Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968) a.k.a The Crimson Cult

Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and Barbara Steele in one movie!  Can one ask for more? Absolutely!  This poor man's Hammer Horror toss-off is the product of the late 60's, early 70's "summer of love" drug culture.  I believe one needs to be either intoxicated or stoned in order to appreciate this film.  The story begins when Robert Manning pays a visit to a remote English country mansion where his brother was last seen.  Enter Christopher Lee as J.D. Morley and a very old Boris Karloff as Professor John Marsh who is an expert in witchcraft.  Lee's talents are largely wasted here but Karloff still has that spark we've come to know and love even though he seems a bit frail.  IMDB said that Karloff became ill with pneumonia while shooting this project in the freezing rain. It was one of his last films.  
Barbara Steele enters the picture in a series of scenes that can be best described as kaleidoscopic psychedelic acid flashbacks, where she portrays Lavinia Morley, the Black Witch of Greymarsh who was killed by the townspeople many years ago.  She is painted head to toe with green body makeup and sports a ram's horn and feather headdress.  Seriously?  Her minions include a leather boy with a horned helmet, a goat, and other assorted oddities.  As far as I'm concerned it's one red hot horror mess.  Who dreams up crap like this?  It was utterly ridiculous and Ms. Steele's talents are wasted here as well.
This is just not my kind of horror film.  I'm sure it has its devotees but I'm definitely not one of them.  All three of these actors have done much better work in a number of films.  My advice is to avoid this one like bad LSD.
Rating: Bad.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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