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Are fangs what they used to be?
on 12 August 2017
I remembered this from my student days, when we spent Saturday nights around the telly, entertained by the double-horror bills (on BB2, I think), whilst stuffing our faces with pizza and engaging in other student-type, er, practices (Kronos's Chinese herb pipeweed should give you a clue). I have a soft spot for the old Hammer stuff. This is a slightly different take on the vampire genre, and has the odd glimmer of off-beat style and flair here and there, courtesy of its script and direction by Brian Clemens, who was responsible for The Avengers and its cult essence. Unfortunately Kronos has not worn as well as my memory would have wished, and the quality of the print on the DVD is abysmal in low-lit scenes (in other words, you can't actually see what is going on). I don't know if a better print is available in another format.
Anyway: Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) is itinerant after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, travelling with his hunchback professor comrade to - yes, you've guessed it - seek out and destroy vampires wherever they be, in Mittel Europe at least. He's led to the village of an old doctor friend, to investigate the demise of people who've been found with the life sucked out of them, left as wizened relics.... I'd never heard of Horst Janson before this film and must confess I've never heard of him since, but he isn't that bad an actor, just lacking in charisma (think James Hunt crossed with Bjorn Borg). There are some excellent sword fighting scenes and a chance to see old stalwart actors like Ian Hendry and Wanda Ventham. The story has a slightly unexpected twist, there is a maverick touch when an innocent maiden goes to church - the place of safety, surely - to pray, and the silhouette of the cross on the wall begins to move its arms. So, a nostalgic revist to a fondly recalled oldie; but get a better print if you can, and maybe buy with a couple of friends to get better value.