Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Lee

10
Nov
14

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Guess what? We are well into November and I’m still writing up horror posts from last month’s 31 Days of Horror! If only they paid me to write up this crap, perhaps I wouldn’t be so behind. Unfortunately, they (whoever they might be) don’t, so forgive me for my passé posts. Anyway, back to the matter at hand: horror movies. For day 30 we watched Scream and Scream Again, one of only two films to star the powerful horror trifecta of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing!

Vincent Price as some mysterious "doctor."

Vincent Price as some mysterious “doctor.”

With such a beefy cast, you’d think the movie would be excellent. I’m not saying Scream and Scream Again sucks, but it isn’t amazing. And just because all three of these horror bigwigs are in this movie doesn’t actually mean they’re in it a lot. I think Cushing gets maybe five minutes of screen time (and why is it I feel he always gets the short end of the stick?). Lee gets a tad more, but not much. Price is in it the most of the three, but even still, his role is only one third of a batshit, tangled plot that finally converges within the last 10 minutes or so of the film.

Interrogation

Interrogation

I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to synopsize, because the shit doesn’t make much sense anyway. There are three separate plot lines. In the first, a runner finds himself mysteriously in a hospital, and every time he wakes his missing another limb. Somehow this is related to a sexy vampire-type who is prowling London’s mod clubs, sucking the life out of his pretty prey. Then there is a madman bigwig from some weird totalitarian country obviously up to no good who keeps Vulcan-nerve-pinching everyone to get what he wants. Actually, I guess there’s a fourth plot line: Vincent Price’s acid bath. Most of the movie happens before we have any idea how the plots intertwine, which is okay, I guess, but there’s no slow reveal: it all seems kind of thrown together at the last minute, almost as if it should have been an anthology but they changed their mind too late in the game.

A nurse so pretty she'll take your limbs away!

A nurse so pretty she’ll take your limbs away!

Scream and Scream Again is just kind of baffling, and frankly it should have (and could have easily) been better. That being said, it offers some great imagery and as always, Vincent Price is fun to watch; I just wish he was in it more. Yes, Lee and Cushing are usually pretty great also, but they’re just not even given a chance to do a damn thing here, it’s almost as if they’re not in this movie at all. And, you know, I wish the thing made a little bit of sense. Just even like a tiny bit. In the end, this movie is really just a pretty piece of mystifying film, which isn’t bad, but… meh?

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15
Oct
14

Raw Meat (1973)

This actually isn’t the first time I’ve written up Raw Meat, the film we chose for the 15th day of 31 Days of Horror. When I started this blog ages ago, my intent was to only write up schlocky shit shows. In my experience, muddling through a bunch of crappy horror films is kind of a tough job; I’ve definitely watched more worthless pieces of crap than hidden gems in my day. But, the hidden gems are so great that I thought it would be worthwhile to act as a resource for dorks like myself to find out whether or not a b-movie was good enough to gamble on. Then I watched Raw Meat, wrote up what I thought was a stupid post, deleted it and didn’t write again for three years or so. That’s a long way to get the point across that I wish I hadn’t deleted that post, because writing a post a day for October is getting tough! But I’m gonna power through guys, I’m gonna do my best!

Patricia returns to her cold-hearted American boy after a lover's quarrel.

Patricia returns to her cold-hearted American boy after a lover’s quarrel.

Alex and Patricia are a young couple in love hitching a ride home on the London Underground. Alex is an American asshole who doesn’t want to help a possibly dying man passed out on the stairs; just a drunk, he says. Patricia is a kindlier Brit, who insists they inform security of the sick man. After rushing back, security in tow, the mysterious man is gone. They checked his wallet to make sure he wasn’t a diabetic (“they have cards, you know”) so at least they know the guy’s name; and this guy wasn’t just your Average Joe. What would an OBE be doing passed out on the steps of a subway station, or taking the subway at all? At least that’s the first question Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence) asks the troubled couple.

Donald Pleasance enjoys a cuppa.

Donald Pleasence enjoys a cuppa.

But Calhoun knows the couple haven’t done anything wrong. No, something much darker and more disturbing is going on in London’s subway system. Calhoun has a hunch it may have something to do with an abandoned construction project from years ago; the private company funding the operation went bankrupt right at the moment when an avalanche trapped its workers, both men and women, underground. They couldn’t afford to save the workers, and the station, in the end, was never built. Instead, what became the Underground known today was built atop it. There couldn’t still be survivors, could there? That would be impossible, right?

She couldn't be happy underground.

She couldn’t be happy underground.

Wrong, of course: turns out the forgotten workers had turned into plagued Morlocks. The last of their clan just lost the soon-to-be mother of his child, and he’s hungry for blood – and for a new mate! If only Alex hadn’t left Patricia alone in that tube station…

Raw Meat is a surprisingly good little horror flick, though I must say it was not as good the second time around. I think that’s all because my expectations were so damn low the first time I saw it that I was totally surprised it was a competently made movie. The next time around I was showing it to Q, and usually when I’m showing a movie to someone I get super-critical about it: ‘does this person like this movie?,’ ‘Gosh, that scene was too long!’ or ‘god damn this movie is trying really hard to make Donald Pleasence look like a quirky cop!’

Did I forget to mention Christopher Lee's cameo? I guess that's 'cause it's literally like two-minutes long.

Did I forget to mention Christopher Lee’s cameo? I guess that’s ’cause it’s literally like two-minutes long.

In the end, Raw Meat is definitely worthwhile, but of course I’d say that; it’s a film about a bunch of forgotten workers who died doing their job, all at the hands of the greedy corporation that put them there in the first place. Those that didn’t die survived to become the terror of the urbanites riding the very system built over their living graves! A pretty great idea for a horror film, but the execution is a bit lacking. The story is slow in parts, particularly the scenes underground. It’s clear that the filmmakers are very proud of their make-up and special effects departments, but the scenes are so dark, sometimes it’s hard to make it out. Perhaps the blu-ray looks a bit better than the DVD version I’ve got. Either way, it’s definitely a perfect candidate for any Halloween party!

08
Dec
13

The Devil Rides Out (1968)

A fangless Christopher Lee

A fangless Christopher Lee

Don’t you hate it when your dead best friend’s son gets involved with a Satanic Cult? It’s even more of a bummer when you promised your dearly-departed pal you’d watch over the kid. This is exactly the predicament in which Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee)  finds himself in Hammer’s The Devil Rides Out.

Richleau first suspects some weird stuff is going down when he and his useless friend Rex stop by their friend’s place and find his son Simon hosting a strange party with some even stranger people. The party is apparently for some secret society, and Richleau and Rex find themselves unwelcome. Promising to leave, they instead head upstairs

Rex and  Tanith drive as far away from Mocata as possible... but is that good enough?

Rex and Tanith drive as far away from Mocata as possible… but is that good enough?

to a room with a pentagram on the floor, chickens in a box, and a telescope pointing towards the soon-to-be-eclipsed moon!

We soon find out that Simon and a young lady named Tanith are the victims of brainwashing and mind control at the hands of the ringleader of the cult, a strange fellow named Mocata. He needs the two youths to reach the right number of people (thirteen, of course) to summon the goat-headed demon from the depths of hell! But Richleau and Rex, who’s fallen in love with young Tanith, will stop at nothing to keep Mocata from

Mocata and the goat-headed demon!

Mocata and the goat-headed demon!

using the two kids to complete his evil plan.

This movie is good, Satanic fun à la Hammer’s 1968 vision. Who wouldn’t want to see Christopher Lee battling the demons of hell?! Frankly, it’s nice to see Lee play the good guy for once. My one complaint is Rex’s character; he is so damn useless and stupid, he made me downright angry by the end of the thing! If I had a nickel for every time Rex did something stupid to endanger the lives of those he’s trying to protect, I’d have at least 25 cents.

 

10
Jun
13

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Haughty young Victor

Haughty young Victor

Seeing as how Dr. Frankenstein and his monster may very well be two of the most commonly recurring characters in cinematic history, it’s no surprise they’re already making their fifth appearance on Schlock Wave. This time, Hammer gets to tell the tale, with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee leading the way.

The tale starts off with a young Victor Frankenstein, a real entitled dandy if there ever was one. With both parents passed away and an entire estate to handle, what’s a boy to do but fool a brilliant teacher named Paul Krempe into coming to his estate to

Old-timey science!

Old-timey science!

be his tutor? Paul can’t resist Victor’s charms (?) and stays for years teaching the boy everything he knows about medicine.

Of course, as time passes, Victor becomes obsessed with the idea of reanimating flesh and becoming one of the most famous men in the world. Paul wants nothing of it and threatens to leave, but when Victor’s cousin/fiancée Elizabeth comes to live at the estate, Paul feels he has to protect her from the egomaniacal man Victor has become. As you are undoubtedly aware, the movie continues

The beautiful results of science and technology: Frankenstein's monster.

The beautiful results of science and technology: Frankenstein’s monster.

on to follow Victor piecing together various corpses to create a true abomination, played by Christopher Lee.

So, what makes this Frankenstein different than others? Well, keep in mind, this is a Hammer movie, so instead of some serious psychological examination or  meditation on the dangers of science + ego, it is more concerned with murder, brains, body parts and a gnarly-looking monster. And that’s totally okay. The real problem is that it moves a little too slowly and kind of stops dead at parts. I blame this mostly on the fact that this movie was made in 1957; Q and I both agree if Hammer had made this a decade later there’d be fewer boring parts and more boobs!

19
Aug
12

Horror Express (1972)

Peter Cushing. Christopher Lee. Telly Savalas? Add a title like Horror Express and you’ve got what you’d think would be a great movie. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

Lee plays an English anthropologist, attempting to get a seat for him and his precious cargo, a fossil of a man-ape (the missing link, how cute) onto a train out of China. Cushing plays a doctor that pays for his ticket. Savalas plays… um, well, I’m still not clear… some kind of Russian military cop drunk on vodka and power? Whatever.

So the man-ape is not a fossil, he is in fact still alive, and when he looks into your eyes, he takes

The mad monk gets… whatever.

away all your memories. Your brain becomes “smooth as a baby’s bottom” and your eyes turn all white. Later on, the man-ape will turn you into a zombie. Yes, even you, Rasputinesque-monk-on-train.

Of course, I’m leaving out some details, but I feel so little towards this movie that it’s hard for me to even muster enough words to write a post about it. I’m not sure if it was the poor quality of the picture, or whether this movie actually made no sense and had nothing to offer. Either way, I can’t imagine ever recommending this to anyone under any sun anywhere ever.




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