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Film / Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter

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A 1972 (released 1974) Hammer Horror film about a captain, named Kronos, who hunts vampires.

With his village plagued by a string of mysterious deaths, which leave the victims withered with age, former military surgeon Doctor Marcus calls on his old army buddy Captain Kronos to investigate. Kronos rides into town on a black horse, accompanied by his hunchbacked assistant Professor Hieronymous Grost, and Carla, a beautiful woman he rescued on the road, and finds himself faced with two problems: First, working out exactly who the vampire is, and second, working out exactly how it can be killed.

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Captain Kronos: Trope Hunter:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Doctor Marcus.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Kronos finds a man lying face down. He turns him over to check on him — and his right arm stays lying where it was.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The Durwards.
  • Asshole Victim: The overtly cruel bar thug we see in one scene reappears with his fellow goons in a later scene when Kronos and Grost enter the bar looking for information on the vampire they're hunting, insulting the two men and itching for a fight. Kronos kills him and his fellow goons in a Single-Stroke Battle and finds evidence in the man's clothes that he as paid by the vampire to try to kill Kronos and Grost. After reassuring the bartender and his wife that he's not going to hurt them, neither Kronos, Grost nor the bartender care about the fact that three men had their throats sliced open with a katana and are now lying dead in the middle of the establishment.
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  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Kronos himself, and Professor Hieronymous Grost.
  • The Bait: Carla is sent in to draw the vampires out.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Kronos learns why this is a bad idea.
  • Bifauxnen: Sara, who keeps her hair short and frequently wears men's clothing.
  • Big Bad: Lady Durwood, who resurrected her husband as a vampire.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Evidence not only that a person is dead, but that they've been killed by a vampire.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Strongly (and, according to writer/director Brian Clemens, intentionally) hinted at between Paul and Sara Durwood.
  • But Now I Must Go: Kronos at the end.
  • Cast the Expert: Fight choreographer William Hobbs plays Hagen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hagen's tombstone, and its inscription relating his swordsmanship.
  • Cigar Chomper: Kronos smokes several cigars (pretty thin and quite dandy for the age the film takes place in) throughout the film.
  • Crapsack World: Medieval England is stuck right in The Dung Ages. A plague just happened, there's a civil war so horrific that soldiers regularly desert regardless of if they won or lost, and the religious fervor is so great that you can be put on the stocks fro dancing on a Sunday. Meanwhile, vampires stalk the countryside, and there are enough species with different weaknesses that you'll most likely not figure out how to kill it until it's far too late.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Carla goes barefoot throughout the entire film.
  • Dual Wielding: Kronos vs. six angry villagers. Sabre in his right hand, katana in his left.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The leading bar thug. Humiliating a tavern wench, then threatening to kill a man who fails to laugh at her misery.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: We meet Carla in the pillory, for the crime of dancing on a Sunday.
  • Forging Scene: The Professor transforms an iron crucifix into a cruciform sword, with which Kronos can kill the vampire.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Downplayed with Kronos himself, as Carla wonders why he's so rough in bed (at the time, he's left her with a bleeding lip, although she doesn't seem very upset). He gives a Freudian Excuse about his family becoming vampires, and kissing therefore having ugly implications for him.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Carla is not explicitly identified as being of that ethnicity, but has all the typical features (bare feet, active sexuality, dark complexion, first found having been punished by puritanical villagers for sexy dancing).
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Kronos himself. Why a man such as Kronos would have a katana is a part of his Mysterious Past.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The vampire attacks all happen just off screen.
  • Human Shield: Kronos uses Hagen's own mesmerised daughter as cover.
  • In the Hood: Hagen.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: An Unbuilt Trope: Kronos carries both a katana and a sabre, and appears to favour the katana for everyday use. However, he uses a medieval-style arming sword in the final fight, specially forged for the occasion.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Carla and the Professor load Kronos up with painted-on crosses, garlic flowers, and his special sword.
  • Master Swordsman: Kronos and Hagen (the finest swordsman of his time)
  • Ms. Fanservice: Carla's primary role in the film is to smoulder a lot, and sleep with Kronos. She does not appear to own a bra. Or a pair of shoes...
  • No Ontological Inertia: When killed, vampires return to their true age.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Professor Grost explains that there are as many different kinds of vampire as there are predatory beasts. This particular one sucks out its victim's youth, is unaffected by daylight, appears in mirrors, and is killed by an iron blade to the heart. Oh, and the passage of a vampire will resurrect a dead toad.
    Professor Grost: Vampires. Doctor Marcus, it is commonly supposed that a vampire attacks in one way: by biting the neck and draining the victim of blood.
    Doctor Marcus: [nods in agreement] That's true.
    Professor Grost: The girls you spoke of, they were not drained of blood, but of youth. Of life itself. You see, Doctor, there are as many species of vampires as there are beasts of prey. Their methods and their motive for attack can vary in a hundred different ways. [starts pacing around the room] And their means of their destruction. Ah, the traditional stake through the heart doesn't always hold good, you know? Some can only be destroyed by hanging or decapitation, or fire or water! Or by other means (pats model cannon on a nearby table)!
  • Protagonist Title
  • Rasputinian Death: Doctor Marcus. After being turned, he asks for a Mercy Kill from Kronos and he and Grost test several kinds of methods to kill vampires to see what can kill the type that Marcus has been turned into. They find out their vulnerability is iron by sheer chance, and Marcus lives long enough to thank them before passing away.
  • Role Called
  • Scars Are Forever: Hagen still bears the marks of the plague that killed him, and Kronos has a long scar on his side. Doctor Marcus (who served with him in the army) explains it:
    "I know you've got guts, Kronos. I've seen them."
  • Shirtless Scene: Kronos seems to like showing off his scars.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The Professor and Doctor Marcus.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kronos does this at one point.
  • Stock Punishment: How Carla is introduced.
  • Sword Fight: The final duel is notable for being one of the earlier works of William Hobbs (who went on to choreograph the action in The Duellists, Robin and Marian, Rob Roy, and The Three Musketeers (1973)). Hobbs himself plays Hagen.
  • Zombie Infectee: Doctor Marcus. He is turned and allows himself to be tied to a chair while begging for a Mercy Kill. And thus Kronos and Grost use him to test what can kill his specific type of vampire. When they finally find it, Marcus makes note that these vampires change when they die back to their original age and he thanks the other two men before finally dying.
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