Christopher Lee (1922-2015), a brief reminisce by: GF Willmetts.

June 12, 2015 | By | Reply More

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Trying to figure out what film I first saw Christopher Lee in is difficult. I remember that he was in the first X film I went to the cinema in being ‘The House That Dripped Blood’ (1971) and I was a couple years under age at the time. These days, that film would be regarded as rather tame if not acutely funny in places. Chris Lee did have a nasty end in the film. Never trust a child who has a wax effigy of you and chucks it in the fire.

It didn’t stop me seeking out more Hammer and Amicus films both at the cinema and on television. I was there for the end of their films and the local fleapit even showed a lot of the early ones as well.

Although Christopher Lee had small parts in other films, it was Hammer’s ‘The Curse Of Frankenstein’ (1956), ‘Dracula’ (1958) that put him on the map. That and another of their films, ‘The Mummy’ (1959). All horror movies and all with Lee as creatures. I saw these long before the original Universal versions.

Looking back now, Lee holds a distinction with Boris Karloff in that both had similar roles, well, apart from Dracula, that had little if any dialogue and went onto many more films that allowed him to speak. In Christopher Lee’s case, he made 250 films in all and still in demand right up to his death. He might not have gotten all the choices he wanted, especially as he tried avoiding being typecast as Dracula, but he did become an icon of the horror cinema. His other roles for Hammer also included ‘The Hound Of The Baskervilles’ (1958). and ‘The Devil Rides Out’ (1967). There’s a fair bet that when one of the UK TV channels does a film retrospective that they will focus on his Hammer films and probably miss his enormous repertoire.

Lee also has the distinction of being one of the few guest stars to appear in different roles in the original 1960s ‘The Avengers’ which was rare. More so, when in ‘Never, Never Say Die’, half the role was acting robotic and the other ‘The Interrogators’ as a military officer in the following season. With the series currently in repeat in the UK, keep an eye out for them.

Christopher Lee had an imposing presence, helped by his height and personality. I can’t recall him giving many interviews but like a lot of British actors, he let his work speak for him. It no doubt got him roles in ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and the last ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, neither of which one could ever call minor parts.

One of the last of the great horror icons with the distinction to have played multiple creatures parts, Christopher Lee is going to be missed but never, ever forgotten.

(c) GF Willmetts 2015

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Category: Culture, Horror

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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