“When I go to confession I don’t offer God small sins, petty squabbles, jealousies… I offer him sins worth forgiving!” Sin big to make your confessions worthwhile. It’s a thing. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as they journey back to the world of early 20th-century Russia in Hammer’s Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966), featuring the incomparable Christopher Lee in the title role.
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 105 – Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
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Thrown out of his monastery for licentious and drunken behavior, Rasputin travels to St Petersburg to try his luck. Through a dalliance with one of the czarina’s ladies in waiting he soon gains influence at court with his powers of healing and of hypnotism. But he also makes enemies who wish to see him dead.IMDb
- Director: Don Sharp
- Writer: Anthony Hinds (as John Elder)
- Music: Don Banks
- Cinematographer: Michael Reed
- Production Designer: Bernard Robinson
- Makeup: Roy Ashton
- Wardrobe: Rosemary Burrows
- Selected Cast:
- Christopher Lee as Grigori Rasputin
- Barbara Shelley as Sonia
- Richard Pasco as Dr Boris Zargo
- Francis Matthews as Ivan
- Suzan Farmer as Vanessa
- Dinsdale Landen as Peter
- Renée Asherson as Tsarina
- Derek Francis as Innkeeper
- John Welsh as The Abbot
- Joss Ackland as The Bishop
- Robert Duncan as Tsarevitch
- Alan Tilvern as Patron
- Bryan Marshall as Vassily
- Brian Wilde as Vassily’s Father
- Bartlett Mullins as Waggoner (uncredited)
- Michael Ripper as Waggoner (voice of)(uncredited)
Rasputin: The Mad Monk is Daphne’s pick; it seems she wanted more Barbara Shelley after the Classic Era Grue Crew discussed Quatermass and the Pit (1965) in episode 93. She loves Shelley’s and Lee’s performances and she revels in the total “Hammer-ness” of the film which showcases Bernard Robinson’s production design and Rosemary Burrows’ costumes. Chad points out some of the historical discrepancies between Rasputin: The Mad Monk and the actual life of Grigori Rasputin. He also describes Lee’s performance as commanding the movie with a power that draws you in, labeling Rasputin one of his favorite Lee characters. Lee’s performance is also what captures Whitney’s attention. She’s especially impressed with his versatility in playing this hypnotic and malevolent character. Jeff’s on board with the Lee fanatics saying he can’t take his eyes off Lee’s forceful, hypnotic portrayal and adding that he loved the rest of the cast, the sets, and the wardrobe.
As of this writing, Rasputin: The Mad Monk is available to stream on the Classic Horror Movie Channel and as physical media on a Blu-ray disc from Shout! Factory.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next on their very flexible schedule is one chosen by Whitney, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957). Oh yeah!
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