A rash of vampire attacks on local villagers leads to one of them calling in his old army buddy from the Royal Guard. This friend is the esteemed Capt. Kronos, Vampire Hunter, who along with his hunchbacked companion spends his time in his new profession of slaying bloodsuckers. Kronos shows us his piety (and excellent taste in women) early in the film by freeing a young girl named Carla (Hammer film starlet Caroline Munroe) from the stockade, after learning her crime was “dancing on the Sabbath”. She vows to stay with him, if he’ll have her, to which he replies “Oh, I’ll have you”.
This Hammer Film outing was intended to capitalize on their Dracula films and introduce a new hero to modern audiences. Unfortunately their plans didn’t turn out quite the way they wanted it, and Capt. Kronos became a one off film for the failing company. With it’s old-world setting, theme, and mythology, perhaps it was asking too much to be invested in a procedural vampire hunt in the same year as more visceral fare like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
It’s no use lamenting what might have been, so let’s just cut to it and say this is a fun action/horror film, and one of the last great Hammer films. The unfortunately named Horst Jansen is a fun and energetic actor whose brings a fun romanticism to the sword-wielding vampire hunter. Kronos’ nobility makes him endearing and while he may be a righteous, he’s still man enough to know freeing Caroline Munroe (who’d later go on to court James Bond in The Spy who Loved Me) from the stockade is a no-brainier. While the identity of the villain is supposed to remain a mystery, the gives a hint as to who it is early on that might as well have been a giant neon arrow pointing at the person saying “VAMPIRE”. Despite that, Kronos still has enough swashbuckling action to keep me entertained.
Perhaps one day the newly reformed Hammer Studios can give us a sequel or reboot with Aaron Eckhart and Ana Cheri in the lead roles.