Vou have probably heard the news in the month of June, Christopher Lee was absent. Some people claim that it is dead, but it is hard to believe that a legend who crossed sixty years of genre cinema could disappear for good, especially when it has risen a countless number of times on the screen in the guise of count Dracula. Figurehead of the Hammer films, the giant Lee participates in the resurrection technicolor of a good package of literary myths which it would be difficult to establish an exhaustive list in a few lines : The Dog of the Baskervilles, The Mummy, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Fu Manchu…And if fans of genre cinema have dedicated a true cult to the English lord, the geeks of the twenty-first century are not at rest, since after returning to the front of the stage thanks to his participation in the films of Tim Burton, he will be Samourane in the Lord of The Rings and count Dooku in Star Wars. If the actor to the cavernous voice remains associated with these success, his filmography is rich in over two hundred roles, some in beads fantastic and here are 5 examples.
THE CITY OF THE DEAD
Released in 1960, directed by John L. Moxey, with Christopher Lee, Dennis Lotis and Patricia Jessel.
A student is sent by his teacher in a village lost and do research on the ancient practices of witchcraft. Arrived in her hotel she starts to hear strange noises that seem to come from a trap door in his room.
At the end of the fifties, the rise of the Hammer gives a blow of whip welcome to the genre of thrillers in the world; the Tears of the curse , in Mexico cycle Poe for Roger Corman in the USA, through the Mask of The Demon in Italy, there are many productions to borrow his decorum gothic style to the studio british. The City of the dead sign is the meeting of producers Subotsky and Rosenberg who will found by following the studio Amicus, and to differentiate themselves from their illustrious elder, they choose a black and white image more radical than the hues in the fall of Dracula or Frankenstein, and instead of dipping into the literature of the nineteenth century, they draw on instead of H. P. Lovecraft and his taste for the isolated villages, hiding from an unspeakable threat. It should be noted that to surf on the success of Psychosis released a few weeks earlier, the film was rename Horror Hotel in the United States.
THE TRAIN OF ÉPOUVANTES
Released in 1965, directed by Freddie Francis, with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Roy Castle.
In a train, five passengers, who do not know, are contacted by a mysterious character wealthy who offers to read their future in the tarot cards. He predicted all of the terrible things.
With The Train of Épouvantes, the studio Amicus introduces a formula which it will use until the end of the seventies, namely the film in sketches, thanks to what the film could benefit from a cast prestigious at a lower cost. Here we find the duo, terrible of the Hammer, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, inseparable friends for life who will sign up for several productions Amicus, built on the same collection of stories épouvantes such as Asylum and The House that kills. Here Lee interprets an art critic who seeks revenge of a painter, avant-garde, in a sketch, mixing black humor, and psychological tension like an episode ofAlfred Hitchcock presents.
THE VAMPIRE AND THE BLOOD OF VIRGINS
Released in 1967, directed by Harald Reinl, with Lex Baxter, Karin Dor and Christopher Lee.
Count Frederic Regula, who was tortured and murdered twelve young girls, and is condemned to be quartered. Thirty-five years later. Roger, the lawyer, receives an enigmatic one-legged an invitation to visit the castle of count Regula. The baroness Lilian von Brabant has also been invited.
As was the case for The City of the Dead, this German film is to be found decked out in its release of a misleading title, using the term “vampire” as a label indécollable on the front of Christopher Lee. In truth, the actor plays here a necromancer, masculine version of the countess Bathory, leading the visitors lost trap trap with sadistic pleasure worthy ofEdgar Allan Poe, which he here presents the scheme of the pendulum giant. If this kind of delusions baroque is more the hallmark of british cinema, or Italian, the German Harald Reinl is also applied in its staging as his models, offering sequences are memorable, such as the crossing of the forest of the hanged, or the exploration of the crypt lined with human skulls. In sum, a vision of hell magnified by a work on the colors mid-way between those of the illustrations of serials, and shades of twilight ofArnold Böcklin.
THE HOUSE BEWITCHED
Released in 1968, directed by Vernon Sewell, with Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and Barbara Steele.
A merchant of antiquities, the search for his brother, mysteriously vanished after having stabbed a young woman during a satanic feast. His investigation leads him to a mansion, the seat of ceremonies, orgiastic and decadent.
This film is a magic equation for moviegoers, combining the names of the legends of the horror of Lee, Karloff and Steele, in the service of an adaptation of the master H. P. Lovercraft. If the world of the writer is deemed impossible to adapt faithfully on the big screen, the filmmaker makes use of the story of the satanic sect, to accumulate all the clichés of the horror film of the sixties. Sequence orgy pretext for stripping of young starlets, forbidding mansion with a huge library, talisman cursed and ancient manuscript, one comes to believe that the above scenario is only an exercise of style, seeking to synthesize all the imagination of the decade. The movie does largely boil down to a work agreed upon, if these experiments psychedelics were not an original representation of the parallel world, which gradually comes to free-ride on the reality.
THE WICKER MAN
Released in 1973, directed by Robin Hardy, with Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland.
Sergeant Howie is investigating the disappearance of a little girl on an isolated island. In the course of his investigations, he discovers that the local population is engaged in strange ceremonies of another age.
Not to be missed is the adjective that suits The Wicker Man (more rarely named The God of wicker) since it was ranked eighty-sixth best british film by the British Film Institute. Thus a postulate of the classical as to the polar that of the fantastic, this investigation in a world isolated from the civilization does not cease to surprise the spectator, thanks to its ruptures of tones and incessant, where the eroticism of a scene threatens to turn the worrying, where ribald humor can also defuse psychological tension. Between its songs to the melodies light and its atmosphere of bacchanalia, Robin Hardy takes each time a different approach to the effects of conventional, to bring up the anxiety until the final absolutely insane. Christopher Lee was his role of guru pagan as his best, it carries in any case all will be subversive of the seventies, where the new ideals of hippies and libertarians are confronted with christian values and conservative.