The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Robin Hardy
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland
Storyline: A missing girl upon an island leads to a group of people that state that she never existed. What is really happening with this small community?
Review (Spoils): Welcome to Summerisle where something strange is happening we have the disappearance of young girl named Rowan Morrison and even her own mother is not worried and denies all. The island is isolated and is known for the fruit that it bears along with the maypole, the act of using toads to cure sickness and the beliefs are very druid and leans towards reincarnation. During the investigation looking for the young girl the truth of people of the island starts to come to light as it is a pagan like group that live upon the island with the leader being Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) being the craziest of all.
This film is a classic when it comes to films dealing with the occult. Christopher Lee is outstanding as he plays the madman druid that believes that with sacrifice to the old gods their crops will prosper. The clothing, make-up and hair are what stand out for the film and of course the finale with the wicker man itself on fire. The film is beautiful with lots of Scotland like scenery and the hippy cult that exists on the island.
Rating: This is a classic when it comes eerie horror films of the 70s era. Next to Dracula of the Hammer films this is Christopher Lee next great horror character. Grab some beers and sit back and enjoy a classic horror film with this one. It blows the remake way out of the water and who does not like Christopher Lee?
The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi, Rosalyn Landor, Leon Greene
Storyline: Two young men stumble upon a cult of devil worshipers.
Review (Spoils): Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) and Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene) get invited to a mansion for a party. When at the party they stumble across a pentagram on the floor and some chickens in a box. We learn that the inviter Nicholas is proficient in black magic. We learn that the guests get escorted out as the members are having a private meeting (hmmm wonder what this about). Anyways the whole rouse is controlled by a Mocata (Charles Gray) who is trying to resurrect the devil.
We have lots of camera focus on eyes, a dude with some crazy white eyes, a crossed eyed old lady, some smoke, some goats and chickens, cross throwing and of course a great costume of the great devil himself. Basically it is duel of Duc de Richleau against the cult but man the devil costume rocked! Acting was well done both by Christopher Lee and Charles Gray.
Rating: This is a classic horror film and it has a Hammer feel to it. When have clips of the devil on the rock in an Iron Maiden video you know you did something right. The movie can have some slow parts but you can see where some of the ideas of Rosemary’s Baby came from or vice versa as it was the same year. Grab some beers, raise your horns and drink to the hairy goat devil!!!!!
The Howling 2 (1985)
Director: Philippe Mora
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Sybil Danning
Storyline: At Karen Whites funeral her brother gets in involved as the werewolves want to remove her body from hallow ground.
Review (Spoils): This continues where the first movie began. Karen’s brother Ben (Reb Brown) and a reporter friend of her named Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe) get caught into a mystery and story that Karen was a werewolf. After being confronted by Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee)he learn quickly that she was a werewolf and the cult is now back and they want to remove Karen’s body and get ready for a tribal ritual under the ruler ship of a female pack leader named Striba (Sybil Danning).
This film is a disaster all around, poor Christopher Lee is be involved in this. This film screams 80s so much it stinks (the punk band parts blows chuncks). We are tormented with cheesy wolf costumes, too fast storyline with stupid plot, the acting is just low grade like a 4 year old and edits between scenes like it’s a porno just does not make sense. The only good thing in this film is the 80s babe Sybil Danning but even then she is garbed like a punk rock terminator in the end it’s just stupid. Sure we have good ol wolf sex and lots of it but the cheesy of the flames, electricity and effects ruin the whole film. There is no saving this.
Rating: The best part was the exploding eyes but that is not enough to make up with the torture of this film of a long series. It’s too bad it went this way as the first film was a gem. Don’t even bother opening a beer for this one as it unless you need to see this, than better drink a ton before.
Dracula : Prince of Darknes (1966)
Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Suzan Farmer, Philip Latham
Storyline: Two couples get stranded and a mysterious horse and coach picks them up. The coach arrives to Count Dracula’s castle where his loyal servant Klove hopes to resurrect the prince of darkness.
Review (spoils): Leading as a sequel to Hammer Films Horror of Dracula we have this fine gem. Two young couples get stranded in the gothic land near Count Dracula’s castle and his mad loyal servant Klove (Philip Latham) brings them to the castle as guests. Klove kills one of the gentleman and hangs him over the vampire’s coffin and slits his throat and the blood resurrects Dracula (Christopher Lee) once again. We have great acting and lots of red blood in this one. Dracula has no real lines in this film but he still at his greatness that Christopher Lee can do. We have throats slits, bites, stakes, fly eating and even the death of Dracula as they play the history of the free of running water (he dies in a collapse into the water underneath the castle). The Kolve character alone in this film is great as he plays the madman who wants the prince of darkness to rise again!
Rating: I would have to say this film is a good if not better than Horror of Dracula. The storyline is strong and yet again this is one of Hammer’s best.
Horror of Dracula (1958)
Director: Jimmy Sangster
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Striblin, Carol Marsh
Storyline: Dracula wants revenge on the Harker family and hunt them down including haunting his fiancée Lucy Holmwood. Only Dr. Van Helsing can stop him!
Review (Spoils): This screams classic Hammer and it is! We have Peter Cushing playing the classic Dr. Van Helsing trying to track down and destroy his arch nemesis Dracula, who is played by none other than Christopher Lee. Christopher Lee makes Dracula actually be frightening and not slick. We have the first of the many times Christopher Lee plays the character and it is the best. We have the fangs, blood and the red eyes. This is the way Dracula is remember and portrayed. We have true eroticism in the film that follows Dracula and many other Hammer films. We got blood, we have bosoms, blood dripping coffins, lots of burning flesh from crosses and one of the best of Hammer horror.
Rating: This is the best Dracula out there, this movie rules when it comes to horror or Hammer films overall. You cannot go wrong with this film Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are top notch in this film and created some of the most classic characters in horror.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Hazel Court
Storyline: Dr. Frankenstein recalls the tale of the creation of the monster.
Review (Spoils): Hammer is back on my horror list and this time we have Peter Cushing playing Dr. Frankenstein and Christopher Lee playing the monster. The storyline is pretty much the same as we have a young Frankenstein trying to create life but this time not using lightning but using a liquid formula. We have Hazel Court playing the voluptuous redhead that loves the doctor and tries her hardest to have his full attention instead of dealing with secret experiments. The acting in the film is very well done and the storyline is not that far off from the Universal one but the monster make-up for Christopher Lee is semi poor and that really takes away from the film. I know Hammer tried to do something unique but I just cannot get past the bluish rubber skin and the seam located along the neckline. This looks a little too amateur for Hammer films and there just was not enough meat in the film keep myself on my toes.
Rating: Not a bad movie but I have seen better Hammer films. I was excited to check this out but was let down on how bad the makeup was done in this film. Peter Cushing did an amazing job playing the doctor but there just was not enough going on to keep my interest like other Hammer films.