Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Terence Fisher, 1966

Christopher Lee (1922 - 2015)

Though he died in hospital last Sunday, we only learned today of Christopher Lee’s death at the ripe age of 93 years.  I will probably always remember him most fondly for his performance as le Comte de Rochefort in Richard Lester’s masterful film(s) of the Three Musketeers, but I remember first seeing him (and his making a lasting impression on my imagination) when I was eight years old and he fervently embodied the character of Dracula in the second or third (depending on whether or not you count the Daughters of Dracula) of the Hammer series directed by Terence Fisher.  It was shown on a double bill with John Gilling’s the Plague of the Zombies, an even better film (images from which continue to haunt me presently,) but Fisher’s ill received sequel (and Christopher Lee’s ferocious performance and presence therein, especially the image of his sorrowful blood shot eyes,) made a more immediate impression, playing in the cinema of my minds eye repeatedly as I tried to sleep for weeks after seeing it.  This nightly imaginary show became almost a form of comfort, and I will always be thankful to Mr Lee for it.

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