[box cover]

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter

When Hammer Studios made their theatrical debut with 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein, it was revolutionary. Colorful, efficient, and most importantly bloody, the film reinvigorated the horror genre and created a cachet for the studio, which focused on horror films (with their reinterpretations of the classic horror icons) and science fiction (like their Quatermass series). But by 1973, on-screen bloodletting was nothing new (by then it was on the nightly news), and the Hammer attitude towards horror was antiquated. Watching aristocrats battle the undead had nothing on the previous year's The Last House on the Left, that year's The Exorcist, and next year's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Which may be why Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter sunk like a stone stateside. But Kronos (its international title) is a solid spin on the vampire mythos that deserves the cult following it has since picked up. Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) is a vampire hunter traveling around with his humpbacked sidekick Prof. Hieronymos Grost (John Cater) battling the undead, and when called upon by old friend Dr. Marcus (John Carson), he comes to a town where the victims are not drained of blood but of age — the corpses of young girls all have the appearance of elderly women. As Grost confirms, there are many different variations of vampirism; this one involves hypnotism and the sucking of life. Joined by the mysterious gypsy Carla (Caroline Munro), they seek out the vampires and hope to learn how to destroy them, since each different breed of vampire has different weakness. A clever reworking of vampire legends, Kronos also is something of a swashbuckler — Kronos is a master swordsman, and the adventuresome spirit and playfulness of its lore makes it compelling, even though writer Brian Clemmons directorial debut is a bit clumsy at times. That said, there are some great sequences, with the best being a scene where Kronos and Grost have a vampire tied up and try numerous ways to vanquish him. Paramount presents Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and monaural DD 2.0 audio. A commentary by director Clemmons, star Munro, and author Jonathan Sothcott in on board. Keep-case.

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