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Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter

UK 1974
produced by
Albert Fennell, Brian Clemens for Hammer
directed by Brian Clemens
starring Horst Janson, John Carson, Shane Briant, Caroline Munro, John Cater, Lois Dane, Ian Hendry, Wanda Wentham, William Hobbs, Brian Tully, Robert James, Perry Soblosky, Paul Greenwood, Lisa Collings
written by Brian Clemens, music by Laurie Johnson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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England, sometimes the 1800's: A village is plagued from energy-sucking vampires who turn young girls into old women to preserve their own youth, so Dr. Marcus (John Carson) calls in his old army-friend Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) of the Imperial Guard, one of the very few men who have survived a vampire attack & bent on destroying all vampires after they have vampirized his wife & daughter.

Kronos soon rushes in with his trusted sidekick Dr Grost (John Cater), a hunchbacked specialist in all aspects of vampire hunting, & Carla (Caroline Munro), a hippie girl he has just rescued from the knacker's yard (where she was put for dancing on a Sunday), & who immediately fell in love with him.

However, the villagers initially prove less than happy about the advent of the man who has arrived to save them, and at an inn, Kronos is actually attacked by Kerro (Ian Hendry), but proves to be quite capable to defend himself with his swift sword. Kronos' investigations into the village's vampirism on the other hand do lead to little results - until Dr Marcus stops by the Durward's place, & comes back a changed man. When on watch the next night, he does nothing to save a girl from the attack of a vampire bat, & soon he reveals his vampire fangs to Kronos, urging his friend to help him, & when he can't, kill him.

But killing Marcus proves more difficult than one might think, since different vampires are killed in different ways. A wooden stake through the heart won't end Marcus' life, neither hanging or threatening him with fire, only a fatal wound by a steel cruzifix will do the trick - & this is one of the most macabre & funniest scenes of the whole movie.

So now Kronos has the means to kill the local vampire & soon has himself made a steel-sword in the form of a cruzifix, and he knows where to find the vampire, at the Durward estate. But who might the actual vampire be: Lady Durward (Wanda Ventham) an old & sick woman almost in the state of decay, her son, mother's boy Paul (Shane Briant), or her seductive & self-assured daughter Sara (Lois Dane).

To get some actual proof, Kronos sends Carla - by now his mistress - into the estate as bait, & she is scared stiff - & as surprised as Paul & Sara - when she finds out Lady Durward is not the old decaying woman everyone thought her to be at all but a rejuvenated vampire, who has even revived her husband Hagen (William Hobbs), a master swordsman, as a vampire.

Thank God this is when Kronos, master swordsman in his own right, rushes in & challenges Hagen to a duel - which he wins & is able to kill vampire Hagen with his cruzifix-sword - & since he is at it, he kills Lady Durwood as well.

Instantly, the 2 dead vampires decay (for real), giving a notion of creatures having outstayed their welcome.

Now all that's left to do for Kronos is to bid adieu to Carla, to ride off to new adventures ...

 

When in the early 70's Hammer's household formula was pretty mcuh sucked dry, they looked for new ways to infuse new blood into their brand of movies - & maybe even create a new series for the studio. For one such attempt they turned to former Avengers-producers Albert Fennell & Brian Clemens, who tried to give the vampire genre a new spin by mixing it with the swashbuckling genre, thus moving it out of its horror ghetto & into more action-adventure oriented terrain.

The result is a fairly entertaining & fast moving picture, though not on par with acknowledged Hammer-classics like Curse of Frankenstein or Dracula - to name the most obvious ones -, the absence of any real villain to carry the story & a rather unimpressive hero prevent that, as well as a screenplay that does seem at times indecisive. The concept did neither catch on with a large audience or with the heads of Hammer, so the series was shelved after this initial entry.

In retrospect though, Captain Kronos does seem almost visionary, as about 25 to 30 years later a whole bunch of movies (most notably the Blade-series, Underworld, Van Helsing or tv's Buffy the Vampire Slayer) would do exactly what this movie did - move the vampire genre as a whole over to more action-oriented pastures (but in consequence, robbing it of its horror appeal).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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