Captain Kronos is set in indeterminate olden times complete with bare footed peasant girls, mobs of angry villagers and tavern wenches. The eponymous Captain Kronos, played by Horst Janson (Murphy’s Law) is a wandering, swashbuckling, often shirtless man who rides around hunting vampires (as the name suggests). We learn that Kronos has become a vampire hunter after returning home from (an unspecified) war only to find his family have been attacked by a vampire. He is accompanied by Professor Hieronymus Grost played by John Cater (The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Woman in Black), a hunchbacked well-spoken vampire expert. Kronos is called to help a village by Dr Marcus (John Carson) an old friend when young women in his village start turning up as shrivelled old women with blood on their lips. On their way to the troubled village, Kronos and Grost come across a very pretty and feisty peasant girl named Carla (Caroline Munro) in some stocks for dancing on a Sunday. Carla then joins the two vampire hunters and swiftly becomes Kronos’ lover, providing the prerequisite boobs for Hammer productions. There is a plethora of supporting characters, from local bar bullies through to the creepy local aristocratic family with a mother who is never seen in public.
The vampire in Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter is not the usual Dracula type vampire as expected from the more widely known Hammer Dracula films starring Christopher Lee. Rather, the vampire drains the youth from its victims after mesmerising them. Kronos and his team use rather strange methods to catch the vampire, apparently based on old folk tales, including burying dead toads that are resurrected when a vampire passes close.
Originally filmed in 1972, Kronos was destined to become a TV series, however it was eventually released in 1974. Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter is one of the last films Hammer Films produced before being resurrected in the 2000s. The film was written and directed by Brian Clemmens (The Avengers) and is a fun romp through the olden time countryside. There are no slow moments and every scene seems considered of the story, however the outcome is predictable to anyone with any familiarity with films of this type. Some of the dialogue is quite stilted and over dramatic as Kronos has a penchant for one liners. Captain Kronos has a dark fairy tale like quality and is more creepy than all out scary. I think it would have lent itself well to the planned TV series (think The Three Musketeers meets Supernatural) however it still makes admirably good watching as a feature film.
Fun Fact: Captain Kronos was turned into a novel in 2011 by Guy Adams, I wonder how similar to the film it is? If any of you have read it, comment and let me know!