Thursday, June 11, 2015

Better Stake Him, It's the Only Way to Be Sure

I was bummed to read of the death of Christopher Lee, though he lived a long, productive, and eventful life. I always saw Lee as a less-campy answer to my favorite horror actor, Vincent Price. While Price always seemed to be a ham no matter how straight he played, Lee always seemed "serious" no matter how lurid the film he starred in was. Even more importantly, Lee served as an awesome foil to the equally amazing Peter Cushing in a series of horror movies produced by the legendary Hammer studios. These period pieces were known for their lavish sets and appeal to the male gaze as much as for the bright gouts of gore. A former co-worker of mine was partial to Taste the Blood of Dracula:

My personal favorite horror film featuring Lee is The Wicker Man, which pitted Edward Woodward's pious Protestant police sergeant against Lee's pagan Lord Summerisle:

The end of the movie is one of the classic shockers of horror cinema (not quite as unexpected as that of Don't Look Now, but what is?), and leaves the viewer with the impression that, given a choice between Woodward's Calvinism and Lee's paganism, the correct answer is "run like hell away".

Even more significant that Lee's cinematic career is his career as a Special Operative during World War 2 and its aftermath. Now, that would be an amazing subject for a film! This has led to a meme which I just discovered today. Another thing I didn't know about Lee until today was that he was a paisan- good luck keeping that vampire away with garlic!

Here's a funny video of Christopher Lee extolling the virtues of booze, watching it, I have to think that a musical featuring him and Tim Curry would have been the awesomest thing ever:

It's a pity he didn't do more comedy, or more opera:

He would have made a kickass Figaro.


Smut Clyde said...

Via John Coulthart, here's Lee on "Dracula and I". Dude was professional.

or more opera
Instead he opted for a career as a Heavy Metal vocalist.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I like that meme!

Smut Clyde said...

I have to think that a musical featuring him and Tim Curry would have been the awesomest thing ever

I had no idea that those songs in "Captain Invincible" were the work of Richard O'Brien.
The whole movie is worth watching just for the "Bullshit" song.

Smut Clyde said...

I like that meme!
Meme is woefully incomplete. Does not mention Lee's record for "Most swordfight scenes".

Bel-Ami said...

I particularly enjoyed Lee's work in The Three/Four Musketeers. Proof that when given quality material he was one of the best.