Forgotten Films: Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1974)
This is the 77th in my series of Forgotten Obscure or Neglected Films
I never saw many of the good Hammer films from the late 50’s and early 60’s. I did not live near a theater and my folks were generally not inclined to take me to a Frankenstein or Dracula film. And Hammer films had the notoriety of excessive blood. I did see CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (with Oliver Reed) and NIGHT CREATURES (with Peter Cushing and Oliver Reed doing the Dr. Syn, Scarecrow, film) on TV with numerous edits and commercials. But I enjoyed them anyway.
So, even though it was late in the studio’s horror line, I also missed CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER when it was released. I was in college and my time and money was generally spoken for.
That has been rectified and I got a chance to watch it this last weekend. I was feeling poorly last week (hence, no Forgotten Book) and I wanted a good fun film. And, it also has Caroline Munro which is always a plus in my book.
An unnamed European village is being terrorized by vampires. Not you Dracula blood-sucking type, these vamps seek out young people and drain them of their lives. Dr. Marcus (John Carson) is concerned and sends for his old Army friend, Captain Kronos (Horst Janson). No first name is given. Kronos arrives with his hunchbacked assistant, Herr Professor Hieronymous Grost (John Cater) and Carla (Munro) a stray the two have picked up on the way. Grost tells Marcus that there are many types of vampires, including the blood suckers and those who steal life and youth. And there are many ways to kill them. Young girls who were attacked and killed had been wearing crosses which did not seem to deter the vampire because their faith was less than pure.
So they prepare tests to see where the vampires are located. These involve burying dead toads around the perimeter of the forest because, “a vampire crossing the path of a dead toad will give it life and the load will live.” I never heard that before.
Anyway they trace the path of the vampire and Marcus confronts the creature but finds its mesmerism too much. Meanwhile local bad asses have been contracted to kill Kronos and Grost. But the Captain is a master with the sword and the fight lasts less than a second even though it is three against one. Pretty good fight at that.
Meanwhile Carla and Kronos are getting closer and are examining haystacks every evening. One of their searches leads them to the Castle Durward. The Lord Durward has been dead for several years and his wife is near death. The children Sara and Paul (Lois Daine and Shane Briant) seem eternally youthful and disdaining of the common folk. According to IMDB, Ingrid Pitt had been offered the role of Sara but had declined, which is a shame.
Overall, it is a fun film with interesting turns and twists. The blood factor is minimal compared to earlier films. No real nudity factor, either. The film is rated R for some reason, perhaps on the strength of the Hammer name. Probably would be a PG-13 these days. Amazon shows the DVD to be available for less than $6.
I was pretty sure I would enjoy it when I saw the credits. The film was written and directed by Brian Clemens who had done a substantial amount of work for TV including THE AVENGERS for BBC. And the music was by Laurie Johnson, who scored the original theme to THE AVENGERS.
I enjoyed it and know that I need to search out some other earlier Hammer films in the near future.
Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.