Christopher Lee, king of the Satanists! Here’s a quick look at two of his films from over 15 years apart with a similar theme.
HORROR HOTEL (The City of the Dead) (1960)
This is a delicious little tale of witchcraft and Satanism coming from 1960. Christopher Lee plays a professor teaching a lesson on the witch trials, He suggests his enthusiastic student travel to a town where they took place.
She is immediately introduced to all the creepy people living there: the innkeeper lady, a mute bellhop, a reverend who guards an old church…even people on the street just stop and stare at her. And of course, she makes the mistake of getting nearly naked on camera–pretty edgy for 1960.
The dark streets are coated in a low-lying layer of fog. Her hotel room looks out on a cemetery. There’s a trapdoor in the floor. Yet, she doesn’t get the hell out of there, instead asking around about the very sensitive subject of the witch trials.
The film doesn’t hold many surprises, since it makes it clear who the Devil-worshippers are from the start, but it does take a turn in the middle when the main girl’s brother and boyfriend come looking for her.
There’s plenty of fun to be had: rituals with robed figures, sacrifices, dead birds, ominous symbols tacked to doors, eerie Gregorian chants, etc. it’s clear that much of this film is reflected in films that have come after it. Like…To the Devil a Daughter.
TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER (1976)
As with many devil-wants-to-be-a-baby-daddy movies from the 1970s Satanism horror era, this one starts off with the unnerving concept of underground satanic cults that are coming for your soul or your baby, but becomes an absolute mess by the end.
Nastassja Kinski is a nun at ex-communicated priest Christoper Lee’s very special religious order. When she goes back home to her father, or so she thinks, he has her stay with an occultist instead. That’s because Lee actually runs a satanic cult, and they need Kinski for a very special ritual that must be done on her 18th birthday, which falls on All Hallows’ Eve (no, there’s no sign of the Halloween holiday in the film).
The occultist does everything in his power to keep Kinski safe and away from the satanic cult (so much for freedom of religion), but Lee uses his evil powers to torment her father and to draw her back. She also has fucked up visions and dreams with some major vajayjay on display. Eek!
The plot starts to run out of steam as the religious and satanic aspects take over, so a satanic orgy is thrown in to keep us interested. It works like a charm, especially with the introduction of a fucked up crucifix they use during the sexual shenanigans.
There is a bloody baby thing near the end, which is at least more than we ever see in Rosemary’s Baby…