20 October 2014

Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)
88 min.
Directed by Vernon Sewell.
With Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Barbara Steele, Michael Gough, Mark Eden, Virginia Wetherell, Rupert Davies, Rosemarie Reede.
This 1968 horror from Tigon Films promises a great lineup, namely the chance to see Karloff, Lee and Steele all in the same vehicle.

Unfortunately, it never gets beyond room temperature.

After his brother Peter disappears on a business trip, Robert (Eden) decides to go looking for him. His investigation leads him to an old country manor run by an eccentric aristocrat named Morley (Lee). But no one claims to have seen Peter, or even heard of him.

To make matters worse, Robert is distracted by the Morley family's strange fascination with the 'Black Witch of Greymarsh.' Seems it's a centuries old legend of an ancestral witch named Lavinia (Steele) who was burned at the stake. Will Robert find his bro, and get both of them out of this weird place? Or do the Morleys have entirely different plans?

Also known as The Crimson Cult, this is adequately shot and, to its credit, makes the most of a confused and contrived plotline.

However, it's general trivia that drives any viewer interest in Crimson.

This would be Karloff's final film appearance, with his death the following year.

Meanwhile, the interior sequences were shot in the real-life home of W.S. Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan), a supposedly haunted residence.

But c'mon, when all is said and done, where else would you get the chance to see La Steele in green face makeup and a wild gold headdress? Mainly of interest to horror buffs, for most this will still make a mildly enjoyable midnight watch.

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