Friday, 4 October 2013

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974)

I decided to revisit an old Hammer last night.

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter is a beautiful to look at vampire swashbuckler from the latter stages of Hammer's reign. 

It's a film full of potential - indeed Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell, the men behind it (they also created The Avengers) had the idea for a series of Kronos films or at the least a spin off TV programme, supplanting him and his loyal hunchbacked aide Prof Grost anywhere in time, anywhere in the world and against any supernatural staple villain. After all, Kronos means time. Sadly the further adventures were not to be, though the Captain and Grost enjoyed an afterlife as a comic strip adventure in the House Of Hammer magazine

Unfortunately, despite the great conceit, the film itself isn't as engaging or well paced as it ought to be. What should be a rollicking romp to make 90s minutes feel like half an hour turns out to be a little weak and ineffectual despite the cast's best intentions, the overall spirit at the heart of the piece and some delicious mature fairytale trappings that Hammer so perfectly excelled in at that time. It's got a great score too from The Avengers composer Laurie Johnson (not the only link to that classic series as Ian Hendry, the show's original leading man has a brief cameo as a bar room thug) at turns both suitably energetic and sinister.

Still Horst Janson looks the part as our Germanic hero, with cheekbones that could cut as well as his sword!  John Cater pitches his performance perfectly as Grost, Shane Briant makes for a good suave villain to swash buckles with, and Caroline Munro is as beautiful as ever. Let's face it, even Hammer that doesn't quite hit the spot is still worth watching, right?

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