is very different from what is commonly seen. Stakes through the heart have no affect on this type of vampire, so Kronos must not only figure out who the vampire is but also how it can be killed.
CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER was originally planned as the first in a new series of films from Hammer Studios. Unfortunately, the film didn’t do well at the box office and no further entries in the series were made. This is a shame since the film is both original and full of colorful characters with quirky eccentricities. Kronos is daring, sure footed and moves at seemingly superhuman speed. Professor Grost is endearing and at times amusing as he employs his seemingly limitless knowledge of vampirism. He also shows Kronos’ human side through their friendship. The cast is rounded out by Shane Bryant and Lois Diane who play Paul and Sara Durward, a brother and sister whose family seems to lie at the heart of the problem.
Filled with well choreographed sword play, excellent sets and locations, a first rate cast and a surprisingly original story, CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is one of many Hammer Studios classics that deserves a second look. So if you’re a fan of Hammer Films, a fan of vampire movies, or just want to see what a hunchback will do with a bunch of dead toads, then check out CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER!