Having recently read Phil Baker’s The Devil Is A Gentleman: The Life and Times of Dennis Wheatley, I was moved to revisit the Hammer film adaptations of Wheatley’s novels – The Devil Rides Out (Terence Fisher, 1968) and To The Devil A Daughter (Peter Sykes, 1976), both of which ‘starred’ pseudo-aristocratic plonker Christopher Lee_._ The first flick is an ultra-conservative thriller with some occult trimmings that looks absolutely pathetic when compared to what was happening in horror cinema at the time. It is of the same vintage as early post-modern classics like Succubus (Jess Franco, 1967), Rape of the Vampire (Jean Rollin, 1968) and Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968), but looks positively antediluvian in comparison.
With To The Devil A Daughter, Hammer finally caught up with what had been happening cinematically in the late-sixties; they may have been a decade behind the times but the result was still a groove sensation! Just before giving up the ghost, Hammer had finally made a film that rather than being plot driven was based around atmospherics and didn’t rely on a stupid climactic end scene to ‘please’ its audience. There was even some full frontal nudity, albeit very brief . Being arch-reactionaries (and literal Tory party supporters from over-privileged backgrounds) with absolutely no sense of taste or style, Lee and his chum Wheatley loved The Devil Rides Out and disliked the infinitely superior To The Devil A Daughter (which took enormous and much needed liberties with the half-baked novel on which it was based).
Lee’s contributions to the featurette accompanying To The Devil A Daughter in The Hammer Collection DVD box set, reveal him to be an unbelievably vain and pretentious twit. He has a movie career simply because he is tall and can look menacing (he is chiefly famous for his ‘non-human’ roles as Frankenstein’s monster and the ‘undead’ Dracula), few people beyond Lee himself could possibly suffer from the delusion that he can act. Despite this, he witters on about how his Wheatley movies fulfilled the serious function of warning the public of the dangers of the occult. Lee himself is enough of a half-wit to take ‘black magic’ and related hucksterism seriously. It should go without saying that the main danger ‘black magicians’ pose to the wider public is that their attempts to part fools from their money tend to be so ham-fisted that they sometimes make people complacent about the ability of more sophisticated con artists to pull a fast one.
Having had the misfortune to see Lee’s brainless performance on the featurette accompanying one of his best films (although it isn’t quite up there with Beat Girl, directed by Edmond T. Gréville in 1959), I found myself thinking that if this B-movie blockhead really wishes to distance himself from the villains he’s portrayed onscreen, then he really ought to stop behaving like one of the ‘undead’. I therefore leave him and you with the following question to ponder: Christopher Lee, why aren’t you dead? Isn’t it about time he did himself the huge favour of popping his clogs?
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-12-29 14:32:42 +0000
Why not write about decent actors called Lee like Bruce Lee or Lee Marvin? Marvin publicly opposed the Vietnam war and supported gay rights. And Bruce Lee’s success did more to combat certain strands of Orientalism in the early/mid-seventies than almost anything else! They both rock!
Comment by Meabh McDonnell on 2009-12-29 14:45:18 +0000
i love him
Comment by Darren Banks on 2009-12-29 15:03:58 +0000
what about the wicker man ? he looked great in a wig
Comment by Tania Glyde on 2009-12-29 15:05:02 +0000
Comment by Adrian Smith on 2009-12-29 15:10:38 +0000
friends that have met Mr Lee concur with your assessment Stewart! Pompous and arrogant to a tee
Comment by Paris Hilton on 2009-12-29 15:17:31 +0000
Christopher Lee is the kind of airhead who gives ordinary airheads like me a bad name!
Comment by Simon on 2009-12-29 15:18:53 +0000
…Robert Pattison’s inspiration, I venture.
Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-29 15:27:46 +0000
The Wicker Man was a right dog’s dinner of a film. I’m sure there were loads of good British actors they could have given that role to. Lee had all the on-screen presence of a plank of wood. And the musical score sucks seven different shades of shite. At the time there were far better things being aired on TV in the form of ‘Armchair Thriller’. Anyone remember them?
Comment by Bill Dew on 2009-12-29 15:29:05 +0000
Hhhmmm. Agreed that Lee has always come across as the thespian equivalent of Freddie Forsyth, but I’d assumed that his evolution as a ‘serious’ actor was hampered by the choice of roles offered to him. I, too, would cite The Wicker Man as a rare, ‘intelligent’ blip, in providing a multi-dimensional role which he clearly relished and excelled in…
I do think that UK horror of the late 60s/early70s was deeply reactionary, and emblematic of our profound unease with the age of promiscuity and greater license. ‘The kids’ had to be shown to suffer for their newly granted freedoms….
Comment by George Angus on 2009-12-29 15:34:29 +0000
Most excellent – he wasnt acting in the Wicker Man – that is really him and his actual political philosophy, apart from offing the pigs obviously.
Comment by Anne Pigalle on 2009-12-29 15:38:48 +0000
and sexy…never under estimate…
Comment by Rudy Ray Moore on 2009-12-29 15:47:22 +0000
Q: Why did Christopher Lee take a ladder to the pub?
A: Because he heard the drinks were on the house that night.
I ain’t lying!
Comment by Redd Foxx on 2009-12-29 15:53:49 +0000
Christopher Lee is bored so he decides to do something wild, something he hasn’t done before, so he rents his first X-rated adult video.
Lee goes to the video store and, after looking around for a while, selects a title that sounds stimulating.
He drives home, opens a bottle of wine, and since his wife is away he slips into her nightie. Finally he puts the tape in the VCR. To Lee’s disappointment, there’s nothing but static on the screen, so he calls the video store to complain.
“I just rented an adult movie from you and there’s nothing but static on the tape.”
“Sorry about that, sir,” says the shop assistant. “We’ve had problems with some of those X-rated tapes. Which title did you rent?”
“It’s called ‘Head Cleaner’.”
I ain’t lying!
Comment by LaWanda Page - “The Bronze Goddess of Fire” on 2009-12-29 16:08:55 +0000
A noted psychiatrist was a guest at a gathering for airheads where his host Christopher Lee broached a subject with which the doctor was quite at ease.
“Would you mind telling me, Doctor,” Lee asked, “how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?”
“That’s easy,” the shrink replied. “You ask them a simple question which everyone should be able to answer with no trouble. If they hesitate, that puts you on the right track.”
“What sort of question would you ask, Doctor?” Lee enquired.
“Well, I might ask, “During his life, Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?'”
Christopher Lee thought for a moment, then said with a nervous laugh – “You wouldn’t happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don’t know much about history.”
I ain’t lying!
Comment by Skillet & Leroy on 2009-12-29 16:20:35 +0000
Skillet: What does Christopher Lee say when a woman blows in his ear?
Leroy: Thanks for the refill!
We ain’t lying!
Comment by Billy Connolly on 2009-12-29 16:48:23 +0000
Christopher Lee called up British Airways and asked, “How long are your flights from London to Copenhagen?”
The agent answered, “just a minute.”
At which, Christopher Lee thanked him and hung up.
Comment by Bill Cosby on 2009-12-29 17:11:59 +0000
Q: What did Christopher Lee say to the buxom waitress (after reading her name tag) when he went for lunch in a restaurant?
A: “‘Debbie’…that’s cute. What did you name the other one?”
Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-12-29 18:50:38 +0000
So how about we run a book on who’s going to croak in 2010 and see what the odds for Christopher Lee are?
Comment by fiona on 2009-12-29 21:19:46 +0000
Airhead? Isn’t that a bit final? Are you saying that it is possible to put someone-anyone- in one permanent camp forever- ie- clever or stupid? airhead or brainbox? You decide, I guess.
Comment by Frater Marabas on 2009-12-29 21:50:20 +0000
Marabas has an unparalleled grasp of esoteric methods worldwide but he is not a god – he cannot indemnify customers from risk. Only you know your exact circumstances, your medical history, state of health and the progression of the problem so far. Only you can judge whether it is in your interests to apply magic in your life. If you ask us how a magician might resolve a problem then Marabas will tell you but in our eyes magic is a force used to modify the course of destiny and can cause peripheral changes which are not anticipated therefore all magical operations are by qualification inherently experimental. Our products are genuine, contain proper materials and most importantly are designed with adept knowledge of magical method. You cannot get a better chance of successfully experimenting with magic but be under no illusion – it is an experiment undertaken entirely at your own risk.
Comment by Celebrity Weekly on 2009-12-29 22:00:32 +0000
Russell loses his identity… and received a ‘Brand’ new one!
Edgy comedian Russell Brand today revealed his anxiety at being the victim of identity theft. The fame-hungry celeb announced that being in the limelight had made him a prime target.
The controversial cockney comic (34) spoke of how his ubiquity had brought him riches, notoriety, sex on tap and no small amount of grief, when he discovered that impostors were posing as him on social networking sites and various Internet blogs.
‘It’s one thing to get slated by the critics,’ he complained, ‘but entirely another to find that you identity has been stolen. It’s quite unnerving, really.’
Funnyman Band, a self-professed sex addict, is no stranger to strife, with his near-the-knuckle gags and pranks – notably his well-documented calls to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs – drawing heavy criticism in the media and costing him his radio show.
‘I don’t mind people talking about me,’ he remarked, ‘in fact I love it. as Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you.
‘It’s good for business and good for my profile. It’s what I do: I court controversy, because I’m edgy, a bit risky, y’know? But I have a solid fanbase who show their support and that keeps me going in difficult times. Especially when I get to shag young groupies.’
Brand went on to complain, however, that people posing as him, for reasons that aren’t always entirely clear, was taking it a bit far.
‘It’s a bit beyond a joke when people are going round pretending to be me and saying things that people might think are actually me saying them when it isn’t. They’re probably just jealous of my fame and sex appal, but the trouble is, some of the postings make me look like a complete knob-end.’
Comment by Alan Whicker on 2009-12-29 23:45:05 +0000
Me: What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?
Christopher Lee: I don’t know, and I don’t care!
Comment by Lynn Barber on 2009-12-29 23:49:43 +0000
I would like to remind certain people who may be reading this that airheads have feelings too and your cruel jokes don’t always go over their heads…
Comment by Jethro on 2009-12-30 01:39:39 +0000
When Christopher Lee was a teenager attending the posh Wellington public school he was seen by his fellow pupils eating a pound note. They gatthered around him and asked him why he was chewing on currency, he replied: “My mother gave it to me saying it was my lunch money.”
Comment by Spike Milligan on 2009-12-30 01:57:28 +0000
Q: Why did Christopher Lee never use the water skis he was given as a present?
A: He wasn’t able to find a sloping lake!
Comment by Craig Egan on 2009-12-30 02:23:58 +0000
Christopher Lee got really excited when he finished a jigsaw puzzle in only 6 months, because on the box it said ‘From 2-4 years’.
Comment by Wendy Harmer on 2009-12-30 02:26:36 +0000
Q: What’s the difference between Christopher Lee and a solar powered calculator?
A: Christopher Lee works in the dark!
Comment by Denise Scott on 2009-12-30 02:30:06 +0000
Did you hear about the time Christopher Lee got mad at his wife and tried to blow up her car? He gave up after he burned his lips on the tailpipe!
Comment by Xavier Susai on 2009-12-30 02:32:55 +0000
Do you know why Christopher Lee moved house? He heard that 80% of all accidents occur in the home!
Comment by Tracy Bartram on 2009-12-30 02:36:09 +0000
Christopher Lee went to a restaurant and ordered a pizza. The waitress asked if she should cut it into 6 or 12 pieces? Lee replied he wanted it cut it into 6 pieces because he wasn’t hungry enough to eat 12 slices of pizza.
Comment by Hannah Gadsby on 2009-12-30 02:37:53 +0000
Q: Why is Christopher Lee’s brain the size of a pea in the morning?
A: It swells at night.
Comment by Claire Hooper on 2009-12-30 02:41:18 +0000
Did you hear about the time a film director asked Christopher Lee to shoot an arrow into the air? He missed.
Comment by Judith Lucy on 2009-12-30 02:43:13 +0000
Q: When is it legal to shoot Chirstopher Lee in the head?
A: When you have a tire pump to reinflate it!
Comment by Jordan Raskopoulos on 2009-12-30 02:45:28 +0000
Q: What did Christopher Lee name his pet zebra?
Comment by Fiona O’Loughlin on 2009-12-30 02:47:56 +0000
Did you hear about the time Christopher Lee went skydiving? He missed the Earth!
Comment by Tom Gleeson on 2009-12-30 02:50:00 +0000
Q: Why did Christopher Lee drive into the ditch?
A: To turn the blinker off.
Comment by Jimeoin on 2009-12-30 02:51:37 +0000
Q: Why did Christopher Lee tip-toe past the medicine cabinet?
A: So he wouldn’t wake up the sleeping pills.
Comment by Brendon Burns on 2009-12-30 02:54:44 +0000
Q: Why does Christopher Lee keep a coat hanger on the back seat of his car?
A: In case he locks the keys inside the vehicle.
Comment by Tahir Bilgiç on 2009-12-30 03:00:44 +0000
Q: Why does Christopher Lee refuse to use elevators in hotels?
A: In case he gets lost on his way up.
Comment by fiona on 2009-12-30 14:36:20 +0000
ahem (no, it’s not me, of course)
Comment by oldrope on 2009-12-30 16:42:24 +0000
Sounds like Lee is a bit of a racist, if he hates ‘black magicians’ so much….
Comment by Robert Scoble on 2009-12-30 17:55:28 +0000
Weakest Link excerpts:
QUERANT: Who built St Paul’s Cathedral – Sir Christopher – ?
QUERANT: What is the capital of India?
QUERANT: A ‘baker’s dozen’ refers to which number?
QUERANT: An Aberdeen Angus is a breed of which animal?
LEE: A man
QUERANT: Most record players come with standard RPM speeds of 33, and – ?
LEE: …six thousand?
Comment by kjlkh on 2010-01-03 11:10:05 +0000
Horror is by definition about fear of the ‘other’ and as such has been the perfect vehicle to project paranoic fantasy and the resultant conservative morality on a mass scale – hence the success of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the time of migration of Ashkenazi Jewish population from Eastern Europe into East London. The zombie of course is metaphoric of the lumpen proletariat which is why the end of oppression necessitates the reintegration of the living and the dead. One way in which (male) revolutionaries might rediscover the feminine is by thinking through what it means to be dead. Table tapping and ouija boards reinforce the hegemony of the reigning society by creating an imaginary world that compensates us for the deficiencies of the one we live in. It has been claimed that dozens of men paid a mortuary attendant to have sex with Marilyn Monroe’s corpse. Sex with the dead should be a gift but under capitalism it is often reduced to the commodity form and the cash nexus. In its drive to prolong life at any cost, the medical establishment encourages the living to fill in forms in which they leave their bodies for the purpose of organ transplants once they are dead.
Revolutionaries can throw the humanitarian pretences of the overdeveloped world into total contradiction by leaving their bodies for sexual experimentation. It’s time to storm the cemeteries and free the dead. The communist project will both live on and live out its death to the revolutionary cry of ‘well dug old mole!’
Comment by KW on 2010-01-05 01:41:46 +0000
What with all the Christopher Lee jokes, it may have escaped some of you that the man can speak about 5-7 languages among other achievements, so whatever you may think about his personality his intelligence cannot be denied.
Also, although he’s been in many lousy movies and has often been given thankless roles, he’s always charismatic and makes the best of any part. When given something better to act out can be truly very good.
Comment by lol on 2010-01-05 06:36:36 +0000
Comment by The Sweetest Taboo on 2010-01-05 23:33:27 +0000
Christopher Lee walks into a shop, buys a paper and tells the man to keep the change. As Lee leaves, the man says, “Well, what a nice chap. I guess that’s what actually counts in life.”
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-01-07 13:08:48 +0000
Projecting an image as a ‘nice chap’ is exactly what you’d expect from a grasping and very vocal supporter of the Tory party like Christopher Lee. This is not how hardline conservatives with posh backgrounds really behave, and so it is image and not reality. The other thing about Lee is he really can’t act – he does menace okay standing absolutely still but the minute he opens his mouth or moves even very slightly he just comes across like an idiot. Actually even his standing still menace doesn’t work once you realise what a jerk he is; but it worked for me as a kid when I’d only seen stills and and not the films – but once I’d seen Lee failing to act he looked like a moron even when he was standing still. It isn’t just about roles – both Vincent Price and Peter Cushing (for example) really could act and when you watch them you can see that, and Lee really can’t. If it wasn’t for his family background and connections, then Lee would never have had a career as an ‘actor’. He is a classic example of what is wrong with this society, and that’s why he’s such a vocal supporter of the Tories, because they defend the privileges that he so obviously doesn’t deserve.
Comment by eddiemsn53 on 2010-02-01 16:42:24 +0000
is it good mocking and slating others behind they,re backs? you all need to look at your sad,childish,selves b4 passing comments like these. get real!
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-02-01 17:07:16 +0000
Why don’t you get real and THINK before typing the first stupid comment that comes into your head? This has not been done behind anyone’s back, since anyone who can access the internet can look at it – in other words it is completely public, and that is in fact the opposite of doing something behind someone’s back. It is also exactly what talentless right-wing jerks like Christopher Lee deserve.
Comment by eddiemsn53 on 2010-02-02 14:01:33 +0000
did you inform mr lee that you were going to gibber about him before the comments on this site spewed fourth? if you did,nt,then it was behind his back. i think your jealous of the man, fool!
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-02-02 14:30:37 +0000
If you are able to admit to yourself that you were wrong then you will at least have learnt something. When a joke about someone is made in public it is not usually prefaced by an address to the person the joke is about telling them what is about to happen – but it is still in public not behind their back. And while I ignored it in relation to your last comment, since you’ve come back I might as well point out that you not only need to learn to think, you also need to learn to type properly – just look at all the typos in your two short moronic comments!
Comment by eddiemsn53 on 2010-02-02 16:55:00 +0000
and what about your typos? as in when a joke about someone is made it public? should that not read is made in public? anyway,im new to all this but i guess your o.k.trippy. on a serious note though, what is this site all about as id like to come on it more.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-02-02 19:07:51 +0000
This is a site about understanding the relationship between the singular and the plural, or the one and the many….
All human cultures in some way have to deal with accounting for the myriad of objects and phenomena surrounding them. We live in a world of infinite objects that are constantly changing, yet even in this imposing world of objects and change, there seems to be an underlying unity and stability. For instance, every human being begins as an infant and then grows into an adult. Every adult is a different object than they were as an infant—in fact, they are unrecognizable as being the same object. Yet we recognize that the are the same object , that something has remained the same even though the infant has changed into an object that is nowhere close to its original state. Likewise a corpse is nothing like the original living human being, but we still recognize that something has remained constant. We can see the same stability and constancy even across objects. While the world is full of trees, there is still some constancy and stability to “treeness” which never seems to change.
This observation of the world of phenomena leads many cultures to believe that the infinity of things and their changes can ultimately be related back to a single object, material, or idea. The problem of finding the one thing that lies behind all things in the universe is called the problem of the one and the many. Basically stated, the problem of the one and the many begins from the assumption that the universe is one thing. Because it is one thing, there must be one, unifying aspect behind everything. This aspect could be material, such as water, or air, or atoms. It could be an idea, such as number, or “mind.” It could be divine, such as the Christian concept of God or the Chinese concept of Shang-ti, the “Lord on High.” The problem, of course, is figuring out what that one, unifying idea is.
Philosophy in the Western world begins with this question; the earliest Greek philosophers mainly concerned themselves with this question. As a result, the problem of the one and the many still dominates Western concepts of the universe, including modern physics, which has set for itself the goal of finding the theory that will “unify” (unify means “make into one thing”) the laws of physics.
In China, the one thing that unifies the universe is the tai chi, or Great Ultimate. The Great Ultimate is divided into two opposite forces (yang and yin) and five material agents. Beyond this, the Great Ultimate is undefined. In Taoism, the “way” or Tao constitutes this Great Ultimate; it is equally undefined.
Comment by eddiemsn53 on 2010-02-03 19:34:09 +0000
hi trippy. thanks 4 reply,i feel you are a learned man and for me this is good as iam a deep thinker also. please tell me, you state a better life through chemistry? im wondering if you mean drugs?
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-02-03 22:01:15 +0000
Yes in as much as psychedelic drugs are a metaphor for expanded consciousness but they are not the only means to it. I’m happy enough with people using drugs for enjoyment too…. but they can become a problem if they are used to blot out pain.
Comment by eddiemsn53 on 2010-02-04 11:50:39 +0000
for many years i used to excess the liquid drug alcohol for that reason,to blot out past events. then i came to know that this practice made my inner feelings far worse. im 50 yrs old now and dont drink much even though life can feel pretty negative to me at times,and i wonder what you could tell me about this? and maybe tell me of alternatives to alcohol that would lift me without the harmful effects of alcohol. forgive me,but i read about your mother,such a shame, i too know the feeling of loss, so i guess that you have had your share of pain too,but like me,your still here. regards, eddie.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-02-04 12:10:54 +0000
We live in a shitty society that encourages people to behave in unhealthy ways…. So most of what happens to most people isn’t their fault. Guilt is pointless, if you’ve done something out of order to other people you do what you can to sort it out and put it right… beyond particularly vicious behaviour, no point blaming ourselves for anything….Still at the end of the day we have to sort out our own problems ourselves given the social structures around us (while bearing in mind we’re not to blame for them and should be struggling to change them).
I’d say if you are feeling negative/depressed the first thing to try is regular exercise if you don’t do that already, like a gym, swimming, cycling, If you haven’t exercised for a while then you should get some help from instructors who you’ll find at any gym, and of course exercise classes can be good. You may be able to get this for free on the NHS if you are in the UK (but I’m wary of doctors myself, and would be careful of what I said to them, but I don’t think it should be that hard to get a GP to prescribe you exercise at a gym for free if you are on a low income). You will feel mentally bad if you don’t feel physically good (obviously within whatever constraints you have in terms of being able bodied or health issues). If that doesn’t sort things, then you need to go deeper and there are a lot of ways to do that. I reviewed a book by Chris Gray on this blog that goes into one way of doing that:
But that isn’t the only way, seems to me like a good one for those coming from similar places to Gray….