"There are as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey. Their methods and motive for attack can vary in a hundred different ways."
"And their means of destruction."
Fun and stylish late period Hammer film from Brian Clemens, one of the main architects of TV's The Avengers, and there's more than a whiff of that great spy show's spirit on hand in Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter.
Something is stalking the young lasses of Durward village and sucking the youth from them, leaving them dying old crones with blood on their lips. Dr. Marcus (John Carlson) suspects a supernatural agency and summons his old army comrade Captain Kronos (Horst Janson). Kronos arrives soon after, accompanied by his hunchbacked assistant, Prof. Heironymus Grost ("What he doesn't know about vampirism wouldn't fill a flea's codpiece.") Along the way, Kronos frees a gypsy girl, Carla (Caroline Munro), from the stocks ("And what crime have you committed?" "I danced on a Sunday") and she joins up with them.
John Carlson as Dr. Marcus
While Kronos mostly sits around smoking cheroots and looking pensive, Grost gets to work, burying dead toads around the woods where the various girls have been attacked. Apparently, if a vampire passes by, the toads will come back to life.
In the meantime, Marcus meets the blond, effete Durward siblings (Shane Briant and Lois Daine) as they visit the graveside of their dead father. Their reclusive mother, Lady Durward (Wanda Ventham) harbors a grudge against Marcus for allowing her husband to die under his care.
Caroline Munro and her "come hither" eyes.
Some ruffians, led by Kerro (Ian Hendry, far overqualified for such a small role) are paid to pick a fight with Kronos in the village tavern, but are no match for his skills with a samurai sword (how and why a former member of the Imperial Guard got ahold of a Japanese katana is never explained). As Kronos and Carla get more intimately acquainted, additional corpses pile up, and Dr. Marcus pays an ill-fated visit to the Durward estate.
This leads to one of the highlights of the film, as Kronos and Grost test various methods on a vampire captive to find out the precise way to kill it. When the traditional stake through the heart doesn't work, they try hanging. Eventually they find it's cold steel that does the trick, which paves the way for a final dramatic sword duel between Kronos and the master vampire in his lair.
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