a review

CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is a 1974 British swashbuckling/horror/action film written and directed by Brian Clemens. It was produced by Albert Fennell and Clemens for Hammer Films and stars Horst Janson, John Cater, Caroline Munro, John Carson, and Shane Bryant. The music score was composed by Laurie Johnson.

Captain Kronos firmly establishes himself as a 1970s hero complete with bevy of beauties.


Horst Janson as Captain Kronos

John Cater as Professor Hieronymus Grost

Caroline Munro as Carla

John Carson as Doctor Marcus

Shane Bryant as Paul Durward

Ian Hendry as Kerro

Wanda Ventham as Lady Durward

William Hobbs as Hagen

Doctor Marcus sends for Captain Kronos – a professional vampire slayer. Young girls are being literally drained of their youth and the doctor suspects vampires. Accompanying Kronos are the hunchbacked Professor Hieronymus Grost and Carla whom Kronos rescued from a stockade. Using their arcane knowledge Kronos and company investigate. Mainly they use dead toads. Their investigations take them to an inn. In the inn a bully named Kerro with three henchmen make fun of Grost and his deformity. Kronos dispatches them with his sword. This is the coolest scene in the movie. Ian Hendry hams up his death scene. Doctor Marcus visits the Durwards with whom he has history. Marcus was unable to save Lady Durward’s husband and she blames him. He is unable to see Lady Durward. On the way back home, Marcus has a close encounter of the weird kind when he meets up with a strange-cloaked figure in the woods. He then begins to turn into a vampire. Kronos and Grost try different ways to kill Marcus until he dies from being pierced by a steel cross. They now know what kind of vampire they are dealing with. Grost fashions a steel sword with a cross for Kronos and they go back to the woods to search for vampires. When a coach passes by Grost tosses a dead toad under the coach. The toad comes back to life signifying that there was a vampire in the coach. The coach belonged to the Durwards. Serving as bait, Carla asks the Durwards for shelter. Later she is mesmerized by Lady Durward who has resurrected her late husband Hagen. She offers him Carla. Kronos comes to the rescue. Our hero deflects Lady Durward’s mesmerizing gaze and everyone stands around mesmerized while Hagen and Kronos swordfight. Lord Durward dies (again); Kronos kills Lady Durward as well. The menace is over and the world is now once again safe for democracy and apple pie. Captain Kronos and Professor Grost ride off into the sunset to have more adventures – which unfortunately we have never seen.

This was supposed to be the first of a series of films showcasing the adventures of Captain Kronos. Unfortunately Hammer Films ran into financial difficulty in the 1970s and the film series never came to pass. 

CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is considered by most the last of the truly great Hammer Films. In the time since its release it has achieved cult status.

Little bit of trivia. Originally the producers had wanted Simon Oates to play Kronos not Horst Janson. To continue the tie-in to The Avengers, Simon Oates played John Steed in The Avengers stage production.

What is there to like about this movie?

John Carson plays Doctor Marcus. He is a familiar face around Hammer Horror films and British television in general. He is always delightful to watch and never disappoints.

Another favorite of mine is actor Ian Hendry. Now in this film he has only a cameo but it is the best scene in the movie.

We have the delightful and delectable Caroline Munro playing Carla. She alone is worth the price of admission. If you have never seen her watch this movie and prepare to fall in love.

This film has beautiful indoor sets, lavish outdoor scenery, and sword fights ala Captain Blood. What more can you ask?

By the way, William Hobbs who plays Hagen is a professional fight choreographer. That sword fight is really something.

These are not your standard vampires. In fact, Grost explains in the beginning of the movie that vampires come in different types with different abilities and different ways to kill them. This is cool. I love the idea that vampires in Europe, for example, would be different than vampires in Asia or Africa. I wish movies and TV shows used this idea.

But the biggest selling point for me about this movie is that it was produced by Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens and the music was by Laurie Johnson. These are the people who brought us the British Avengers – Steed and Mrs. Peel. I am a huge fan and as a kid The Avengers was my favorite TV show. When I saw their names in the credits for this movie my enthusiasm shot up and I knew I was going to love this movie. And I was right.

What is there not to like about this movie?

I realize that having Horst Janson running around without a shirt all the time is supposed to be sexy. It isn’t! If they wanted sexy they should have hired a guy with a better body.

I would have liked to have seen more of Ian Hendry. By the way a bit of trivia here. I mentioned the producer’s connection to the TV show The Avengers. Well Hendry has a connection to that show as well. He was Steed’s first partner on that show for its first season before they began giving him female partners like Mrs. Gale and Mrs. Steed.

This movie is great! It is imaginative, entertaining, and an obvious labor of love for those who made it. It has style and it has flair and it has Carline Munro. Need I go further? I recommend this movie just be sure to have plenty of popcorn, turn down the lights, make yourself comfortable, and get ready to lose yourself for 91 minutes. I happily give this film four Gray Geeks in our rating scale.

That is it for this time neighbors. I hope you enjoyed reading about CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER and will watch it the first chance you get. Until next time be safe and be careful. It is still too dangerous out there. Keep wearing that mask and be the super-hero you always knew you were. Luv Ya!

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