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Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter [Blu-ray]
(Brian Clemens, 1974)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions
Video:Shock Entertainment (Australia)
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 47,289,038,189 bytes
Feature Size: 21,688,467,456 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 18th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 and 1.33
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• Commentary byCast hosted by Marcus Hearn with Shane Briant, John Carson, Caroline Munro and writer, director, co-producer Brian Clemens
• Commentary byCrew hosted by Marcus Hearn with writer, director, co-producer Brian Clemens and DoP Ian Wilson (recorded 2011)
• Special Features Featurette 'The Making Of' Featurette 'Captain Kronos Reunion' (25:42)
• Animated picture gallery (8:48)
• Trailer (2:02)
Description: Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter is a 1972 British Hammer horror film on Blu-ray and DVD. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens and stars Horst Janson and Caroline Munro. When several young girls are found dead, left hideously aged and void of blood, Dr Marcus suspects vampirism. He enlists the help of the Vampire Hunter. Mysterious and powerful, Kronos has dedicated his life to destroying the evil pestilence. Once a victim of its diabolical depravity, he knows the vampire's strengths and weaknesses as well as the extreme dangers attached to confronting the potent forces of darkness.
A late entry from the foundering Hammer Studios, this intriguing and highly original twist on the vampire motif -- featuring for once a hero more charismatic than the vampires with which he does battle -- was the first in a planned series of Kronos films, but poor planning on behalf of its overseas distributors killed the franchise's great potential in the American market. Kronos (Horst Janson) -- a kind of swashbuckling Sherlock Holmes of the occult sciences -- and his hunchbacked companion Professor Grost (John Cater), arrive in the village of Durward where the local young wenches are being victimized by a family of vampires that drain youth, not blood, from their victims, turning them into withered old hags. Kronos' mystical intuition and powers of deduction lead him to the elderly Lady Durward (Wanda Ventham) and her pompous children Paul (Shane Briant) and Sara (Lois Daine), and he soon squares off against his vampiric foes with a lethal sword (fashioned from a sacred cross) and a bag of occult tricks (including an interesting use of dead frogs). Well-photographed and cleverly directed by Brian Clemens (Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde), this is one of Hammer's few attempts to broaden its audience in the 1970's -- a trend which reached its zenith of zaniness with everybody kung fu fighting in the Hammer/Shaw Brothers collaboration Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Even by latter-day Hammer standards, writer-director Clemens transfuses movie vampire lore outrageously, and introduces conventions from a host of other pulp forms. Kronos is an unmistakably Germanic comic strip hero with a crusading zeal for his profession (Stan Lee out of Lang's Siegfried). By medieval standards he's distinctly cosmopolitan - carries a samurai sword, smokes dope, meditates; is accompanied on his travels by the scholarly Hieronymous Grost as he rescues distressed damsels from pillory or despatches bullies in Falstaffian taverns. Though Clemens manages sly quotes from the likes of Nosferatu and The Seventh Seal, the film has absolutely no pretensions beyond being a thoroughly endearing entertainment, and succeeds admirably despite the pastiche of incongruous conventions.Excerpt from Timeout located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Captain Kronos out of Shock Entertainment of Australia offer a Blu-ray with both the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio as well as a superfluous 1.33:1 ratio - for the 1.5 hour feature. Unfortunately, this divides the 'robust-ness', although the 1080P image quality is acceptable although not stellar. Generally the visuals are pleasing with a few exceptional scenes showing more impressive clarity and depth. Colors have a bit of richness but still look authentic and there is no noise in the darker sequences. The contrast seems layered adding some minor depth in the frame. It's quite clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are no unforgivable flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray gave me a pleasurable 1080P presentation. I was pleased enough that it provided a healthy presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Shock add a consistent linear PCM stereo track at 1536 kbps. There are some effects - swordplay etc. but notable is the score by Laurie Johnson (famous for The Avengers TV series theme, Dr. Strangelove, First Men in the Moon and many more) adding depth and some atmospheric orchestrations. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Shock add not one but two commentary tracks. The first is by 'The Cast' hosted by Marcus Hearn with Shane Briant, John Carson, Caroline Munro and writer, director, co-producer Brian Clemens. It's a cordial and fun grouping with fond reminisces and stories. The second has is labeled with "The Crew" and has Marcus Hearn leading with writer, director, co-producer Brian Clemens and Director-of-photography Ian Wilson (recorded 2011). Wilson is allowed to share a lot of his experiences and it has some further Hammer-aficionado appeal. There is also an interesting 'Captain Kronos Reunion' video that runs about 25-minutes with the cast getting back together in London to watch the film again on the biog screen. Also supplements include an animated picture gallery running almost 9-minutes, a trailer and the package contains a second disc DVD. Excellent extra content.
July 14th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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