So, most of you that are horror fans know Christopher Lee from his days of Hammer Films. For me his most powerful roles were those he did for Hammer. They’re also ones that stood out to me as a teenager and have had a profound influence on my own creativity. A lot of good actors have portrayed Dracula but for me Lee’s performance was second only to Bella Lugosi. Much like Lugosi and Vincent Price, Lee was able to embody and personify evil in way that transcended mere acting. He could convey emotions with a mere look upon his face that was more impactful then any spoken word yet was done with a subtle nuance that rather then comical overacting. Sometimes when you watch a movie with a famous actor there’s the tendency for the actor to overshadow his role. I don’t see the character but instead instantly recognize the actor as playing a part. But with Lee this wasn’t the case. He had the ability to absorb the nature of the role he played and it allowed me to suspend my sense of disbelieve over the course of the movie.
When Lee was cast in Lord of the Rings it was a brilliant thing. I felt that he gave a powerful performance and seeing him act alongside Ian was a real treat. It was also great to see Lee introduced to a young generation that may not have been familiar with his talent.
Lee was an icon of the horror genre who’s long resume in the movies will continue to inspire and entertain. It is sad to know he will no longer be among us, but the contribution he’s made to the genre will not be forgotten and I think that is what any artist would want to leave behind.