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CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER ($20) is definitely not your typical Hammer vampire movie. Sure, the film has many of the gothic trappings one would normally associate with a Hammer genre outing, but the plot of CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER places a refreshing twist on the usual vampire movie conventions. Instead of a Van Helsing type, as the nominal hero, the title character is a genuine swashbuckler- with sword in hand; this former member of the Imperial Guard is ready to take on any opponent, either live or undead. As for the filmís vampire, it too is of a different variety- draining off a personís youth, instead of their blood.

The plot follows Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) and his scholarly vampire-hunting companion Professor Grost (John Cater) to a village where a number of young maidens have died from rapid old age. Mixed in with a good deal of action is the element of mystery, as the audience is left to guess the identity of the vampire from a number of carefully laid out red herrings. Not cut from the same cloth as most Hammer offerings from the early 1970ís, CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER breezes along at a quick pace and proves to be highly entertaining- which is probably why this film has developed a cult following in the thirty years since it was made. The cast of CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER also features Caroline Munro, John Carson, Shane Briant and Lois Daine.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This is a really good-looking transfer that is certain to please fans. The image appears crisp and fairly well defined for an early 1970ís offering. Colors are rendered at a fairly natural level of saturation, although well-lit interiors do deliver more vibrant hues. There are no problems with either chroma noise or smearing during the presentation. The black level is pretty accurate and the whites appear stable. Contrast is generally quite good, as is the shadow detail. The film element used for the transfer is in good shape, displaying minor blemishes and a bit of a grain structure in various places. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.

CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER comes with a pretty good sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. There are the expected limitations in fidelity in this three-decade-old track, but the sound proves to be free from background hiss and other audible anomalies. Dialogue is always completely understandable, although the voices occasionally have a "canned" quality. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, although English subtitles are provided. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a rather enjoyable running audio commentary featuring writer/director Brian Clemens, actress Caroline Munro and genre movie historian Jonathan Sothcott.

CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER is a highly enjoyable, albeit somewhat atypical Hammer vampire movie. Paramount has done a fine job with the DVD, offering a good-looking presentation, as well an audio commentary that is certain to please Hammer fans. If you are a genre movie buff or a die-hard Hammer horror fanatic, CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER is a DVD youíll want to add to you collection.



Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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