Thursday, 14 April 2011

High Priestess Of Evil

‘Curse Of The Crimson Altar’ makes very little sense, but the occasionally amateurish production is punctuated by interesting scenes of pagan ritual and partial nudity imbued with a sickly green hue and the blurred, disjointed feel of a particularly vivid nightmare.
The cast, which includes Boris Karloff, Barbara Steele, Michael Gough, Christopher Lee and Alan Bradley from ‘Coronation Street’ is pretty impressive on paper, but they seem under-rehearsed and disengaged. Karloff is obviously in poor health (he was 80, with a year to live) and Lee is, as usual, awful.
I do like this film, of course (I like everything I feature on the blog, god help me), but it’s a little too contrived and arch to be loveable. The ingredients are there, but the finished dish is strangely unsatisfying. Anyway, here’s an interesting scene of pagan ritual and partial nudity imbued with a sickly green hue and the blurred, disjointed feel of a particularly vivid nightmare


  1. Yes, this bit and the wild hippie party sequence are absolutely fantastic... pity they couldn't have just stretched those two scenes out to eighty minutes and done away with all that footage of Lee, Karloff and Gough grumping around in drawing rooms radiating waves of "I don't want to be in this movie"...

  2. I watched this last week for the first time in years. It has a brilliant random genius about it. I like everything about it, but probably not in the way the makers intended.
    I'd like you to elucidate on your beef with Lee. In what sense is he 'awful'? Surely he's truly one of the greats.

  3. "and Lee is, as usual, awful"

    that is a sentence I expected to go to my grave without hearing from any right-thinking man, woman, or child...

    explain yourself Mr W!

  4. enjoyed the film women, recreational Satanism in the Home Counties, oodles of tape echo - what's not to like?

    mind you, fell asleep towards the end and surfaced just in time for the end of Lee explaining his motivation over what looked like the credits to Picture Box. did I miss much?

  5. I just don't like Christopher Lee. He's been in some great films, yes, but he's never what's great about them. Living longer than everybody else does not make you a wonderful actor. There, I've said it!

  6. So... now I must turn my back on you ;)

  7. think I can see what you're getting at there...maybe?

    but as my late great grandfather used to say:

    de gustibus non est disputandum

    and that goes for your opinions on Tom Baker too!

  8. I love the sound at the start of this.