Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter (1974) | Stills : Gallery
Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter is a 1974 British horror film. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens, produced by Albert Fennell and Hammer Film Productions and released on 7 April 1974. It stars Horst Janson in the title role, along with John Carson, Shane Briant and Caroline Munro. The original music score is composed by Laurie Johnson. It was originally the pilot for a planned television series.
When his village is plagued by mysterious deaths marked by highly accelerated aging, Dr. Marcus calls in his old army friend, Captain Kronos, and his companion, hunchback Professor Hieronymus Grost, two professional vampire hunters. Grost explains to the initially skeptical Marcus that the women are victims of a vampire that drains not blood but youth, and that there are “as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey.” The finding of another victim confirms Grost’s explanation.
Grost and Kronos’s companion Carla prove via a mystical test the presence of vampires, but their proofs are contradicted by an eyewitness who claims to have seen “someone old, very old”, while a youth-draining vampire should appear as youthful. Marcus visits the family of his late friend, Lord Hagen Durward, and speaks with the Lord’s son Paul (Shane Briant) and his beautiful sister Sara (Lois Daine) but has to leave without seeing the bed-ridden Lady Durward. In the woods, Marcus has an encounter with a cloaked figure that leaves him shaken and with drops of blood on his lips.
At a tavern, Kronos defeats a group of thugs hired by Lady Durward’s coachman to kill him. Later, while Kronos, Grost, Marcus and Carla set up a system of alarm bells in the woods, a large bat attacks and kills a young woman. Marcus realizes that he has been turned into a vampire and begs Kronos to kill him. After several failed attempts by various methods (including impalement with a wooden stake and hanging), Kronos accidentally pierces Marcus’s chest with a cross made out of steel that Marcus had been wearing round his neck.
Now understanding the vampire’s weakness, Kronos and Grost go to the cemetery to obtain a large iron cross. After Kronos battles and disarms a group of angry villagers who think the men have murdered Dr. Marcus, Grost takes the cross and forges it into a new sword. After seeing a carriage similar to the Durward carriage flee the scene of another vampire attack, Kronos deduces that the vampire must live at Durward Manor, and in particular suspects beautiful, young Sara.
As Kronos attempts to sneak into Durward Manor, Carla seeks refuge at the house as a subterfuge. Carla and the Durward siblings are hypnotized by the vampire, revealed to be Lady Durward, who has grown young again and who has raised her husband Hagen from the grave. As Lady Durwood offers her husband the mesmerized Carla, Kronos erupts from his hiding place. Kronos uses his new sword’s mirrored blade to reflect Lady Durward’s hypnotic gaze back onto her, and kills Lord Durward in a duel, before also destroying Lady Durward with his sword.
In the village courtyard, Kronos bids Carla good bye and he and Grost ride off to new adventures.
Horst Janson as Captain Kronos
John Cater as Professor Hieronymus Grost
Caroline Munro as Carla
John Carson as Dr. Marcus
Shane Briant as Paul Durward
Lois Daine as Sara Durward
Wanda Ventham as Lady Durward
William Hobbs as Hagen
Ian Hendry as Kerro
AllMovie called it “one of the last great Hammer Films productions.” In later years, the film became a cult classic and one that was a mix of the supernatural and action. It was to launch a set of new Hammer films, but into the 1970s the studio landed in financial troubles and ended up shutting down.