Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

Director: Brian Clemens

Starring: Horst Janson, John Carson, Shane Briant, Caroline Munro, John Cater, Ian Hendry, Wanda Ventham, William Hobbs, Brian Tully

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Evil Ends Here.

Plot: Vampire hunter and expert swordsman Kronos finds himself in a small village where several of the local young women have been found in an advanced state of age, their youth drained from them by a vampire's kiss. Kronos' search leads him to the Durward estate where he is met by the effete children of the apparently aged and sick Lady Durward.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Absolutely!

#54 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

KRONOS is one of the best, if not the best, of the later horror pictures from the Hammer studio. It's a great concept that sadly didn't continue on with more films. It could have been a very interesting and fun franchise but I guess it didn't do well enough at the box office. The idea was that Kronos is a time traveling vampire hunter which means he could (in subsequent films) find himself killing vamps in ancient Rome, WWII, etc. THAT would have been so freaking badass.

Kronos's companion, Grost (John Cater), says everything you need to know in one line where he explains that there are many different species of vampires, each with different powers and effects as well as means of killing them. A cross doesn't do shit to a vampire who doesn't believe, wooden stakes only work on some, etc. What a wonderfully simple and effective means of opening up all kinds of possibilities that is!

There's plenty of action and dark humor, my favorite being when Kronos & Grost must destroy a friend who has been bitten and they go through a trial and error sequence to see what can kill this species of vampire. It's deliciously funny. Janson makes a great lead and the supporting cast is well played, too. The cinematography is gorgeous (as per usual in the Gothic Hammer horror pictures) and Laurie Johnson's rousing score is very good, too. You owe it to yourself to check this one out. It's one of the best vampire movies of the 1970s.

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