Sir Christopher Lee R.I.P.

June 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm (Uncategorized)

I must have been in my early teens, so it must have been in the late 1970s. I was looking for something to watch on TV (we had three channels, so it didn’t take long to run thorough the options). I stopped at a movie. Obviously a horror film. Four travellers stop at a mysterious castle. One is lured in to a crypt and murdered; his body is hoisted above a tomb, and as his blood drips down, smoke pours out and a hand emerges. Dracula reborn. The film was Dracula: Prince of Darkness starring Christopher Lee.

I quickly discovered that the station, might have been BBC 1, but it might have been ITV, was showing the old Hammer horror films on Friday night. I saw the Gorgon, Plague of the Zombies, the Reptile, and pretty much all of the Dracula films starring Lee.  And of course it was Lee’s Dracula that drew. There was just something about him. In Prince of Darkness he has no lines I remember. But like Lugosi before him. Lee commanded by his very presence.

Lee appeared in many other classics: The assassin Scaramanga in the Man with the Golden Gun, the treacherous Saruman in Lord of the Rings, and the equally treacherous Count Dooku in Star Wars, but the film you really need to see is The Wicker Man in which Lee plays the leader of a pagan community on a remote Scottish island, Lord Summerisle.

His death last week at the age of 93 marks the end of an era of British acting, and for me a link with a part of my youth.

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