This is an
early article from the beginning of this site, a discussion
of some of the themes present in Captain Kronos Vampire
Hunter. On initial publication I found the article ran much
shorter than planned. I repost this
article simply for archive interest. As with much of the
rest of the site I hope to publish an updated version of the article in the near
22 August 2006.
CAPTAIN KRONOS : VAMPIRE
Themes of the Vampire
Captain Kronos is perhaps one of the
last truly great Hammer Horror films. Its cast superlative, and
just the right blend of sexuality and blood, it would see the
studios return to the Vampire theme yet again, a long studied
legend in the Hammer film world. Written and produced by the men
responsible for the New Avengers, the cast included Ian Hendry,
who had played Dr. Keel in the first series of The Avengers.
Caroline Munro is the sexy love interest, and the gothic feel
The film was the first in a proposed
series about Kronos the Vampire Hunter, but despite the success
of the formula, the character was never to resurface.
As a vampire film, it did much against
the traditional views about vampires and methods of killing them.
No longer could one simply hide behind the glorious sunlight, as
the old imagery of good light versus the evil dark had dictated.
Kronos himself is a beautiful hero,
dashing good looks, and flowing blonde locks of hair. The victim
of a vampire once himself, he had to kill his poisoned mother and
sister, yet survived himself. As his hunchbacked friend Grost
states "Not everyone is like you Kronos!"
Perhaps the driving beauty of the film
is not the glorious cast, the gothic setting or stunning camera
work and humour, but the hunt of the vampire. Far from simply
draining the blood from its victims, the vampire more fulfils the
broader term "Vampire" and drains the very life and
energy from the victims. They become haggard old beings, who die
of old age. Kronos in his capacity as professional vampire-hunter,
employs both outright techniques and folklore in his quest. He
comments that even the old folklore has a good grain of truth
behind it and uses dead toads as part of his kit, it being said
that when a Vampire should pass by a dead toad, said toad will
return to life.
When he is faced with the succumbing of
one of his old friends (Dr Marcus) to vampirism, it is an
apparent regression of age, and inability to bleed which leads to
the discovery. Sunlight has had no affect on the vampire-in-the-making,
and attempts at strangulation and drowning fail, as does an
attempt to burn him to death (something which generally is
regarded as a useless method to destroy a vampire). It is only the
accidental staking in the heart with a silver cross which seems
to have any effect. Then finally "I am myself again".
The actual scenes of Kronos trying to
kill his old friend seem rather harsh and vicious, and we the
viewer recoil in horror. Perhaps best shown as we catch the
shadow of the man hanging from the rafters, strapped to his chair.
The local villagers can only watch the scenes in part through the
murky window, and too recoil in this apparently brutal act.
Hammer not only at its best cinematically, but with a riveting
The plot twists and turns our minds. We
are deceived and twisted in our decision of the vampire's
identity. We are perplexed as to the involvement of Ian Hendry
and his cronies in the bar. Right to the end, as we watch the
horror unfold in the great house, as Caroline Munro almost
becomes the next victim. The horrific truth behind the aging
process of the victims, and the startling youth of the vampire.
Not far removed from the themes of Countess Dracula, and
yet more intriguing.
Yet as the crescendo builds we are
treated to a defiance of time, blood, unseen horrors,
swashbuckling swordfights, and the customary nudity (which is
practically shrouded in the dark of this gothic masterpiece).
Where Kronos succeeds perhaps
best, is that thanks to Brian Clemens, it is more like a New
Avengers episode than a horror film. The script is slick,
and humorous, the details and variety, worth it, and one comes
away satisfied with the film. Some have remarked that it ought to
have remained more as an idea for a tv series, especially
considering the lack of publicity the film received on its
release in 1974, two years after going before the cameras. But
time and reruns, have ensured the popularity of Kronos amongst
the article is shorter than
anticipated. Perhaps you have something to ad? If I do, I will
add to the article in due course. Meanwhile if you have any
comments or wish to find anything else out etc, then e-mail me at
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