15 April 2002 | shotguntom
Horror Meets Spaghetti Western
While few of the Hammer horror films took themselves too seriously it was in the 1970s when the cycle became almost a parody of itself and "Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter" is perhaps the best example of this. Although it is a little known film it is certainly one of the best horrors, largely due to its original take on the vampire theme and imaginative, albeit risky, casting.
Rather than offer the audience another Christopher Lee dominated vampire flick, "Kronos" features Horst Janson in the title role and he is essentially the Clint Eastwood character from the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns. This means Kronos is unstoppable with a sword and can kill several men with one quick swish of his blade, best displayed when the brilliant Ian Hendry and his mob make the mistake of picking a fight with him.
It is important not to take the film or the cast too seriously as this is essentially a comedy-horror. There are several very amusing scenes such as when Kronos and his hunchbacked helper struggle to find a way to destroy a particularly nasty vampire, making light of the many and varied ways to supposedly kill one of the undead.
Like all Hammer Horror films "Kronos" benefits from having a short 90- minute running time, concentrating more on action and bloodletting than the idle chat that typified Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula". It is also good to see a vampire film in which the hero is dangerous and unpredictable and not entirely wholesome such as the Van Helsing character often is.
Anyone who found "Blade" to be too noisy and over-the-top (karate and vampires do not go together) should watch "Kronos" which is essentially the same film but far more subtle - like the difference between using a scalpel and a chainsaw.