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|Christopher Lee: Horror Icon|
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, June 11, 2015 Share
Christopher Lee, horror legend, prestigious actor of stage and screen, long time Lord of the Rings scholar, and even a heavy metal recording artist. All these accomplishments make anyone an icon. When an iconic figure passes on from this world we always mourn. Id like to celebrate Lee's passing with my own personal memories of this amazing man. He was far more than just Hammer Films' Dracula or Fu Manchu, he was Saruman, Count Dooku, Mycroft Holmes and much more, but this is a horror column so we will stick to what I feel are his greatest and my favorite of his horror roles. Picking out just five films was very hard, but I narrowed it down to what I feel are his best roles.
1. The Wickerman- It is indeed a shame that Lee never got a chance to branch out in a role as great as Lord Summerisle ever again. Lee took the role as he wanted to distance himself from his typecast as Dracula. His charming and yet menacing trademark acting style, that he masterfully polished while playing Bram Stokers vampiric Count all those years, helped bring a sense of danger to the gentleman pagan Lord Summerisle. The Wickerman is great on all accounts, but it needed an actor of Lee's caliber to give the whole thing an air of class. Still one of the greatest movie villains of all time.
2. Horror of Dracula- The first and the best of Hammer's Dracula series. Lee had played the Frankenstein creature a year earlier but it was this film that made him a household name. For the first time in cinema Dracula was played at once as a sexual charming gentleman, and a vicious animal. Lugosi will always be the Count, but no scene in any Dracula film rivals Lee bursting in through a window, fangs bared and blood dripping from his mouth hissing like a wild beast.
3. The Devil Rides Out- Dennis Wheatley's classic novel was made into one of the best, if not the best occult thrillers of all time. Lee's against type portrayal of the occult hero Duc de Richleu is legendary and it's a shame that he wasn't allowed to play more heroic characters. His strong prescence makes facing off against the devil, and other demons credible.
4. Count Dracula- Make no mistake this is a Jess Franco film. Make no mistake it is terrible. But it is still a favorite of mine of Lee's roles. This time around Lee takes complete control of his portrayal and goes back to the source, Bram Stoker's novel. Lee's Dracula, this time around, has a white hair and mustache like in the book and is completely the pure evil that Stoker suggested. Unfortunately the film deviates from the novel fairly quickly and Franco couldn't direct himself out of a paper bag. It is worth it though to see Lee play the Count as intended. As much as I love Lugosi, Lee is the definitive literary portrayal.
5. Rasputin the Mad Monk- Ok so not what many would call his best role but one of my favorites. Almost a historical drama, this film tells the story of the hypnotic advisor to the royal throne who is eventually brutally dispatched. Lee has barely any dialogue here, which is a testament to his great talents that he manages to create such a well rounded insane character. His body acting and facial features make Rasputin just as creepy as The Mummy or Dracula.
Christopher Lee, like his Hammer contemporary Peter Cushing, will be missed by fans of the horror genre for decades to come. He will always live on in our screens and our screams. We lost a great actor and lovely human being but he gave us a wealth of films that will last as long as there are horror fans.
"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2015 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2015 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.
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