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Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) – Episode 71 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What he doesn’t know about vampirism wouldn’t fill a flea’s codpiece.” Wow! He must know a lot about vampires, right? Of course the quote is referring to this episode’s subject. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Bill Mulligan, Chad Hunt, and Jeff Mohr – as they feint, parry, and lunge along with this vampire swashbuckler Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter from Hammer Films.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 71 – Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)

After killing his mother and sister when they became vampires, Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) has dedicated his life to hunting vampires. As Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter begins, Kronos is summoned by his old friend Dr. Marcus (John Carson) when young women in his village have the life sucked out of them, their corpses looking like old women. Kronos arrives with Grost (John Cater), his hunchbacked partner, and Carla (Caroline Munro), a young woman they rescued from a pillory along the way. (No dancing on Sunday!) After dispatching a multitude of ne’er do wells while demonstrating his master swordsmanship, Kronos and his comrades zero in on the Durward family and their matriarch (Wanda Ventham) as the probable source of the vampire, even as more women die.

Known primarily for his writing, Brian Clemens adds the director’s chair to his duties for Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter for only the second time in his career and his only feature film. Filmed in 1972 but not released until 1974, the film reveals a studio in decline. The film was intended to be the first of a new series but after an inadequate marketing campaign and a dismal performance at the box office, the idea was scrapped.

The Grue Crew admits Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter has some problems. Chad thinks the idea has promise, but isn’t executed very well. Doc admits having trouble staying awake during the middle section, but loves the setup and the finale. According to Bill, there could have been better insults than calling the bad guys Ratface, Fatty, and Big Mouth. Jeff has questions about some of the details in the story and feels there are gaps in the exposition, both in the showing and the telling.

Despite its flaws, the Grue Crew highly recommends Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter as part of the Hammer Films canon. This version of a vampire film has a lot to offer – a swashbuckling vampire hunter, Caroline Munro, a spaghetti western style showdown, Caroline Munro, burying dead toads for vampires to bestrode, Caroline Munro, Kronos with a bag over his head, Caroline Munro, and don’t forget Caroline Munro. No matter what, Chad wants to make sure you don’t forget Caroline Munro. Come on Chad! Who can forget Caroline Munro?

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) – Episode 39 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Nine killed you. Nine shall die. Nine times, nine! Nine killed you! Nine shall die! Nine eternities in DOOM!” – the exposition from Vincent Price in The Abominable Dr. Phibes sets up the revenge plot of the film with usual Price flourish and delivery. Billed as Price’s 100th film (it isn’t, by the way), Phibes provides Price with another opportunity to create a lasting and frighteningly campy character to be cherished by horror fans for decades. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten tackle another groovy horror film from the 1970s.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 39 – The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Vincent Price is one of those iconic actors who helps define the horror genre. His presence, talent and spirit elevate any film in which he appears from House of Wax & The Fly (1957) to the Corman Poe films to Edward Scissorhands. But with The Abominable Dr. Phibes, from director Robert Fuest, he became synonymous with a new (in 1971) horror character, Dr. Anton Phibes. Prices scarred and delusional character is hellbent on revenge on the nine doctors he holds responsible for the death of his beautiful wife, Victoria (Caroline Munro). After his own untimely accident which leaves him deformed – and thought dead by the world – Phibes hatches an elaborate plan to dispatch his targets using the 10 Plagues of Egypt as his M.O. Gruesome, gory and full of high camp, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a highlight of Price’s later career and a milestone horror film. The Black Saint and Doc Rotten, joined once again by Bill Mulligan, dive into the A.I.P. classic.

The Grue-crew explore the film, its impact and some trivia surrounding its production. The discuss how Vincent Price would tease Joseph Cotton by intentionally making funny faces so the actor, uncomfortable in his role, would break up laughing. They reminisce on what the film would be like if Peter Cushing, who was originally offered the Cotton role of Vesalius, would have been like with the two actors facing off.  The crew marvel at the Art-deco design and the production work throughout. If you gather that the crew love The Abominable Dr. Phibes from this description, you’re not far off. The podcast is an affectionate look back at one of Seventies most iconic early films.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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