Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies: the Finale

Time to give credit to the thing that kicked off my obsession, this episode of Screen Drafts, although I didn’t like their list. I will say that it is very hard to make one that isn’t totally bland or totally insane, but anyway, here’s my vastly superior list of the seven essential Christopher Lee movies. Not a best of list but a list of films to understand his career and what he was like as an actor, TV parts excluded since that’s what they do on the podcast.

  1. Penny & the Pownall Case (1948)
  2. Dracula (1958)
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
  4. The Whip and the Body (1963)
  5. The Wicker Man (1973)
  6. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

So make of that what you will. I’m available for any other kind of recs list of his movies you might need.

This instalment runs 50s-90s and also stars: Fran Drescher, Jayne Mansfield, Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Olivia de Havilland, Malcolm McDowell, Gregory Peck, Kim Cattrall (twice), Naveen Andrews, Mark Hamill and SHASHI KAPOOR.

Definitely the craziest and longest collection of movies of all because it has everything I was too scared to watch sooner.

Continue reading “Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies: the Finale”

Best and worst of 2021

Best and worst new-to-me movies of 2021! Links to reviews in the title where available.

WHY did at least three movies I watched this year have evil albino villains?! Also, as you will see, not a landmark year for Indian cinema. The Velvet Underground is disqualified because it’s a documentary or it would be on the best list.


Best

1. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (USA, 1988)

A perfect movie. Great to see a lead character who is actually like me for once.

2. Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar (USA, 2021)

An actually good and funny comedy, in this economy? Points deducted for the borderline evil albino.

3. The Final Programme (UK, 1973)

Basically unwatchable even to hardened movie nerds, but I can have little a experimental glam rock cinema, as a treat.

4. Scars of Dracula (UK, 1970)

It’s not good but it’s great! Easily my favourite movie of the year even though literally nobody agrees with me. Deeply hilarious and gay but also genuinely creepy sometimes.

5. Nartakee (India, 1963)

A lovely movie about lovely people being lovely. I love Nanda so much. Dusted Off has a great review.

Worst

Feast your eyes upon this list and consider that all of these are somehow worse than Starship Invasions which I also watched this year. However, to do justice to the many other bad movies I watched, I kept the Christopher Lee films to two (Serial, Jocks, and Sfida al Diavolo would have completed a worst top five of those).

1. Aan (India, 1952)

Why? Not only are the politics and morals abhorrent but basically everything else is also wrong with it. It takes commitment to make a movie even I cannot make sense of for large swaths of it. Of course, Nadira is a goddess and genius but given NOTHING.

2. Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar (India, 2021)

Breathtakingly casual and vicious about violence against women. It’s 2021. I’m not watching that no matter how much like a sexy chunk of beef Arjun Kapoor looks.

3. The Magic Christian (UK, 1969)

The only thing worse than an unfunny comedy is an unfunny comedy made by the establishment with establishment values that thinks it’s edgy and subversive.

4. Whispering Death/Night of the Askari/Albino (West Germany, 1976)

Historically interesting, but unless you’re a scholar in a thematically relevant field or you are desperate to see Christopher Lee in shorts you should avoid this for the racism, pro-colonial propaganda, rape, and demonization of albinos.

5. Ek aur Ek Gyarah (India, 1981)

The worst. One of the female characters mopes around wanting her abusive boyfriend back after he goes to jail (after either beating her or trying to kill her I can’t remember), and it’s presented as good. Shashi’s character does that harass-a-woman-into-loving-you thing in a super aggressive and real way that makes him seem actually scary, which takes some doing.

The Velvet Underground (USA, 2021)

I don’t usually review documentaries here, but because of the maker and the subject matter, I am making an exception.

This documentary is about The Velvet Underground and is made in their actual visual artistic style, which is a risky choice but it really pays off. It also factually accords with everything I’ve read and can therefore be regarded as the definitive documentary about events up to when Lou Reed left the band. However, the ending is completely confounding and really lets it down.

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Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2021: Moral (Germany, 1928)

I always forget how completely delightful Weimar cinema is. This edition of Le Giornate focused on the powerhouse actress and producer Ellen Richter, but this was the only film of hers shown on streaming.

 It’s too bad because this was wonderful and she is not well known at all, even though this is precisely the sort of thing to appeal to a more mainstream modern audience. However, things do fan out from the festival across the world so hopefully we will be seeing more of her.

Picture from an article about it in Il Friuli.

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Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 2

Part Two! In which I go off the rails about the supposed virility of Christopher Lee characters.

An extremely varied collection of every genre and every degree of quality, from actual classics to softcore porn trash and including two different Sherlock Holmeses and a MST3K episode, 1940s-1970s. I have to say I’m having a very good time with his filmography because it takes you absolutely everywhere.

I also have to apologise to Curse of the Crimson Altar. It has come to my attention that Christopher Lee does NOT turn into a woman at the end, he and Barbara Steele are the same character the whole time. So they are tweedy Christopher Lee part of the time and blue monster Barbara Steele the other part of the time, which is amazing. Doesn’t make the rest of the movie less annoying though.

Continue reading “Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 2”

Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 1

Since my brain finally gave me a obsession to take my thoughts off the pandemic, I thought I might as well get some use out of it. So here are very short reviews for the first 20 new to me Christopher Lee movies I watched (60s-80s, lot of Hammer, including the Dracula ones I hadn’t seen).

There’s no real way to give a list here or make the titles clickable, sorry.

Just for fun, my ranking of the Dracula movies is:

  1. Horror of Dracula
  2. Scars of Dracula
  3. Dracula AD 1972
  4. Dracula, Prince of Darkness
  5. Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
  6. Taste the Blood of Dracula
  7. Satanic Rites of Dracula

It’s funny to me how everyone’s list is completely different, except that almost everyone has Horror of Dracula at the top.

Anyway, hope you enjoy movies about stupid people showing up at a creepy house where Christopher Lee also is!

Continue reading “Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 1”

La frusta e il corpo (Italy/France, 1963)

I like a movie to be honest about what it is. Too often, something pretends to be a romance but it’s really about how women are stupid and worthless. Or it’s a comedy, but really it’s about how women are stupid and worthless.

So it’s always nice when you watch a movie that says it’s about Christopher Lee sexily whipping ladies, and it’s actually a movie about Christopher Lee sexily whipping ladies.

Continue reading “La frusta e il corpo (Italy/France, 1963)”

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