Arguably the hardest working villain alive (Dick Cheney notwithstanding), Christopher Lee has a film career going back to the late 40′s. That’s several years before Tolkien published his Rings trilogy and when George Lucas was still in diapers. Now, a full discussion of Mr. Lee’s dramatic roles could fill a film school term paper or at least take several pints of Guinness… yum…. Guinness… but just in time for Halloween comes a recommendation of his 1960s/70s “Dracula” period. One could say he cut his teeth on the role back then in preparation for a long career playing mostly bad guys.
Seven times he rose from the dead to play the most famous vampire (Dick Cheney notwithstanding) for the venerable Hammer Film Productions studio. Seven times!
- Horror of Dracula (1958)
- Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
- Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
- Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
- Scars of Dracula (1970)
- Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
- The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
The Hammer brand of horror was violent, blood red and full of sexual overtones. Not sure if you can Netflix one or more of these bad boys to your mailbox before the 31st, but any of them are great retro fun for a Halloween at home or for ambiance at your costume party. Perhaps skip the last one as Lee himself did it under duress and comes off a bit as parody and not straight up horror.
And here’s some interesting trivia for you… Christopher Lee turned down the role of Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (no, I refuse to call it “Episode IV” but that’s for some future rant…) which went to Peter Cushing, who played Van Helsing opposite him in three of the Dracula films. Quite Kevin Baconesque, don’t you think? Speaking of whom… Christopher Lee can actually be linked to anyone in Hollywood by an average of 2.59 connections, better than Bacon!