“There are as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey.”
Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) is a vampire hunter. Along with his aide, the hunchback, Hieronymus Grost (John Cater) he travels the land dispatching vampires. All kinds. They are summoned to a village by Kronos’ old friend Dr. Marcus (John Carson). Along the way they rescue a young woman, Carla (Caroline Munro) from the stocks. She joins them in their calling. Marcus relays to them an unusual plague that is afflicting the young women of the area. They die of old age. Their youth and beauty stripped from them. It is an unusual vampire that drains the woman of youth instead of blood.
To prove that it is a vampire that is attacking the women a test is performed. A dead toad buried in the ground comes back to life if a vampire passes it. The next time there is an attack Kronos begins digging up the dead toads. They have their proof when a toad buried near the victim is found alive. The tracks of a coach are found near-by.
Kronos and Grost go to the village tavern to see if any coaches had been by. While there, they are attacked by three paid assassins. Kronos dispatches them in no time. While Kronos is slicing up villagers Marcus is visiting the family of Lord Hagen Durward. Hagen died of the plague a few years ago. His wife blames the doctor. She won’t see him but her son Paul (Shane Briant) and daughter Sara (Lois Daine) are there. After he leaves he encounters a dark cloaked figure in the woods. The next thing he remembers is a feeling of panic and there is blood on his lips.
Later Marcus realizes that he has been turned into a vampire. He pleads with Kronos to kill him. Kronos agrees to end his friend’s suffering and tries several methods to kill him. They try to drive a wooden stake through his heart with no effect. Then they hang him and that does nothing. They continue to try different methods to figure out which one will work on this type of vampire. When Marcus is accidentally stabbed in the heart by a steel cross he wore around his neck Kronos has found the method that will dispatch this particular vampire species. They take a steel cross from the local cemetery. Grost fashions it into a new steel sword. Now they need to find the vampire.
“Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter” was released in 1974 and was directed by Brian Clemens. The movie is a British horror film made by the “Hammer Film Studios” and is one of Hammer's four swashbuckler films. The movie was supposed to be the first in a series for the Kronos character; however, there were several issues that could not be overcome. The film did not do well at the box office. Also Hammer studios was having some financial issues and closed down in the late 70’s. Since then the movie has gained a cult status and the character has inspired a few comic books.
Kronos is a blend of both the classic Hammer film and the splash of gore the 70’s brought to the horror genre. You still have the glamour and opulence of the Hammer sets; they’re just a little redder. It is a combination horror movie and whatever swashbuckle, swordplay movies are. It’s a fun splashy movie with a couple good twists to it.
It was believed that Horst Janson's German accent was too thick to be understood. His scenes were dubbed by Julian Holloway. The movie was made in 1972 but was not released until 1974.
This was the second and final film that Caroline Munro made under her Hammer contract. Caroline is notorious for refusing to do nude scenes. The apparent nude scene in Kronos actually has her hair covering her breasts and the rest of her is covered by flesh colored panties and subtle shadowing.
Hammer Film Productions Ltd was founded in 1934 and lasted until 1979. The last movie made under the old banner was the Lady Vanishes” in 1979. (A re-make of the Hitchcock film.) In 2000 the company was purchased by a consortium that had planned on making films, but none were done. In 2007 the company name was sold again to another consortium. Along with the name came a library of 295 Hammer films. Since then only a few new films have been produced.