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FILM by Shane “Where’s My Pumpkin Carving Kit?” Hnetka

It’s a little early to start talking about it, but this year’s 31 Days of Horror, which starts Oct. 1 on Prairie Dog’s blog, will be about Hammer Films. Legendary actor Christopher Lee was a major part of the British studio’s success.

THE CURTAIN CLOSES ON A LEGEND

Christopher Lee passed away at the age of 93 on June 7. According to IMDb he starred in over 278 films and TV shows. Lee played the villain in such classics as Curse of Frankenstein (he played the monster), Horror of Dracula (the count himself), The Mummy (the mummy), Warner Brothers’ Fu Manchu series (Fu Manchu) and The Man with the Golden Gun (assassin Francisco Scaramanga). More recently, of course, he played Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus in the Star Wars prequels (he was the only good thing in them), and Saruman the White in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies.

I enjoyed his performances in The Wicker Man (the original 1973 version where he played Lord Summerisle) and as the devious Comte de Rochefort in Richard Lester’s Three and Four Musketeers. But my favourite role was the 1968 Hammer adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out where Lee played the occult adventure hero Duc de Richleau fighting against the forces of darkness. Lee added class to many a trashy Hollywood film, and his presence will be missed.

THE INTERNATIONAL CINEMA GETS A LITTLE SMALLER

On July 10th a new movie from India, Baahubali: The Beginning, will be opening not just in theatres in that country, but across Canada too. In fact, it will be playing in Regina and Saskatoon at Rainbow Cinemas. Halifax, Vancouver and Winnipeg will also be showing the movie.

Baahubali: The Beginning is advertised as India’s biggest movie ever. What does that mean?  Well, it’s the biggest budgeted production ever made there. The movie is about two brothers who fight over a kingdom in ancient India. Judging by the trailer, the movie looks impressive, with lots of massive battles and very cool sets. The movie will be subtitled, but it’s neat that it’s opening here at the same time as in India. It’s nice to see other countries trying to take on Hollywood at their own game.

Shane Hnetka is a Regina film and comic book nerd. He also writes Dog Blog’s weekly “Sunday Matinee” column at prairiedogmag.com.

2015-06-25