Archive for christopher lee

Goregirl-Friendly Vampire Films w/music from Dracula Prince of Darkness

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by goregirl

Goregirl-Friendly Vampire Films featuring music from Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966). These are all vampire films I rated 3/5 or better.

On Monday I will have a Dungeon Photo review for the visually impressive Blind Beast! Have a great weekend everyone!

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Christopher Lee Horror Films

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by goregirl

Christopher Lee has more than 260 film and television credits and 60 + of those are horror flicks. I did a little blurb on Lee May 2009, so if you want to learn a little more about one of horror’s greatest icons click here. Picking just 10 films was a more daunting task than I expected! Sure, the top 5 were obvious enough but depending on my mood they might be ranked differently than you see below. Some of the honorable mentions that almost made the list are Katarsis, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Rasputin: The Mad Monk, Scream and Scream Again, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Eugenie, The Gorgon, and Scars of Dracula. The great Christopher Lee is still working at the age of 87 and continues to pull off memorable performances! Bow before thy master!

#10 THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971)
Directed By: Peter Duffell

Anthologies can be a lot of fun but there is usually a rotten egg or two in the collection. Not in The House That Dripped Blood. I actually found all four stories enjoyable in varying degrees. It is one of numerous films in which Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing both appear. There are a few Lee/Cushing flicks on this list but in this one they do not star opposite each other instead each is featured in their own unique story. Lee’s story Sweets To The Sweet is excellent and Lee does a stand out job in the role of the father of a young girl who may not be as sweet as she seems. My favourite story however is The Cloak, a story about a veteran horror actor who buys a cloak from a curious old shop. It also features the always-entertaining Ingrid Pitt. All four stories are creative, fun, creepy, well paced and well filmed with great performances all around. The only negative is the connecting story is a bit weak, but otherwise, The House That Dripped Blood is gold!

#9 HORROR HOTEL (1960)
Directed By: John Llewellyn Moxey

Horror Hotel is a really nice looking atmospheric black and white film that isn’t without a few clichés but still manages to be hauntingly effective. Horror Hotel also has a simply fantastic happy-unhappy ending that stayed in my head for days after. Lee’s role is definitely supporting but is an important part of the story and as always the man leaves an impression. The sets, atmosphere and overall mood of the film are certainly spooky but the film is just a bit quirky as well. There are some genuinely weird moments that I found wonderfully appealing. Horror Hotel is a nice looking film with decent acting, a little bit of wackiness and some serious intensity and scares that is entertaining as hell. Plus, I love a Witch theme! I happen to think it is a seriously underutilized horror sub-genre.

#8 DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)
Directed By: Freddie Francis

There is always an argument as to which Dracula film is Lee’s best. Dracula Has Risen From The Grave is one of two Christopher Lee Dracula flicks that made the list but I like every last one of them in varying degrees. Lee’s Dracula is cold as ice and his emotionless intensity is effectively terrifying. I love how director Freddie Francis filmed Lee to appear even taller than he already is. The film style, of course, is pure Hammer-gothic and the atmosphere, sets and costumes are top-notch as always. The beautiful Veronica Carlson is one of my favourite of the innocent charming virgins in the Dracula
series and Barbara Ewing also stands out as the naughty Zena. I shouldn’t leave out Barry Andrews who also does a very nice job of playing the films hero. As a matter of fact, I think of the Dracula series this one might be the best-acted overall. Dracula Has Risen From The Grave is a great classic tale and a highly entertaining film.

#7 TASTE OF FEAR (aka Scream Of Fear) (1961)
Directed By: Seth Holt

When my dad switched over to DVD I adopted his entire VHS Hammer collection and this was among the gems. A young, neurotic, wheelchair bound woman begins seeing her dads corpse walking around and her family believes she is going crazy. Not the most original plot but it is well rolled out. There are clues throughout the story and twists and turns leading up to an excellent although not terribly surprising ending. Lee is quite young in Taste Of Fear and only has a supporting role as Doctor Pierre Gerrard but contributes nicely. The cast is excellent particularly Susan Strasberg who plays Penny Appleby.

#6 THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963)
Directed By: Mario Bava

Mario Bava’s ‘The Whip and The Body’ is immensely entertaining! It is a hypnotic and haunting vision that should be a treat for Bava’s fans, lovers of gothic Horror and Lee fans alike. Christopher Lee is cold as ice as her brutal lover. Although he appears both vicious and callous, his character at times comes off slightly romantic and tragic. The stunning Daliah Lavi plays it like a storm is brewing between her legs that she cannot control. Her orgasms are practically a character
themselves! Lee and Lavi both have a strong presence and give outstanding performances. There is breath-taking scenery, incredible atmosphere, awesome sets, a haunting and effective score and the aforementioned excellent performances. But more than anything else it is strikingly beautiful. I greatly admire Bava’s cinematography but not being a technically minded sort, you’ll have to forgive me for my layman language. Simply put, nothing looks quite like a Bava film! Shadows and colour are overwhelmingly present in all his films although this one may be slightly more muted than others it is nonetheless a
sensual kaleidoscope. The Whip And The Body is an enthralling visual experience and a gothic masterpiece!

#5 HORROR EXPRESS (1972)
Directed By: Eugenio Martín

Lee and Cushing appeared in several films together and horror express was one of the last and in my opinion, one of the best. Most of the emphasis is on the two icons that make the most of the well-written dialog. The Trans-Siberian express is an excellent setting and director Eugenio Martin makes outstanding use of it. Horror Express is fast-paced fun with a great story, thrill, chills and a little humor and to top it all off, an exciting, and satisfying finale.

#4 THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959)
Directed By: Terence Fisher

Peter Cushing owns The Hound Of The Baskervilles and is just brilliant as Sherlock Holmes but Christopher Lee who plays Sir Henry also puts in a most admirable performance and gets to play one of his rare good guy horror roles. Sherlock attempts to save Sir Henry from the curse of the Hound of the Baskervilles and wastes no time getting down to business. The pace is energetic and the atmosphere is top notch. In fact, this may be one of the most atmospheric of all the Hammer films. The film and story are completely mesmerizing and as mentioned the performances are awesome. Mystery, intrigue, horror, romance and a
classic pairing of two horror icons.

#3 DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966)
Directed By: Terence Fisher

My favourite of Lee’s vampire roles is definitely Dracula: Prince Of Darkness. The film picks up ten years after the death of Dracula, and let me tell you, his resurrection is definitely one of the films highlights! Lee has no dialog but manages to captivate regardless. The cast are strong, particularly Suzan Farmer who has a great seduction scene with Lee. The film has a great gothic presentation and an amazing mood and atmosphere. The ending isn’t quite as exciting as some of the others in the series, but it does win points for originality. While there might be an argument as to which Lee vampire role is the best I don’t think anyone can deny that he makes one mighty fine, menacing vampire.

#2 THE WICKER MAN (1973)
Directed By: Robin Hardy

Love it or hate it, you must admit The Wicker Man is original! The steadily building sense of dread is impressive and the finale is unforgettable. Most of the film takes place in the daylight and the sets, costumes and general look of the film is superb. Lee of course is excellent as Lord Summerisle but I have to commend Edward Woodward who is awesome in the role of the uptight Sergeant Howie. Howie’s faith is challenged more than once while investigating the town of pagans. The dancing, singing and costume wearing all sounds a little jubilant for a horror film, but these elements really add a special twisted creepiness. The Wicker Man, without a doubt, is one of the most unique horror films out there. It is a surreal treat that is clever, funny and macabre.

#1 THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (1968)
Directed By: Terence Fisher

The Devil Rides Out is my earliest memories of Satan-themed theatrics in film. It was also the first time I seen Christopher Lee play a good guy. Lee gives an inspired performance as the Duc de Richleau. The entire cast are excellent, particularly Charles Gray who plays the evil Mocata with devilish gusto and Sarah Lawson who plays the strong and intelligent Marie Eaton with casual confidence. Terence Fisher directs The Devil Rides Out with plenty of style and thrills and its perfect pace keeps the action moving along beautifully. A great story, fabulous set pieces, amazing atmosphere and an outstanding cast are the ingredients that make The Devil Rides Out an enduring classic. (I contributed a guest review to Basement Screams for The Devil Rides Out, to read it click here).

THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by goregirl

It was so long ago; I had almost completely forgotten it was actually my mom who introduced me to Mario Bava! My mom is not a horror fan by any means, but she recalled seeing ‘Blood and Black Lace’ as a teenager, and it completely rocked her world. I have to admit, having seen ‘BABL’ in my teen years; it struck me as somewhat interesting, but far too tame. Sadly, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I began to appreciate older horror films. I still have so many to discover, including some classic standards like ‘Frankenstein’. (I know! Shame on me!) But I have gotten to know Mr. Bava pretty well over the last few years. ‘The Whip and The Body’ is one of the few Bava films I had not seen, and it most definitely did not disappoint.

‘The Whip and The Body’ is part gothic horror tale and part sadomasochist love story. Christopher Lee plays Kurt Menliff who has returned home to the family estate after several years away. He does not receive a warm welcome from his family, or the servants who hold Kurt responsible for a young woman’s suicide. He claims to have returned to congratulate his brother on his recent marriage to the beautiful Nevenka, with whom he once had a relationship. But old flames still burn between the two and the dark secret they share is explored once more. Her passion overwhelms her and she gives in to the pleasures of pain. Later that evening Kurt is found with a dagger plunged into his neck. Soon after the funeral, Kurt returns from the grave, appearing only to Nevenka. Clearly Nevenka is afraid but is also excited by the apparition of Kurt. What unfolds is deliciously diabolical, erotic violence presented with a gothic grandness aptly titled ‘The Whip and The Body’.

‘The Whip and The Body’ must have been considered pretty racy in its day. I knew what the film was about but I expected more subtle hints than graphic displays. The first intimate scene between Kurt and Nevenka occurs early in the film when he finds Nevenka alone on the beach. He whips her repeatedly as she cries out in ecstasy and the two then engage in sex. You see the whipping up close and personal but the sex is off camera. Nevenka is clearly torn between her morality and her passion and every scene is a struggle between the two. Her lust is animalistic and the stunning Daliah Lavi plays it like a storm is brewing between her legs that she cannot control. Her orgasms are practically a character themselves! Christopher Lee is cold as ice as her brutal lover. Although he appears both vicious and callous, his character at times comes off slightly romantic and tragic. Lee and Lavi both have a strong presence and give outstanding performances.

There is plenty to admire about Mario Bava’s Gothic Masterpiece. There is breath-taking scenery, incredible atmosphere, awesome sets, a haunting and effective score and the aforementioned excellent performances. But more than anything else it is strikingly beautiful. I greatly admire Bava’s cinematography but not being a technically minded sort, you’ll have to forgive me for my layman language. Simply put, nothing looks quite like a Bava film! Shadows and colour are overwhelmingly present in all his films although this one may be slightly more muted than others it is nonetheless a sensual kaleidoscope. It truly is an enthralling visual experience! I could probably go on for several paragraphs in detail about the visuals but a Bava film is something that really should be experienced first hand.

The only real issues I had with the film was its first act where we are introduced to several characters is far too vague. This section of the film seemed somewhat repressed for a Bava flick and looked and felt almost typical for a gothic themed film from the era. It’s quite brief though, and things get considerably more lively and focused after Kurt and Nenenka’s tryst on the beach. Also the DVD was available with both English and Italian language soundtracks, but sadly neither featured Lee’s actual voice. That is a crying shame, because Lee has a fantastic voice!

Mario Bava’s ‘The Whip and The Body’ is immensely entertaining! It is a hypnotic and haunting vision that should be a treat for Bava’s fans or just about anybody who enjoys Gothic Horror. You can definitely expect more Bava reviews during Italian Horror Month! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: Daliah Lavi, Christopher Lee, Tony Kendall, Ida Galli, Harriet Medin, Gustavo De Nardo, Luciano Pigozzi, Jacques Herlin

AustinChef reviews: SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , , on December 16, 2009 by goregirl

I would like to welcome fellow horror film fanatic AustinChef to the Dungeon! He will be dropping by from time to time with reviews and other horror goodies. Today’s contribution is a review of ‘Scream and Scream Again’ starring Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Reviewed by: AustinChef

If you grew up in the South Jersey/Philly area in the 70s & 80s you will remember channel 48 (a UHF channel. Look it up on the internet kids). Every Saturday they played classic horror films all day long. This is when I 1st experienced Scream and Scream Again. I love this movie; I can’t say enough good things about it. Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing … I mean come on; a cast doesn’t get any better than this! And the plot is a wild, confusing, fun mess. There’s a serial killer on the loose who is draining his victims of blood. The police, in a very loooong chase scene, follow the killer back to a mad scientist (is there any other kind?) played by Vincent Price who is trying to create a super race of human beings. Why? Why the hell not!! Price even has a nice big vat of acid to dissolve his failures in. But wait. There’s a few subplots here that need mentioning: We have a Fascist-like country with a cabal of power-hungry men and a mysterious “hospital” collecting body parts (one would guess the body parts are for Price’s experiments). How all these stories converge makes for a really good time. The acting is great. How could it not be with the trinity of Price, Lee, and Cushing? You just know there’s gonna be some over-the-top, scenery-chewing acting. This also has one of the creepiest openings of any movie. During the credits we see a man jogging. He has a heart attack and wakes up in a “hospital”. He is sedated. Credits roll. He wakes up to find they took his leg. More credits roll. He wakes up again to find an arm missing. Credits roll. This pattern keeps going until he is just a torso with no limbs. It’s a genuinely creepy opening. And we can’t forget about the girl being interrogated in the above mentioned fascist country. Well she loses a few fingers to an ordinary, everyday set of wire cutters in a very suspenseful scene that will have you flinching. All these elements and a really kickass, jazzy soundtrack makes this a great flick that you will have a really fun time with. Maybe it’s just my nostalgia flaring up but this flicks’ a winner. Definitely check it out.

THE CREEPING FLESH – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , , on September 11, 2009 by goregirl

creeping flesh dvd cover“A terrifying journey through the nightmare worlds of evil, insanity and terrible revenge.”

I am a big fan of both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. They have done numerous films together, many of them for Hammer Productions. I haven’t missed many of these collaborations but ‘The Creeping Flesh’ was one I had not seen. This one was made by another UK film company called Tigon. Lee and Cushing are in top form here and their performances alone make the film a classic worth watching.

A scientist arrives from New Guinea with an ancient skeleton he believes can aid him in his research. He learns that water renews flesh to the bone of the creature and develops a serum from the blood. His hope is to cure evil. The inspiration from which he derived from his wives commitment to a mental hospital several years previous. A truth he has kept secret from his daughter, who believed her mother died when she was young. When she finds out the truth about her mother, his worst fears are realized and she begins to duplicate his wife’s behavior. In response, he injects the untested serum with horrific results.
peter cushing creeping flesh still
The performances are definitely the highlight of ‘The Creeping Flesh’. Cushing’s anxious, determined, yet frail and empathetic character is very effective. He is nicely complimented by the strong performance of Lorna Heilbron, who plays the sweet and innocent daughter who descends into madness and Christopher Lee who plays the stern and cold as ice relative who runs the local mental asylum. The Victorian sets and costumes are a visual treat. Gore is pretty much non-existent as it tends to be in films of this ilk, but there are some very impressive effects, particularly the skeletal remains from New Guinea. The renewing of skin to the creatures bones is done quite well. ‘The Creeping Flesh’ has an intriguing story, but it is also the films crutch. In addition to what is mentioned in the plot summary, there is an interesting subplot involving Lee’s character who is conducting experiments of his own, and has a great deal of unexplained animosity towards Cushing’s character. Although the two are on different paths their research is looking for the same conclusions. The creature also has its part in it all, beyond the lending of its blood. In the end, the story comes together, and there is a great twist ending that I loved. But the story is a bit overambitious, and tackles too many issues and leaves some loose ends still dangling. By no means will this detail hurt your enjoyment of this film. ‘The Creeping Flesh’ is definitely entertaining and the excellent performances make it well worth a look. Recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Freddie Francis

Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Lorna Heilbron, George Benson, Kenneth J. Warren and Jenny Runacre

For the next two weeks I will be reviewing ONLY foreign Horror Films! Have a great weekend!