Review: CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER (1974)

Hammer Film Productions takes a swing at a franchise with CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER. This 1974 outing was written and directed by Brian Clemens, who made a lot of hay in the 1960s with THE AVENGERS on television. In many ways, CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER is suggestive of the TV show, with its handsome hero and sexy sidekick and know-it-all buddy. But in many other ways, this movie is a bore.

Things begin in a village where people are being drained of their life essence. Dr. Marcus (John Carson) summons Captain Kronos (Horst Janson), an old pal with a specific set of skills. Kronos shows up with his hunchback Hieronymus Grost (John Cater) and it is determined that a different sort of vampire is responsible for the terrible events. Kronos, Grost and the gypsy Carla (Caroline Munro) get to work at overcoming the profound, youth-loving evil.

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While CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER has the pieces to function as a brisk, pulpy vampire movie, it’s a tough sell. The biggest problem lies with the title character and Janson, who occupies the role with negligible charm. He’s a granite-carved dope, a mimbo with wooden delivery. He lacks the swashbuckler appeal his character requires and the film blunders around him. Even Munro’s Carla fails to slog much out of his tank.

There are some decent details on the periphery. Munro is nice to look at for those so inclined, while Grost is an entertaining character with a love for chess and esoteric knowledge. Clemens isn’t afraid to pop in a droll line or two and there’s some good stuff involving the village tormenter (Ian Hendry). The vampires come together in the context of the Durward’s youth obsession, but the circle drifts back to the Captain. Thusly considered, it’s probably a blessing that the franchise hopes for CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER withered on the vine.

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