The Satanic Rites of Dracula Review

The 7th and last Hammer Dracula to star Christopher Lee as the famous Vampire as well as the 4th  Hammer film to star Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, this is also the 8th entry in the series overall.

It was a direct sequel to Dracula AD 1972. Though lambasted by fans and critics alike and even by its own star Christopher Lee, personally I find it to be the best entry after the original and also in some ways one of the most innovative and original of the Hammer films.

Plot

2 years on from the events of Dracula AD 1972 Lorrimer Van Helsing continues his research into the occult, with his grand daughter Jessica now helping him with his work after her experience in the previous film which saw all of her friends die at Dracula’s hands. According Lorrimer Jessica now knows more about the occult than even he himself does.

Meanwhile a Secret Service agent investigates a secret cult. There he not only discovers several demonic killings but also to his surprise four prominent members of society, a General, a Government Minister, a peer and a famous scientist. Though he manages to escape with photographic evidence of all involved he is mortally wounded in the process and dies soon after.

Despite having evidence inspector Murray (who helped Van Helsing battle Dracula in the previous film) and secret service agent Torrance decide to deal with the case independently in order to avoid any reprisals by the minister.

Murray consults Van Helsing due to his expertise on the occult. Van Helsing agrees that there could be something supernatural about the cult. He recognizes the scientist among the four prominent members of the cult, Professor Julian Keely who is an old friend of his and decides to visit him.

Unfortunately he finds Keely to be a babbling lunatic. Still Keely shares with him knowledge of what he has been creating for the mysterious leader of the cult D. D. Denham. It is a new form of the bubonic plague that is far more dangerous.

Not only is it spread through touch, but it also literally eats its victims flesh from their bones slowly. Its victims die over the course of several days in the most excruciating agony possible as the plague stimulates every single pain receptor in the body to the maximum amount of pain it can feel.

Finally the plague also has the power to infect any form of life in exactly the same way and thus if it is unleashed it could potentially wipe out all life on the planet.

Van Helsing is horrified that his friend has taken part in the creation of such a virus. Keely tells him that he had no choice and that even now a dark force is controlling his thoughts and making him do things he doesn’t want to do.

Unfortunately before he can tell Van Helsing what this dark force is he is killed by a member of the cult who also very for some reason does not kill Van Helsing.

Jessica Van Helsing, Inspector Murray and Torrance meanwhile investigate the house the agent travelled to earlier and find a cellar full of Vampires. After barely escaping the monsters (all of whom are made up of people on the missing persons for two years) Van Helsing is able to deduce that this is the work of his old archenemy Dracula.

Dracula was brought back from the dead not long after the events of Dracula AD 1972 by another one of his servants. The Vampire soon went under the alias of D.D. Denham head of Denham industries and established a cult which eventually under Dracula’s orders developed the new form of plague.

Van Helsing states that he does not believe Dracula wishes to use the plague to conquer the world. He instead wishes to use it to destroy every living thing on earth. Van Helsing believes that the Vampire has grown tired of his existence and wants to go out in one last act of horror and violence, bringing down everything with him.

Van Helsing goes to confront D. D. Denham at his office in Denham industries (which is built over the church Dracula was killed in in the previous Dracula film)

Van Helsing after exposing the powerful reclusive Denham as Dracula prepares to kill him with a silver bullet, but is foiled by Dracula’s servants who wish to kill Van Helsing. Dracula however states that it cannot be made so easy for Van Helsing or for his grand daughter Jessica, both of whom he has a much worse fate in mind for which explains why Van Helsing was spared earlier.

Jessica and Murray are captured by Dracula’s minions whilst Torrance is shot dead. Murray is thrown to Dracula’s Vampire brides in the cellar whilst Jessica and her grandfather are taken to the main room of the house.

There Van Helsings suspicions about Dracula’s master plan are proven to be correct. Dracula has grown tired of his immortal existence and wants to die permanently. However just as Van Helsing predicted he wants to go down in one final blaze of glory and thus plans to take the whole world with him. He also tells Van Helsing that he plans to make him one of the four carriers of this new plague. He also plans to make Jessica a Vampire. As a Vampire Jessica will survive the plague and witness the destruction of the earth.

The Vampire will achieve his perfect revenge against his most hated enemies the Van Helsing’s this way. Lorrrimer Van Helsing will suffer the worst possible death as the virus kills him slowly, but he will also die knowing that his gran daughter became a Vampire and that as one of the carriers he helped spread a virus that destroyed all life on this planet. Jessica similarly will suffer as she will not only become a Vampire the very thing she hates the most, but she will also as  Vampire witness the entire world, everyone and everything she ever cared about come to an end with the knowledge her grandfather caused it.

Just as Dracula is about to put this monstrous plan into action his followers turn on him. They were tricked into thinking that he wanted to use the plague as a deterrent in order to force the world leaders to adhere to his demands. Dracula’s followers plead with him and try to make him see sense but the Vampire sadistically forces one of them using hypnosis to infect himself.

Dracula watches in glee as his own minions screams in agony as the virus begins eating his flesh from his bones, whilst Van Helsing can barely watch in horror.

Inspector Murray meanwhile manages to escape from Dracula’s Vampire brides whom he dispatches by setting off the sprinklers (clear running water is enough to destroy a Vampire) Upstairs Murray gets into a fight with one of Dracula’s human servants. He ends up causing a fire. The infected minion of Dracula is consumed in the flames whilst Van Helsing makes sure that all other samples of the plague and all notes on it are destroyed in the blaze. Whilst Van Helsing holds Dracula off, Murray gets Jessica to safety. As the house goes up in flames all of Dracula’s plans for world domination are destroyed . Van Helsing barely manages to escape the Vampire and flees through the woods with Dracula in hot pursuit.

Van Helsing manages to beat Dracula by luring him into a hawthorn bush. A hawthorn bush is a weakness of Vampires as the Hawthorn tree provided Christ with his crown of thorns. Dracula is mutilated by the thorns, but manages barely to make his way through them. Now however so weak he can barely stand Van Helsing easily thrusts a wooden stake through the Vampires heart. After Dracula crumbles into dust Van Helsing picks up his ring. 

Review

The Satanic Rites of Dracula I think is one of the most underrated British horror movies ever made.

It baffles me that it has such an overwhelmingly negative reputation among fans? I struggle to find any good reviews of this film on line or in books and I just don’t understand why?

I’m not saying the movie is completely perfect. It has its faults sure, but then again so does every movie ever made!

Still I wont deny that there are some problems with the film. I think this movie suffers from giving the Vampires too many weaknesses. I despise having Vampires be killed by running water. Really how scared can you be of a monster that you can beat by just throwing a glass of water in his face.

Granted this is not the first movie to establish that Vampires can be killed by being immersed in clear running water, but still in Dracula Prince of Darkness at least the Vampire was drowned, whilst in the previous movie when Johnny Alucard fell into the shower you could argue that the sunlight also killed him.

In this film however we have it that sprinklers killed the Vampires which is just absurd. It means that Vampires not only can’t go out at day time but at night if its raining which further limits their effectiveness. On top of that they give them yet another weakness the Hawthorn tree.

The ending of this film is definitely one of the silliest in the Hammer Dracula series too. Dracula literally just walks into something that can kill him? I mean why, why would he walk through the Hawthorn bush when he could have walked round it?

The image of Dracula trapped in the bush, bloodied and reaching out to grab Van Helsing is a striking image, but its just too silly how he gets in there. It would have been better if they had him and Van Helsing fighting with each other and Van Helsing kick Dracula into the Hawthorn bush. Sadly there is no real big final fight between Cushing’s Van Helsing and Lee’s Dracula either which is a shame after their climactic showdowns in Horror of Dracula and Dracula AD 1972.

The character of Jessica Van Helsing is terribly wasted which is a shame as they actually develop her quite well here. In the first movie we saw her as a more shallow, care free character who didn’t take her grandfather’s research into the occult seriously. To his chargin she even mocked it. However after she lost her boyfriend and all of her friends like Laura and Gaynor, Jessica has now devoted her life to studying the supernatural and now has a greater understanding of paranormal creatures than her grandfather herself.

Added to that they have Joanna Lumley one of the UK’s most talented actresses playing her.

Sadly however in spite of all of this Jessica is still a complete non entity in this story. She just stands about getting groped by female Vampires, gets captured, screams. We don’t get to see her use this fantastic knowledge on Vampires and Demons to any use whatsoever.

Other than these minor faults however I genuinely don’t see anything wrong with this movie, whilst at the same time I also find it original and innovative in many ways too.

To start with the modern day setting doesn’t bother me. I like the idea of an ancient evil resurfacing in modern day, in a society that doesn’t know about it. Like I’ve said before that is actually closer to what Bram Stoker had in mind with the original Dracula. Stokers Vampire was a monster that travelled to London because he could feed on the unsuspecting population, with his mistake being that he didn’t count on people like Van Helsing who still believed in the paranormal.

This key element of Stokers novel was completely lost in the 19th century movies where like I said everyone in Klausenberg was aware of Vampires.

I think this movie explores the idea of a Vampire in modern day much better than Dracula AD 1972. In AD 1972 Dracula actually doesn’t leave his church and interact with the modern world at all.

In this movie however we see how he integrates into the modern world and uses it to his advantage, so much so that he is actually able to remain hidden from Van Helsing for 2 years.

Dracula uses the identity of D. D. Denham the powerful recluse who no one expects to see in the daylight hours, and he uses his vast wealth to cover up his killings and activities for 2 years.

I find this to be a very interesting idea that a monster could live in the modern world and remain completely undetected, also once again Dracula’s high status as D. D. Denham is closer to Stokers Vampire than the Dracula of the 19th century sequels.

Stokers Dracula is a monster that has to have influence and power, he is COUNT Dracula after all. He stays in a castle when he gets to London he has his gypsy body guards, his hired help etc. He wouldn’t be content to just to skulk about in an old pub cellar like in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. If he were in modern day he would have an alias like D. D. Denham that gives him influence and power to cover his tracks, to protect him during the day, he would have guards who could protect him. Dracula’s minions wielding guns are just the modern version of his body guards in the novel who wield knives.

It not only makes Dracula more menacing to give him power like this, but it also makes more logical sense that a creature that has lived this long, and is this powerful would have followers and would prefer a much higher standard of living too. The king of all Vampires is happy to spend time in a smelly pub cellar? I don’t think so.

Dracula’s plan to exterminate the entire human race has long been reviled by fans, but again personally I think its a brilliant idea.

To start with it helps the movie break out of the repetitive formula the Dracula series has been stuck in since well the first film where Dracula wants to kill a young blonde woman either because he is horny and hungry or to get back at her older male relative, and he manages to kill another girl first (usually a gorgeous red head) before being killed either by her boyfriend or an old Vampire Hunter.

Say what you will at least this film tried to do something new and also at least this film gives Dracula something big to do. That was a real problem in previous Dracula’s the way Dracula who is again supposed to be the king of all Vampires would waste his time on such small matters like getting back at a local priest who pissed him off.

Also I think Dracula’s motivation for ending the world makes sense. Dracula has grown tired of his immortal life having lived for centuries on nothing but violence and misery and secretly seeks to end his life, but naturally being the ultimate Vampire he isn’t just going to want to go quietly is he?

He’s going to want to get back at Van Helsing, his grand daughter, all of humanity. Plus I like the idea that Dracula is such a supreme egotist that he is not going to like the idea of the human race just going on without him and being forgotten. If he’s going down he is damn sure going to take everyone else with him.

This far more how I’d imagine a monster like Dracula to view his death than wanting to be killed by his lover like the Gary Oldman Dracula is it?

Remember that Dracula is a monster based on Vlad the Impaler, one of the most evil men who ever lived, a bloodthirsty maniac who killed and tortured thousands of innocent men, women and children, who bathed in their blood.

Thus he should be a vicious, savage monster. He shouldn’t be an angst ridden, sympathetic love struck character like the Frank Langella Dracula or the Gary Oldman Dracula or the version in that recent HBO tv series.

The version of Dracula in this film who is arguably the least romantic depiction of the character there has ever been. His reasons for pursuing Jessica aren’t out of love or even lust, they are so that he can torture her by making her into a Vampire who will not only loathe herself, but also be able to watch the world around her and everyone she cares about die.

I’d say this film has Dracula at his most menacing after Scars of Dracula. Both of these films don’t just show him simply biting his victims, but inflict much more gruesome fates upon them which again ties into the Vlad the Impaler influence as we all know Vlad didn’t like going for a quick kill.

The scene where Dracula forces one of his followers to infect himself always terrified me. It looks absolutely disgusting as we see his skin turn green and begin to peel from his body. In fact I’d say its one of the most horrific images in any Hammer horror and it highlights how inhuman and monstrous Dracula is, the way Van Helsing and the rest of the people in the room are practically being sick at the sight of it, whilst Dracula just looks on smiling calmly..

A lot of critics have said that Dracula’s plan is too silly as he would not have anything to eat if he destroyed humanity, but this point is actually raised in the film itself. He wants to die remember, so he wants to kill off his food source.

The idea of a Vampire wanting to destroy or take over the world has actually been featured in many of the most prominent pieces of Vampire fiction. Indeed ironically Bram Stoker’s Dracula tried to take over the world. The reason he arrived in London was so that he could use the British empire to spread Vampirisim across the world like never before and eventually allow his kind to dominate mankind.

Thus all of the things fans rake this movie over hot coals for are ironically true of Stokers novel. Being set in modern day, yes. Stokers Dracula was set in the time it was written. Dracula wanting to take over the world, yes, and in both cases they are planning to use aspects of the modern world that weren’t available to them centuries ago to do it. Dracula in the novel plans to use the British empire which has made it easier to travel the world to spread Vampirism that has only been confined to Transylvania around the globe like never before, whilst in this film he plans to use chemical warfare to destroy mankind. I love the idea of monsters actually being able to take advantage of aspects of the modern world, like technology in a way that makes life easier for them than hundreds of years ago.

The idea of Vampires in modern day, and of Vampires wanting to take over the world is something that we see in just about every modern day Vampire story too.

That’s the great irony about this film is that fans knock it as being a sign that the series was running out of steam and being just too ridiculous, yet its arguably the blue print for the modern Vampire story.

Lets see ancient Vampire returns from the dead,  poses as the head of a company that has a secret evil plan, plans to bring about the biblical prophecy of armaggedon, is opposed by two members of a lineage of Vampire hunters. And its set in modern day?

Hmmm yeah not at all like, Buffy the Vampire Slayer that has many Vampires and supernatural creatures plan and destroy the world. The Master an ancient Vampire king in season 1 of Buffy plans to unleash the Old Ones from their hell dimension, who will wipe out humanity, Spike and Dru two Vampires plan to rebuild the Judge an ancient Demon who will burn humanity, also Angelus a Vampire in season 2 of Buffy plans to destroy the world by sucking it into hell. In all cases these Vampires are opposed by Buffy and Giles two modern day members of of a long line of Vampire hunters, and the series is set in modern day in a big modern city. There are also monsters who poses as powerful figures of society and heads of companies like The Mayor in season 3, a Demon who becomes well the Mayor, Wolfram and Hart a Demonic lawfirm, that’s not so different from D. D. Denham industries, or Russell Winters a Vampire from the first episode of Angel who lives in a massive mansion and has human body guards armed with guns just like D. D. Denham in this film.

Then we have Being Human which has Herrick a Vampire king who similar to D. D. Denham has a high profile position in society, a police officer, which he uses like Denham to cover up his Vampiric killings. Like Denham he also plans to bring about an end to the world by leading a horde of Vampires to overrun humanity. Series 4 meanwhile introduces us to a Vampire King named Mr Snow who plans to destroy humanity as well and rule the earth. Added to that the series also plays with the idea of some monsters being able to use aspects of the modern world to their advantage. In the season finale the Devil uses television to broadcast his hypnotic message which will make millions of people watching at home kill themselves.

Also Supernatural has had plenty of monsters try and bring about the end of the world, only to be opposed by the Winchester brothers, modern day members of a Demon hunting family that goes back generations. In season 7 we have an ancient monster that takes on the alias of a business man named Dick Roman who secretly plans to create a plague that will help him conquer the human race. Earlier in the series a Demon also takes over a business man who plans to destroy the earth using a plague. Many episodes of Supernatural also explore the idea of monsters using modern technology to their advantage too. Vampires use the current obsession with romantic Vampires and facebook to lure young teenage girls away to their death, whilst another episode sees a monster who is able to mimic people’s voices utilize technology such as phones to lure its victims away. The monster describes how in the past it would have to hid in bushes to lure people out, but now things like the phone make it much easier to trap prey.

Finally there are also the Blade films all of which feature Vampires planning to destroy the modern world and also the Whistler family, yet another family of Vampire hunters one of whom is an old man and the other a young woman.

As you can see this movie features ideas that would later become much loved staples in subsequent prominent works. Dracula’s plan to bring about the end of the world is a forebear to Angelus’s scheme to destroy the world in Buffy, or the Leviathans plan to use a plague to bring about the end of humanity, whilst Van Helsing in this film is Rupert Giles, Bobby Singer, Abraham Whistler the older mentor to the next generation of Vampire hunters who knows everything about them, and the Van Helsing family is like the Winchester family, the Mr Vampire family the Whistler family, the long line of Vampire hunters who are feared and reviled by the monsters.

Obviously I am not saying that this film inspired all of these works (though it was an influence on Being Human) but the point is you can see far from being the tired and dull entry at the end of the series, this film actually was decades ahead of its time and was the first to feature ideas that would come to define not just the modern Vampire story, but the modern day paranormal story too.

So then why is it so slated? Why do people say that Dracula’s plan to destroy the world is ridiculous, yet praise Buffy which has exactly the same idea?

Well perhaps a large part of that is because a lot of the reviews I have read of this film are by older fans who perhaps haven’t seen some of the more modern Vampire stories? I can understand some of the concepts in this film feeling a bit wild compared to the previous Hammer Dracula’s but really compared to modern day Vampire fiction like Buffy and Supernatural there is nothing ridiculous about this film at all.

Watch it as a big long episode of Buffy or Supernatural.

I think that part of this films negative reputation comes from Christopher Lee himself. Now obviously I love Christopher Lee, but I think he was definitely too hard on these films. I understand that as a fan of Stokers novel Lee wanted them to be closer to the book (though ironically as I pointed out this film is actually closer in some ways to Stokers novel) Still its just such a shame that he couldn’t see how original this film was and sadly I think his slating of the film kind of set a negative attitude towards it.

Lee’s desire for the Dracula movies he was in to be more authentic was incidentally parodied by Jon Pertwee in the movie The House That Dripped Blood where Pertwee played an actor appearing in a Vampire movie that he looked down on for being trashy. Pertwee was a good friend of Lee’s in real life and so the parody was affectionate, but still according to Pertwee so many people who knew them both said that his impression of Lee was spot on!

Speaking of Doctor Who, many critics have compared this film to the Pertwee era Doctor Who. After all you have Peter Cushing a former Doctor Who technically playing a special adviser on the paranormal to the British government battling, alongside his brainy female companion, his archenemy who dresses in black, is hypnotic, and plans to destroy the world.

Christopher Lee at one point even says “I AM THE MASTER”

Remember that this film was released during the height of the Pertwee era’s popularity and thus its not so inconceivable that perhaps it borrowed some elements from the Pertwee era. Don Houghton who wrote the film also wrote two Pertwee era stories, Inferno and The Mind of Evil which featured Delgado’s Master.

Personally I don’t mind the Doctor Who similarities. I think it adds to its 70’s charm and I also think that Van Helsing and the Doctor are somewhat comparable characters anyway, both eccentric professors who know about strange things, whilst Dracula was always to be fair evil and hypnotic and always dressed in black so really I think Pertwee Who and Dracula mesh quite well together.

All of the performances in this film are great. Peter Cushing as ever is brilliant as Van Helsing though sadly he doesn’t get any big fights with a Vampire, other than a brief scuffle with Dracula at the end, he is as commanding as ever as the Vampire hunter.

Lee I think despite his distaste for the script also puts in a good show. This Dracula is more weary, worn down, yet at the same time just as vicious and cunning as he ever was.

This film actually gives Lee more to do than many of the other Dracula’s and best of all it gives Lee and Cushing a chance to play off of one another as Dracula and Van Helsing more than any other Hammer Dracula.

In the previous two films they only had one scene together and though both of those scenes were fantastic, its a shame that we only got really a fleeting glimpse of the most iconic Vampire and Vampire Hunter in cinema history together.

This movie however has them interact many times and get a chance to play off of each other in new and exciting ways like when Van Helsing is so horrified at Dracula’s scheme that even he tries to reason with him. This shows how far Dracula has gone that even Van Helsing who knows the Vampire and what he is capable of more than anyone else is still in shock that he could carry out this genocide.

This film also takes the Dracula/Van Helsing feud to a whole new level as Dracula’s plans for Van Helsing are absolutely horrific. They go beyond just simply turning his grand daughter into a Vampire and we get to see Lee really capture Dracula’s burning hatred for his archfoe “In the months to come you will long for death” this also gives Lee a chance as an actor to do something more than just snarl and bite some gorgeous young actress.

Freddie Jones also puts in a very memorable performance as the deranged Professor Keely. He is able to really make him seem like a man driven over the edge at the guilt at what he has been forced to carry out on Dracula’s orders. Its a very nuanced performance as you can’t help but pity him, yet be unnerved by him at the same time as he is such a babbling lunatic you don’t know what he could do next. Cushing plays well off of him too, showing concern from his friend, shock at what he has been a part of and at the same time a strong desire to learn the truth from him for the greater good.

Michael Coles who plays Inspector Murray also is fairly likable and good as the straight forward hero.. He is given more to do in this film than its predecessor, but he copes just fine and he and Cushing have a good chemistry with each other. It is very much like the Doctor and one of his male companions like Ian and Jamie. There is another interracial kiss in this film as well between Murray and a Chinese Vampire who seduces him. Once again like in Dracula AD 1972 the interracial kiss is not highlighted as anything special, with Murray instantly giving into the Vampire’s charms.

Overall I’d rank this as easily being the best of the Hammer Dracula’s. In fact I’d say that its the second best entry in the series after Horror of Dracula and I’d give it 5 stars.

I just don’t understand why its so badly regarded? It gives Lee and Cushing more screen time together in their most iconic roles, it actually does manage to capture certain elements from Stokers novel and its sets the blueprint down for so many classic Vampire and Supernatural series that came after.

I just don’t understand why the fans prefer Dracula Has Risen From the Grave that is just the same old story over again, Dracula comes back kills a sexy redhead, tries to kill a blonde to get back at some guy and then dies himself, to this film that clearly tries to do something new and actually does manage to lay down the tropes that acclaimed works like Blade, Being Human, Buffy, Angel and Supernatural would follow for decades afterwards.

I keep waiting for the general view of this film to change, but sadly everyone still in spite of things like Supernatural, that have Demons try and wipe out humanity, this film is still seen as ridiculous for having Dracula want to wipe out the earth. I only hope one day this film gets the credit it deserves.

Notes and Trivia

  • This film marks the 9th time Peter Cushing kills Christopher Lee on screen.
  • Both Peter Cushing and Joanna Lumley have played the Doctor in Doctor Who in non canon productions. Cushing in the two Dalek films and Lumley in The Curse of Fatal Death.
  • This marks Christopher Lee’s 7th and final time playing Dracula in a Hammer movie. He played the role a grand total of 11 times on the big screen. Aside from his performance as Dracula, Lee has also played a wide variety of iconic villains and characters. He played the Frankenstein’s monster in The Curse of Frankenstein opposite Peter Cushing as Professor Victor Frankenstein in 1957. He also played the Mummy in the 1959 film simply called the Mummy again opposite Peter Cushing who played the main Professor who destroys the monster. He also played Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the Amicus movie I Monster again opposite Cushing who played the Professor that eventually destroys Mr Hyde. Other prominent villain roles Lee has played include Francisco Scaramanga, a Bond villain in the movie The Man With the Golden Gun, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series, Count Duku in the Star Wars prequel film series, Rasputin in Rasputin the Mad Monk (this version was depicted as far more depraved and vicious than his real life counterpart as he was shown to hypnotise women into killing themselves and burn his victims faces with acid!)  and Lord Summerlise the main villain in the iconic British horror film the Wicker Man which he regarded as one of his favourite films, so much so he played the role for free as felt the script was so strong. Though primarily remembered for playing villains, ironically in real life Lee was known to be the kindest and most perfect gentleman. Lee did get a chance to play a few prominent sympathetic characters throughout his long career. These included Henry Baskerville in Hammer’s adaptation of The Hound of the Baskerville’s opposite Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes. He also went on to play Mycroft Holmes in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and the detective himself in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady with close friend Patrick Macnee (best known as John Steed in the Avengers) as his Watson. Lee considered his greatest performance to be that of Muhammed Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinna in 1998. In the later years of his career he worked with Tim Burton who cast him in a variety of different roles including as the voice of the Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland. Aside from his extensive acting career Lee was also an accomplished heavy metal singer and released his final heavy metal album at the age of 91! Lee passed away at the age of 93 on the 7th June 2015.
  • The final Hammer film to feature both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing together. Though they were often sworn enemies on screen, off screen the two were the best of friends.

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