Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter
|Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Clemens|
|Produced by||Albert Fennell
|Written by||Brian Clemens|
|Music by||Laurie Johnson|
|Edited by||James Needs|
|Distributed by||Bruton Films (UK) Paramount Pictures (US)|
|Release dates||7 April 1974 (UK)|
|Running time||91 min.|
Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter is a 1972 British horror film. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens, produced by Clemens and Albert Fennell for Hammer Film Productions, and belatedly released on 7 April 1974. It stars Horst Janson in the title role, along with John Carson, Shane Briant and Caroline Munro. The music score was composed by Laurie Johnson, supervised by Philip Martell. It was intended as the first of a series of films focused on the title character and his companions. The film was rated R in North America.
When his village is plagued by mysterious deaths marked by highly accelerated aging, Dr. Marcus calls in his army friend, Captain Kronos, and his companion, hunchback Professor Hieronymus Grost, professional vampire hunters. Grost explains to the initially skeptical Marcus that the dead women are victims of a vampire who drains not blood but youth, and that there are "as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey." The discovery of another victim confirms Grost's explanation. Along the way, Kronos and Grost take in a local girl, Carla, with them. She is found locked in a stockade for dancing on the sabbath: now freed by Kronos, she repays both men by helping them out in hunting the vampires menacing her home while becoming Kronos' lover.
Grost and Kronos conduct a mystical test that indicates the presence of vampires. Their findings are contradicted by an eyewitness who claims to have seen "someone old, very old", whereas a youth-draining vampire should appear youthful.
Marcus visits the family of his late friend, Lord Hagen Durward, and speaks with Durward's son, Paul (Shane Briant), and his beautiful sister Sara (Lois Daine). He must leave before speaking with the bed-ridden Lady Durward. While riding through the woods, Marcus encounters a cloaked figure that leaves him shaken and he finds blood on his lips.
At a tavern, Kronos defeats thugs led by Kerro, who were hired by Lady Durward's coachman to murder him. Kronos, Grost, Marcus and Carla set up a network of alarm bells in the woods to announce the passage of vampires. Meanwhile, a large bat attacks and kills a young woman. Marcus realizes that he has become a vampire and begs Kronos to kill him. After various methods (including impalement with a stake and hanging) fail, Kronos accidentally pierces Marcus's chest with a cross of steel that Marcus had been wearing round his neck.
Having thus determined the vampire’s weakness, Kronos and Grost obtain an iron cross from a cemetery. They are accosted by angry villagers who believe that they murdered Dr. Marcus. Grost forges the cross into a sword. After seeing the Durward carriage flee the scene of a vampire attack, Kronos suspects Sara as the vampire.
Carla seeks refuge at Durward Manor to distract the household while Kronos sneaks inside. The "bedridden" Lady Durward reveals herself as the newly-youthful vampire, and she hypnotises Carla and the Durward siblings. Lady Durward has raised her husband Hagen from the grave. She offers the mesmerized Carla to her husband, but Kronos erupts from hiding. Kronos uses the new sword's mirrored blade to turn Lady Durward’s hypnotic gaze against her. He kills Lord Durward in a duel, and then destroys Lady Durward.
The next day, Kronos bids Carla goodbye, then he and Grost ride on to new adventures.
- Horst Janson as Captain Kronos
- John Cater as Professor Hieronymus Grost
- Caroline Munro as Carla
- John Carson as Dr. Marcus
- Shane Briant as Paul Durward
- Lois Daine as Sara Durward
- Wanda Ventham as Lady Durward
- William Hobbs as Hagen
- Ian Hendry as Kerro
AllMovie called it "one of the last great Hammer Films productions." In later years, the film became a cult classic largely because of its unusual mix of supernatural horror and swashbuckling action. It was to launch a set of new Hammer films, but into the 1970s the studio landed in financial troubles and ended up shutting down.
- Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio, Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography, McFarland, 1996 p359
- Guarisco, Donald. "Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter at the Internet Movie Database
- Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter at Rotten Tomatoes