Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)

Starring Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Francis Matthews, Suzan Farmer
Directed by Don Sharp
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Rasputin, the notorious monk who exerted his influence over the Russian royal family, rises to power with the aid of strange supernatural abilities.

Hammer Films, well known for their horror output by this time, tries their luck at a historical drama, but it still comes out a horror film, and it's one of my personal favorites.  Lee gives a convincing performance, portraying Rasputin as a soulless monster with hypnotic powers impossible to resist, and although historical fact is left by the wayside, the result is grand entertainment.  Don Banks' ominous score is a perfect fit for the evil practiced by Lee onscreen, and Shelley and Pasco are very good as two of the victims Rasputin manipulates.

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