At this time of year we're reminded (reminded, that is, in churches and not in Pop Culture) that Advent is a time when Christ came to redeem mankind and destroy the works of the Devil. Next week's feature review will deal with Redemption. This weekend, we're going to destroy the works of the Devil.
Our weekend recommendation is a truly unique film from 1974 titled Captain Kronos and stars Horst Jansen, John Cater, and the beautiful Caroline Munro. The film was produced by Hammer Studios---best known for producing fairly standard horror films. Captain Kronos is anything but standard; and arguable even whether it fits neatly into the horror genre or not. It is said that Italian Western director Sergio Leone was a technical advisor for this film; and it really watches more like an action film with some supernatural elements involved.
The story is set in Puritan England where Captain Kronos (Jansen) is a battle-hardened veteran of the English Civil War. He's a demobilized officer formerly of King Charles' Imperial Guards and has since found a new occupation as a soldier of fortune: fighting the various Witches' Covens and Satanic Cults that had sprouted up all over England in the mid-1600s. Kronos is a master swordsman and he is assisted by the hunchbacked Professor Grost (Cater), an expert in the occult.
Kronos is summoned by his old comrade-in-arms, Captain Marcus, to investigate a series of strange deaths where the victims---mostly young women have been found drained of their blood and aged beyond recognition. En route, Kronos meets and rescues Carla, his love interest in the story (played by Caroline Munro), who's been put in the pillory by the Puritans for 'dancing on a Sunday.'
The trio move on Marcus' village, where Grost determines that a vampire is at work. Kronos is obliged to fight a fair number of sword-duels, leading him to suspect that someone highly-placed in the area is behind these attacks, and assisting the vampire. The plot takes on the aura of mystery and suspense as Kronos tracks down the source of the problem.
In our Postmodern Era, it's become fashionable to laugh at the idea of devils and demonic influences---even though there are no shortages of irrational evil to illustrate otherwise. Part of the allure of Captain Kronos is that, unlike most films of the standard horror genre, it depicts the existence of evil as a fact; and a fact that good and determined people must stand against and fight. There is a stark reminder in this film that evil, no matter what its form in the mundane world, always has a spiritual evil behind it. We tend to forget---and often disbelieve---that the spiritual world claims allegiances and it that there are those who serve evil as well as good.
While it's doubtful that Captain Kronos will become annual holiday viewing, it's a film that most wouldn't mind watching more than once. The film is simply so unique and Kronos' character so admirable that it has had a loyal cadre of fans ever since its release. One can almost imagine Captain Kronos and Carla as the distant ancestors of American Western gunfighters and hard-boiled private-eyes. It is another testimony that every generation, no matter how bleak, has its remnant ready to lift its sword, or its gun, or its fists---or its voice---against the Powers of Darkness.
Captain Kronos is currently available on Youtube and elsewhere; also it is available on DVD.