Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974) is an action, horror, mystery film that was intended as a pilot for a TV series.
A girl brushes another girl's hair in the forest. The girl with the brush is called away when the other girl is approached by a cloaked stranger. Her initial fear is replaced by happiness, and she stands and caresses the stranger. Soon her father and friend find her, sitting against the tree, an old woman. After the title card we see our hero in Napoleonic coat with samurai sword and rapier, riding along the highway. He is followed by his faithful hunchback, Professor Grost, in a carriage. He stops next to a girl in the stocks next to the road and asks her crime. She replies, "dancing on Sunday," and he promptly frees her.
More like Captain Kronos - Vampire Investigator, the man takes forever to actually find out who the vamps are and where they live. The film acknowleges a variety of vampires that must be killed in a variety of ways. This idea is incredibly refreshing, though employed only to stretch the running time. Kronos even uses some archaic vampire hunting tricks. It would have worked out better as an hour TV episode, since the plot is stretched pretty thing over the 90 minute running time.
Our Big Damn Hero
Captain Kronos is a swahbuckling playboy pothead, sorry, Chinese herb head, who uses vampire hunting as a means to do nothing most of the time. He caries a katana, a rapier, and a cutlass, then has a fourth sword forged for him during the course of the film. He does observe the heroes never look back code.
Professor Hieronymus Grost is the hunchbacked assistant to Kronos. Grost pulls double duty developing both him and Kronos. He's also one of the only characters to really have something to do aside from interact with Kronos. He sets up all the traps, cooks, and even forges a sword. We have our real hero right here.
|"This is God's blade, forged for your black heart!"|
The Vampires can bring toads back to life and stop time apparently. It's a shame they only stop time while turning someone into a vampire. They are also sneaky as crap. They appear and disappear with the greatest of ease, leaving only reanimated toads in their wake.
Not much to say here. Special effects and sets were good with the exception of the bat attack. That was hilarious.
In the End
The vampire reveal is kind of weak and something that could have been predicted, though I didn't. It should have been revealed earlier, allowing more vampire hunting action. It does provide a cool sword fight around entranced victims.
There aren't enough cool campiness to outweigh the sluggish plot. It isn't often I feel more action could have helped a film, but this is definitely one that could. It is rather like a less good Vampire Hunter D. Watch it if you want some fun seventies cheeziness!
Next time: REVIEW #100