When his brother disappears, Robert Manning pays a visit to the remote country house he was last heard from. While his host is outwardly welcoming - and his niece more demonstrably so - ... See full summary »
When his brother disappears, Robert Manning pays a visit to the remote country house he was last heard from. While his host is outwardly welcoming - and his niece more demonstrably so - Manning detects a feeling of menace in the air with the legend of Lavinia Morley, Black Witch of Greymarsh, hanging over everything. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
German Import DVD has two Super-8mm Versions (English language), as a special feature on the disc. See more »
After the firemen turn on the water valves on the fire engine they take the ladder on wheels to the house. However when they cross over the hose pipes you can see that they lie flat on the ground so clearly no water is running through them. See more »
CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR (Vernon Sewell, 1968) **
This routine horror film has something of a maligned reputation (Christopher Lee himself refers to it as being "dreadful" in the accompanying interview), but the remarkable credits involved - stars Boris Karloff, Lee, Barbara Steele, Michael Gough and Rupert Davies, director Sewell and cameraman John Coquillon - and the familiar plot elements involving witchcraft make the concoction quite irresistible.
The stars are generally well cast: Karloff is given a great entrance and his character is amusingly acerbic, particularly with regards to bland leading man Mark Eden; Lee basically repeats his role - though here is given greater screen-time - from the superior black-and-white classic THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960); Steele (in another of her long line of witches!) only appears in various characters' hallucinations - but this, and the fact that she's painted green all over and saddled with a silly horned head-dress, in no way undermines her peculiar beauty and commanding presence; Gough, however, is wasted as a vaguely sinister yet dim-witted manservant; Davies, too, is underused in an all-too-typical vicar role (though his belated involvement does bring about Lee's come-uppance); Virginia Wetherell isn't bad as Lee's niece, who's unaware of his secret lifestyle (despite herself having a predilection for throwing wild parties in their mansion, giving rise to some hilariously dated grooviness!), endangers her own life by falling for Eden practically at first sight (thus incurring Lee's wrath) and even appears briefly in the nude (this was her film debut!). There's nothing remotely memorable about the film (except, maybe, some of its imagery in the scenes where Steele shows up or, rather, is manifested) and can only be seen as a major disappointment given the enormous talent on hand - though the main culprit has to be its lazy scripting, since all the stars have treaded this path too many times before!
Lee's interview about Karloff is one of his most interesting and affectionate: I was surprised to learn that he considered SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) the best of Karloff's three stabs at the role of The Creature (though I adore the film myself), but he also erroneously mentioned that Karloff and Bela Lugosi had made a film called "Pit And The Pendulum" (which the interviewer - who I assume to be Marcus Hearn
didn't correct...but, then, nor could he help Lee when the latter
asked whether the Karloff vehicle in which the actor played twins was called THE BLACK ROOM !; in this regard, I have to say that I'm irked no end every time an interviewer shows up without having done any preparation about his subject!!). It's also disappointing, to us genre fans, that the great horror stars never discussed their work amongst themselves (at least, according to Lee), as it would have been awesome to know just what they felt about it - and themselves for doing such films!
The DVD quality is on a par with the two recent DD Video releases I watched - ISLAND OF TERROR (1966) and NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT (1967) - and, like the former, has been trimmed slightly for this edition! Having watched all of them now, I'm almost sorry that I didn't pick up DD Video's THE BLOOD-BEAST TERROR (1967) and THE DEVIL'S MEN (1975) as well...and even more that I didn't order their SE of THE CREEPING FLESH (1972) earlier, since I've never watched it and is now practically impossible to find in this guise - having unceremoniously gone out-of-print!!
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