Christopher Lee – Horror Movie Month

Christopher Lee is the last living horror legend (acting-wise at least). It is unfortunate that he now disdains the genre that made him famous and especially despises talking about his Dracula years. He has been an incredibly prolific actor and while much of his output is of questionable quality, he still has some great signature roles (Dracula, Saruman, Scaramanga, Rochefort, Fu Manchu).

To the Devil…a Daughter (1976) – Rated R

A heretic priest (Christopher Lee) plots to use a teenage nun (Nastassja Kinski) in a depraved sexual pact with the forces of darkness. But when an American occult novelist (Richard Widmark) uncovers the conspiracy, he must battle an international cabal of evil for the body and soul of the Devil’s child-bride. Can this black magic marriage be stopped before an innocent girl is defiled and becomes the womb of Satan?

This was the last film released by Hammer theatrically. This one is actually pretty good except the ending which is unbelievably anticlimactic. I’d love to discuss that ending but I hate spoilers. It just seems to me that they ran out of funding and felt they had to wrap things up.

If you wondered whatever happened to Honor Blackman after Goldfinger, she has a fairly significant role here as does character actor Denholm Elliott. Nastassja Kinski is quite good in her English language debut as the child bride.

The Resident (2011) – Rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity

A young doctor moves into a Brooklyn loft and realizes she isn’t alone in her new abode. Now she’s struggling to survive as she attempts to disentangle herself from her landlord, who has a key to her home and a growing obsession for his tenant.

Christopher Lee starring in a brand new Hammer film? with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester of Supernatural)? and double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank? Sign me up! Oh wait Christopher Lee has only a small part. And the script is tedious. And the directing is pedestrian.

This movie is a little bit creepy but is filled with giant plotholes and never generates much excitement. If you want to see a new Hammer film, go watch Let Me In

The Bloody Judge (1970) – Rated PG (? seriously? well that’s what Netflix says)

In 1685 England, Alicia Gray (Margaret Lee) is convicted of witchcraft and promptly burned at the stake. Meanwhile, her sister, Mary (Maria Rohm), foolishly falls for Harry Selton (Hans Hass Jr.), who’s critical of the king. When evil Chief Justice Jeffreys (Christopher Lee) learns of the romance, he sends his men to capture Mary, who tries to save her beau from the judge’s wrath by surrendering to his licentious advances. Will her plan work?

Wow! I love Christopher Lee but I actually could not bring myself to like this film. It is directed by Jesus (Jess) Franco, who is an absolutely atrocious director. He directed the last two of Christopher Lee’s Fu Manchu films and I enjoyed those because of Christopher Lee and Tsai Chin and because they are train-wreck fascinating.

The Bloody Judge however is just awful – an incoherent mess of 70s blood and breasts, religion, law, torture, witch hunts, and Christopher Lee the only saving grace in the whole movie. In fact he appears most of the time to be in an entirely different movie.