45 user 45 critic

The Crimson Cult (1968)

Curse of the Crimson Altar (original title)
R | | Horror | 15 April 1970 (USA)
When his brother disappears, Robert Manning pays a visit to the remote country house he was last heard from. While his host is outwardly welcoming, and his niece more demonstrably so, ... See full summary »


Vernon Sewell


Mervyn Haisman (screenplay by), Henry Lincoln (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »


Learn more

More Like This 

Mystery | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A young man visits his fiancée's estate to discover that her wheelchair-bound scientist father has discovered a meteorite that emits mutating radiation rays that have turned the plants in ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Haller
Stars: Boris Karloff, Nick Adams, Freda Jackson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Aristocrat Julian Markham keeps his disfigured brother, Sir Edward, locked in a tower of his house. Sir Edward occasionally escapes and causes havoc around the town.

Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Vincent Price, Alister Williamson, Christopher Lee
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Wilbur Whateley travels to the Arkham Miskatonic University to borrow the legendary Necronomicon. But, little does anyone know, Whateley isn't quite human...

Director: Daniel Haller
Stars: Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley
Certificate: GP Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In 1500s England, a cruel witch-hunting magistrate, who often tortures innocent villagers for his entertainment, runs afoul of a witch who conjures a banshee to kill the magistrate and his family.

Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Vincent Price, Essy Persson, Hilary Heath
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Devil worshipers plan to convert two new victims.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A blind sculptor works on his magnum opus unaware that the skeletons he has been using for armatures are the remains of the victims of his evil wife and that he is the next target.

Directors: Santos Alcocer, Edward Mann
Stars: Jean-Pierre Aumont, Boris Karloff, Viveca Lindfors
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman who may be a witch defends her husband from forces attempting to harm him.

Director: Sidney Hayers
Stars: Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair, Margaret Johnston
House of Evil (1968)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  

Relatives of a recently deceased man meet at his eerie castle for a reading of the will. They encounter a sinister piano player who turns out to be a toy maker, and his toys are imbued with murderous intentions.

Directors: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez
Stars: Boris Karloff, Julissa, Andrés García
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

A scientist notices strange frequencies coming from within the Earth. He and his assistants discover a living rock underneath a volcano. They bring the rock to their lab, and discover that ... See full summary »

Directors: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez
Stars: Boris Karloff, Julissa, Carlos East
Alien Terror (1971)
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

In the European village of Gudenberg in 1890, Prof. Mayer and his assistant Isabel have created a powerful ray machine. One of the powerful rays is shot into space and attracts a flying ... See full summary »

Directors: Jack Hill, Juan Ibáñez, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Boris Karloff, Enrique Guzmán, Christa Linder
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 19th century London, a woman weds a doctor with necrophiliac tendencies, and whose first wife died under mysterious circumstances - and might be coming back from the grave to torment her successor.

Director: Riccardo Freda
Stars: Barbara Steele, Robert Flemyng, Silvano Tranquilli
The Skull (1965)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A collector comes into possession of the skull of the Marquis de Sade and learns it is possessed by an evil spirit.

Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett


Cast overview, first billed only:
Boris Karloff ... Professor John Marsh
Christopher Lee ... Morley
Mark Eden ... Robert Manning
Barbara Steele ... Lavinia Morley
Michael Gough ... Elder
Virginia Wetherell Virginia Wetherell ... Eve Morley
Rosemarie Reede Rosemarie Reede ... Esther
Derek Tansley Derek Tansley ... Judge
Michael Warren ... Chauffeur
Ron Pember Ron Pember ... Petrol Attendant
Denys Peek Denys Peek ... Peter Manning
Nicholas Head Nicholas Head ... Blacksmith
Nita Lorraine Nita Lorraine ... Woman with whip
Carol Anne Carol Anne ... 1st Virgin
Jenny Shaw Jenny Shaw ... 2nd Virgin


When his brother disappears, Robert Manning pays a visit to the remote country house he was last heard from. While his host is outwardly welcoming, and his niece more demonstrably so, Manning detects a feeling of menace in the air with the legend of Lavinia Morley, Black Witch of Greymarsh, hanging over everything. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The high priestess of evil...A monstrous fiend with an overpowering lust for blood... (theatrical poster) See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

15 April 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Crimson Cult See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In its U.S. LaserDisc edition from the 1990s, the music track of this movie was completely modified in favor of a more modern tone score. See more »


After the firemen turn on the water valves on the fire engine they take the ladder on wheels to the house. However when they cross over the hose pipes you can see that they lie flat on the ground so clearly no water is running through them. See more »


Professor John Marsh: I have a rather amusing collection you might be interested in seeing.
Robert Manning: Oh, really? What do you collect?
Professor John Marsh: Instruments of torture.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Prior to the 1970 American International release in the USA, film contained additional scenes featuring nudity and mild S&M. See more »


Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Boris Karloff (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR (Vernon Sewell, 1968) **
30 May 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This routine horror film has something of a maligned reputation (Christopher Lee himself refers to it as being "dreadful" in the accompanying interview), but the remarkable credits involved - stars Boris Karloff, Lee, Barbara Steele, Michael Gough and Rupert Davies, director Sewell and cameraman John Coquillon - and the familiar plot elements involving witchcraft make the concoction quite irresistible.

The stars are generally well cast: Karloff is given a great entrance and his character is amusingly acerbic, particularly with regards to bland leading man Mark Eden; Lee basically repeats his role - though here is given greater screen-time - from the superior black-and-white classic THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960); Steele (in another of her long line of witches!) only appears in various characters' hallucinations - but this, and the fact that she's painted green all over and saddled with a silly horned head-dress, in no way undermines her peculiar beauty and commanding presence; Gough, however, is wasted as a vaguely sinister yet dim-witted manservant; Davies, too, is underused in an all-too-typical vicar role (though his belated involvement does bring about Lee's come-uppance); Virginia Wetherell isn't bad as Lee's niece, who's unaware of his secret lifestyle (despite herself having a predilection for throwing wild parties in their mansion, giving rise to some hilariously dated grooviness!), endangers her own life by falling for Eden practically at first sight (thus incurring Lee's wrath) and even appears briefly in the nude (this was her film debut!). There's nothing remotely memorable about the film (except, maybe, some of its imagery in the scenes where Steele shows up or, rather, is manifested) and can only be seen as a major disappointment given the enormous talent on hand - though the main culprit has to be its lazy scripting, since all the stars have treaded this path too many times before!

Lee's interview about Karloff is one of his most interesting and affectionate: I was surprised to learn that he considered SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) the best of Karloff's three stabs at the role of The Creature (though I adore the film myself), but he also erroneously mentioned that Karloff and Bela Lugosi had made a film called "Pit And The Pendulum" (which the interviewer - who I assume to be Marcus Hearn - didn't correct...but, then, nor could he help Lee when the latter asked whether the Karloff vehicle in which the actor played twins was called THE BLACK ROOM [1935]!; in this regard, I have to say that I'm irked no end every time an interviewer shows up without having done any preparation about his subject!!). It's also disappointing, to us genre fans, that the great horror stars never discussed their work amongst themselves (at least, according to Lee), as it would have been awesome to know just what they felt about it - and themselves for doing such films!

The DVD quality is on a par with the two recent DD Video releases I watched - ISLAND OF TERROR (1966) and NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT (1967) - and, like the former, has been trimmed slightly for this edition! Having watched all of them now, I'm almost sorry that I didn't pick up DD Video's THE BLOOD-BEAST TERROR (1967) and THE DEVIL'S MEN (1975) as well...and even more that I didn't order their SE of THE CREEPING FLESH (1972) earlier, since I've never watched it and is now practically impossible to find in this guise - having unceremoniously gone out-of-print!!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 45 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed