Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter holds a unique place in cinematic horror history. The sole feature-length directing credit of acclaimed film and television writer Brian Clemens (most famous, perhaps, for his work as script editor on The Avengers) it was hoped that the film might be the first in a franchise featuring the titular vampire hunter and turn the failing fortunes of Hammer Films. Sadly, it was not to be.
While Captain Kronos failed to be the blockbuster Hammer Films needed at the time, it did acquire a cult status in later years. Part of this was due to the involvement of Clemens and the unique tone of his script and characters. The good captain was an investigator first and a cunning combatant second, more Sherlock Holmes than Solomon Kane. The Captain’s loyal second, Professor Grost, was equally brilliant and – in an unusual move for the time – depicted as a hunchback without the usual comic overtones this entailed.
The female lead – a fire-haired and fiery-tempered gypsy named Carla – is another reason for the film’s fame. At a time when women in horror movies were exclusively eye-candy, Carla was a breath of fresh air – striking, yes, but hardly a damsel in distress who screamed at the slightest stirring of a shadow. The fact that she was portrayed by glamour-girl Caroline Munro only added to the film’s cult status.
This first issue of Titan Comics‘ Hammer Comics: Captain Kronos offer a glimpse of what a sequel to the original film might have looked like. Writer Dan Abnett (Titans, Aquaman) perfectly captures the tone of Brian Clemens’ characters and dialogue. Tom and Sian Mandrake portray the Gothic aesthetic of the original Hammer horror movies with equal skill to Abnett’s scripting, the final product fittingly resembling the horror comics that were in vogue at the same time as the film’s original release.
Those who don’t enjoy classic horror or vampire stories will find little to enjoy in Captain Kronos’ adventures. Genre enthusiasts, however, will love it for the treasure it is. The series will also find appeal among fans of Red Sonja, who may see Carla – here allowed a more active role than in the original movie – as a spiritual sister to the She-Devil-With-A-Sword.