Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

“Age frightens me.”

Captain Kronos Poster

Synopsis:
As young women’s youth is sucked from their bodies by a black-hooded vampire, a vigilante swordfighter (Horst Janson) and his hunch-backed assistant (John Cater) are summoned by their doctor-friend (John Carson) to solve the mystery, which seems to involve a local nobleman (Shane Briant), his sister (Lois Dane), and their aged mother (Wanda Ventham).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that this “cult film” — written and directed by Brian Clemens, the “driving force behind television’s The Avengers” — has an “interesting assortment of characters, some spooky vampire-attack scenes, and splendid atmosphere”, but “never quite reaches its potential”. He notes that “Kronos is a strange warrior”, “capable of slicing up three bullies before they can draw their swords (in a Sergio Leone-type scene), but he mostly bides his time” as he “makes love to a peasant girl” (Caroline Munro), “covers his body with leeches to drain his blood, and patiently plans his course of action”. Actually, Kronos himself — at least as played by Janson — is the film’s primary problem: he cuts a dashing figure but is ultimately not very charismatic; nearly all the supporting players have more juice and nuance to them. It may have been a deliberate choice to frame Kronos as stoic and mysterious — but a film focused on an unusual superhero should (arguably) make that character intrinsically compelling. With that said, the final swordfight is creatively filmed, and I’ll admit I was kept in suspense about the identity of the killer-vampire.

Note: Modern film fanatics will likely sense a Tarantino-esque air to the movie; I was particularly reminded of Django Unchained (2012).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine cinematography and direction
    Captain Kronos Direction2
    Captain Kronos Direction
  • Creative, colorful sets
    Captain Kronos Sets

Must See?
No, but I think most film fanatics would be curious to see it given its cult status.

Links:

One Response to “Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Reasonably well-produced but, goodness, much of it is a slog. Its earnestness is ultimately tiresome…especially during the lulls of its various set-ups between dramatic incidents.

    Surprisingly, Ian Hendry – apparently slumming for a paycheck – turns up midway as a forceful ne’er-do-well, giving his character more subtext than is called for. But you can’t blame an actor when what he wants to do is…act.

    Sadly, this is mostly a dull film.

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