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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 »

Director:

Vernon Sewell

Writers:

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

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Crimson Cult See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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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!!


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