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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 future....

Robert JE Simpson
22 August 2006.




Themes of the Vampire

poster for "Captain Kronos : Vampire Hunter"

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 remains throughout.

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 plot.

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 Hammer fans.


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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