Friday, June 12, 2015

Every fan of classic horror, as well as every fan of cinema in general, has reason to mourn this week as we learned of the death of Sir Christopher Lee. 
I specifically, while at the moment going through the terrible trial of having a grandmother who is dying, felt the loss particularly hard.  I’ve told the story many times of how I’d stay at my grandmother and grandfather’s huge old house in Pennsauken during my 70’s childhood and often would watch the weekend horror movies there.  Down in the basement with my grandfather, I first saw the original DRACULA with Bela Lugosi on the old B&W television down there in the area which used to be a licensed taproom.  My grandfather has been gone since January of 1981 and ever since then my grandmother has lived with us.  About two weeks ago, she suffered a heart attack which has seen her go from intensive care to hospice with very little hope of recovery.  So, it was with my already raw nerve-endings in place that I learned last night of Christopher Lee’s death; also heart (and respiratory) related.  I suppose the shock was double because I’ve been waiting for my grandmother’s death and this other news came completely out of the blue to knock me further off-balance. 

Anyone who knows me or who has visited this blog knows full well my enduring love of the horror genre and Christopher Lee was particularly important to me as the last of the titans.  Lee was the last who could be mentioned in the same breath of the indelible icons of my “monster kid” youth:  Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price and Peter Cushing.  This Mt. Rushmore of Classic Horror is only completed by Christopher Lee; and he has sadly now joined these and more horror greats who have awaited him in whatever filmic Valhalla they all reside.  But instead of Norse warriors and Valkyries, this classic horror film afterlife will hopefully find Christopher Lee awakening to the outstretched hands and back-slaps of Conrad Veidt and Michael Ripper, Peter Lorre and Michael Gough, Evelyn Ankers, John Carradine, George Zucco and Lionel Atwill, Ralph Bates, Edward Woodward, Hazel Court and Basil Rathbone, Michael Reeves, Val Lewton and Joyce Jameson, Colin Clive, Dwight Frye and Elsa Lanchester among many many more.  And before he takes his place seated with the immortals – the Chaneys, Lugosi, Karloff, Price – Christopher Lee will imitate the voice of Yosemite Sam or Sylvester the Cat as he gets a great big bear hug from his dear friend Peter Cushing who tells him, “Why, my dear boy, we’re all here to greet you!” 

1 comment:

Dis Guy said...

Rickster, I'm sorry to hear of the poor health of Happy Bottom, if you need to talk or someone to go with you to hospice for support or anything at all and for someone who just lost someone myself I know this is not an easy time for you or your family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you even if it's just to take a road trip so we can talk, vent, and cry.