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Christopher Lee: In Memoriam

by on 2015/06/14

christopherlee“We don’t always get the kind of work we want, but we always have a choice of whether to do it with good grace or not.”

There are times where I become literally frozen with admiration. Normally a blabber-mouth of the highest order when it comes to the people and things I admire, my tongue …and my typing fingers were stilled by the news that the immortal Christopher Lee had died.

As the site’s resident goth, with my rooms stuffed with vampire paraphernalia, I was tasked with writing this great man’s memorial. What did I do instead? I puttered, I fussed, I napped. For shame. This was not a very Christopher Lee way to live my life.

This man was pure, unadulterated, real-deal bad ass of the highest order. 6 foot 4, a former intelligence officer, Lee fought the Nazis, came down with malaria six times in one year, and climbed Mount Vesuvius – three days before it erupted.

On the day bad-assery was redefined by Christopher Lee, we stood in awe and wept.

His was a Dracula you knew could really, actually hurt somebody. There was a pair of enlarged, bear-trap incisors behind that stiff upper lip. The guy could chew up scenery in his 80s. His voice could scare the tight pants and armless t-shirts off the most die-hard metal heads. And he dropped his first metal album at the age of 88.

His resume reads like a man who tore everything he could out the throat of life.  An opera singer, world-class fencer, speaking six languages, a metal god, Lee was also a huge and commanding presence in movies that shaped my shadowy world.

Mostly, I am not worthy. Christopher Lee, I salute you.


Horror_Of_Dracula_1958Horror of Dracula (1958)

* * * *

With ram-rod straight bearing and perfectly-pressed woolen cape, Lee is absolutely striking in his first few moments of screen time as Dracula. All 6 ft 4 inches of Lee greets the hapless Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) in his great hall, and strides up the massive stone stairs like a giraffe climbing up a step stool.


The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

* * * *

The viscerally affecting orcs remind you of Peter Jackson’s origins as a horror movie director. Hmmm…did I say remind? I meant smack you senseless into remembering his horror roots. Genuinely, genuinely terrifying. And speaking of terrifying, let’s not forget the horror god himself Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula) as the evil, wizard turncoat Saruman.


sleepy_hollow_1999Sleepy Hollow (1999)

* * * *

The decision to turn The Legend of Sleepy Hollow into an occult-laced detective story was a masterstroke. Crane is sent by Burgomaster Christopher Lee (The Horror of Dracula) to determine why residents in the farming community are turning up headless. Crane is also seeking to prove that science, reason and forensics should trump superstition, irrationality and torture in the solving of crime.


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