Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter

Evil ends here.

Adventure Horror
91 min     6.1     1974     United Kingdom


When several young girls are found dead, left hideously aged and void of blood, Dr Marcus suspects vampirism. He enlists the help of the Vampire Hunter. Mysterious and powerful, Kronos has dedicated his life to destroying the evil pestilence. Once a victim of its diabolical depravity, he knows the vampire's strengths and weaknesses as well as the extreme dangers attached to confronting the potent forces of darkness.


John Chard wrote:
Hampire, Campire, Vampire. Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter is written and directed by Brian Clemens. It stars Horst Janson, John Cater, John Carson, Caroline Munro, Shane Briant, Lois Daine and Wanda Ventham. Out of Hammer Film Productions, music is by Laurie Johnson and cinematography by Ian Wilson. Swashbuckling vampire slayer Captain Kronos (Janson) answers the call of his friend Dr. Marcus (Carson) to investigate the mysterious goings on in the village of Durward. Young women are being drained of all their youth, left at deaths door old and haggard. Aided by his trusty hunchbacked assistant, Professor Grost (Cater), Kronos’ search for the truth takes him to the Durward family estate… One of the last great Hammer Horror movies, Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter has done well to rise through the decades as a sort of culty camp horror classic. Initial plans were for it to hopefully kick start a series that would see Kronos fighting evil at any given place in time; Doctor Who with a sword and a taste for the ladies if you like. Clemens had some grand ideas for the movie, but was quickly brought down to earth when he was handed the production’s paltry budget. Barely released in Britain with little to no publicity, and this nearly two years after the film had wrapped! Kronos has had to fight more than one battle just to get recognised. Thankfully the advancements in home entertainments have ensured it a deserved place in the upper echelons of Hammer’s output. The film is a collage of genres, part horror, part comedy, part swashbuckler adventure and part saucy seaside postcard romp, but it all works so well in the pursuit of making the audience have a good time. The writing flips the vampire legend away from the norm, infusing the narrative with a new vampyric foe. This crafty sod can operate in the daytime as it drains not blood, but youth! As the genius Professor Grost tells us, there are many types of vampires, and different methods are needed to execute any of them on any given day. So this isn’t a case of Kronos tracking down the guilty and using one of the trusty old methods used on Drac, oh no! Kronos and Grosty have to use trial and error to see what will work for this particular beastie. Wonderful! On his journey Kronos liberates a beauty from the stocks, poor Carla (Munro) was found guilty of dancing on a Sunday, she can count herself lucky it wasn’t a stronger punishment. So cue mucho sexual shenanigans and barely concealed innuendo between the two pretty ones, with suggestive conversations about having each other and some fondling of the sword. Kronos will also waylay bullies, he has no tolerance for meat heads and cuts them down faster than Zorro ever could. This guy is a hero to the common people, an action man of substance and cunning guile, he likes to drink and toke, it’s criminal that he didn’t get his own series or sequels. Under scrutiny the low budget is evident, where bare minimum of set dressing for the interiors and extended exterior shots are a necessity, while you might be surprised to realise there actually isn’t that many people in the story! But Clemens does a marvellous job with what he had to work with, really zipping it along and blending so many genre flavours with consummate ease. It’s a shame this was to be his only film directing effort. He even gets sparky performances from his cast, managing to sexualise Munro without flashing the flesh and turning Janson’s stiffness into one of the film’s assets! Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, a ball of fun that sticks its tongue firmly into its pulpy bloody strewn cheek. 8/10
Wuchak wrote:
_**Kronos coulda been a contenda**_ In 1800’s England a former officer & his hunchback companion (Horst Janson & John Cater) are hired to rid a village of a form of vampirism that sucks the youth out of young women. Caroline Munro is on hand as their lovely companion while Shane Briant & Lois Daine play the effete children of the aged Lady Durward (Wanda Ventham). Shot in 1972 but not released until 1974, "Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter" functions in the same world as Hammer’s Karnstein Trilogy, aka "The Vampire Lovers" (1970), "Lust for a Vampire" (1971) and "Twins of Evil" (1971). Tigon’s “Witchfinder General,” aka “The Conqueror Worm” (1968), is also in the same ballpark. “Captain Kronos” stands with the best of the lot and was intended to be a franchise. Unfortunately, Hammer had entered its decline and there would only be six more Hammer films until their revival three decades later. “Captain Kronos” mixes sylvan swashbuckling adventure with mysterious Gothic horror, some inventive vampirism and a bit o’ camp (just a bit). Janson towers as the noble hero while Munro is her usual gorgeous self and Cater is amusing. There are actually several beautiful women (for which Hammer is known). The woodsy locations are exceptional and the Durward manor is sumptuous. Meanwhile the two inn confrontations are compelling. This movie should NOT be as obscure as it is. The film runs 1 hour, 31 minutes, and was shot in Black Park Country Park just west of London and nearby Elstree Studios, northwest of the city. GRADE: B+/A-
CinemaSerf wrote:
Believe it or not, this isn't as bad as you might think it's going to be! Hunky Horst Janson takes the title role as the "Conan" style warrior who arrives in a village where the folks seems to have prematurely aged. What's occurring? Well the trail leads him to the nearby castle of the "Durward" family where siblings "Paul" (Shane Briant) and "Sara" (Lois Daine) live. Now we already know that their ailing, bed-ridden, mother has a very specific diet - but we don't quite appreciate until the end just what her cunning plan is. It is going to fall to our hero to thwart this unnatural and downright dangerous plot from succeeding otherwise the menu is going to include a great many more folks! Nope, it's not good - there is far to much verbiage and nowhere near enough swashbuckling and impaling, but it's tongue is firmly in it's cheek and that makes it the more enjoyable. It's trying to be light-hearted and it knows the scenarios are predictable and the acting (especially from Caroline Munro) is as flat as it is occasionally hammy. Ketchup galore, some lovely pained expressions from the soon-to-be appetisers and a guest appearance from Wanda Ventham at the end top it off fine. It's eminently forgettable, but passes ninety minutes easily enough if you are in the mood for brain fodder with bite!