Before Blade, Buffy and Abraham Lincoln, Hammer Horror were churning out vampire hunters like they were going out of fashion.

capt-kronos-posterObviously, the most famous of these was Van Helsing, a character immortalised by the late and great Peter Cushing. Kronos on the hand is less well known.

As far as I can make out, Hammer intended Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter to kickstart a new series of films for the studio.

But financial troubles with the studio hammered the nail in the coffin before the series had a chance to resurrect itself.

Nowadays it is regarded as somewhat of a cult classic and despite a few hammy moments of melodrama, the film holds up surprisingly well.

The plot kicks off with the town folk of some rural village being hit by some mysterious plague that drains the youth from all the young ladies.

Knowing something strange is afoot, Dr Marcus call in his former army friend and professional vampire hunter Captain Kronos (Horst Janson).

Accompanied by his hunchback mate Professor Hieronymus Grost (a name I shall not be spelling in full again in this article) played by John Cater, the first thing they set about doing is freeing the young and attractive gypsy, Carla played by MovieRamblings favourite Caroline Munro.

carla

When asked why this poor lass has been incarcerated in the stocks, she reveals it’s because she danced on a Sunday. Barmy as it sounds, this was actually ruled as illegal during the 1790 Sunday Observance Act and was only amended in 2000 (remember that, it’ll probably come in handy during a pub quiz).

Anyway, as our heroes investigate the geriatric plague, it becomes apparent that there is a vampire on the loose and they are sucking all the youth from the young, attractive damsels in distress, of which the local village has many.

Deploying a mixture of tools, skills and supernatural knowledge, our heroes investigate the matter with dead frogs, leaches and plenty of sporting sword play.

It’s a swashbuckling supernatural adventure and roundly entertaining stuff.

Kronos himself is pretty much the mid 70s Roger Moore of vampire hunters – smooth looks, enigmatic, great hair, a hit with the ladies, a gentlemen (though, Carla does question why he is a bit rough in the sack) and loyal to his closest friends.

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Easily one of the coolest scenes features Kronos teaching a lesson to a bunch of arrogant drunks in the village pub. All is going swimmingly until they refer to his hunchback mate Grost as “Crock Back”.

Before casually dispensing of them, he says it’s not good sport to mock someone for an affliction and he wouldn’t dare refer to the drunks as rat face, fatty and big mouth. Cue sword, a swift slice and some melodramatic deaths. Great stuff.

Other characters that crop up include some very unearthly siblings, Sara and Paul, a youthful duo with a cold demeanour.

One of the things that stands out in Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter is the seriously impressive cinematography. It’s an incredibly good looking film, with every frame pitching the surrounding settings perfectly.

Obviously, the film does look dated in places.

The score is very 1970s with its Mooody Blues flutes and the fight scenes look like a school play in comparison to some of the stuff we’re used to these days.

But Kronos is a fun film to watch with its dead frogs, leaches, youth sucking vampires and Caroline Munro as a beautiful gypsy, it’s utterly enjoyable nonsense.

As I mentioned earlier, Kronos was intended as a series and with Hammer enjoying a fairly successful return to our cinema screens recently, perhaps this is one property they should consider bringing back from the dead and injecting some youth into?

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.