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|
|Editing by||James Needs|
|Studio||Hammer Film Productions|
|Distributed by||Bruton Films|
|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 originally the pilot for a planned television series.
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.
Grost and Kronos’s companion Carla detect via a mystical test the presence of vampires, but their findings are contradicted by an eyewitness who claims to have seen "someone old, very old", while a youth-draining vampire should appear youthful.
Marcus visits the family of his late friend, Lord Hagen Durward, and speaks with the Lord's son, Paul (Shane Briant) and his beautiful sister Sara (Lois Daine) but must leave before speaking with the bed-ridden Lady Durward. In some woods, Marcus encounters a cloaked figure that leaves him shaken and with blood on his lips.
At a tavern, Kronos defeats some thugs led by Kerro, who was hired by Lady Durward's coachman to murder him. Later, while Kronos, Grost, Marcus and Carla set up a system of alarm bells in the woods, a large bat attacks and kills a young woman. Marcus realizes that he has become a vampire and begs Kronos to kill him. After failed attempts by various methods (including impalement with a stake and hanging), Kronos accidentally pierces Marcus's chest with a cross of steel that Marcus had been wearing round his neck.
Now understanding the vampire’s weakness, Kronos and Grost go to the cemetery to obtain an iron cross. After Kronos battles and disarms some angry villagers who believe that the men murdered Dr. Marcus, Grost forges the cross into a sword. After seeing a carriage similar to the Durward carriage flee the scene of a vampire attack, Kronos deduces that the vampire lives at Durward Manor, and suspects beautiful, young Sara.
As Kronos attempts to sneak into Durward Manor, Carla seeks refuge at the house as a subterfuge. Carla and the Durward siblings are hypnotized by the vampire, revealed to be Lady Durward, who has grown young and has raised her husband Hagen from the grave. As Lady Durwood offers her husband the mesmerized Carla, Kronos erupts from hiding. Kronos uses his new sword's mirrored blade to reflect Lady Durward’s hypnotic gaze back onto her, and kills Lord Durward in a duel; then he destroys Lady Durward with his sword. In the village courtyard, Kronos bids Carla good bye, then he and Grost ride off 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 and one that was a mix of the supernatural and 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