Usually, when someone famous dies, or an event happens that the world knows about, I don’t say much. There are so many people out there who are far more articulate than I am, so I leave it to them.
Christopher Lee’s death isn’t one I can stay quiet on. I’ve always loved him as an actor, and when I found out he’d passed away, all I could do was cry and say “no” a lot. I loved Christopher Lee. He was a fascinating person, and he was always so good in his movies. His appearance, presence, voice, and acting skills blew so many other actors away. People like to say “They don’t make them like they used to” about items, but as far as actors go, it’s much the same way. Today’s generation of actors lack that presence that Lee had.
But the movie I remember him from isn’t one he gets a lot of credit for. And the funny thing? Most people have seen it. It tends to be that kids movie that scared the bejeesus out of you when you were small.
An animated movie, released in 1982, and based off a wonderful book of the same name by Peter S Beagle, most people thought it would be a wonderful kid’s film.
It’s actually scary as all hell. The Red Bull alone will give you nightmares, if you’re not careful.
The movie itself if beautifully done, with animation by Topcraft, which eventually became Studio Ghibli (Princess Mononoke, Grave of Fireflies, Arietty. etc). But the voice cast? Even better.
Christopher Lee was the voice of King Haggard in The Last Unicorn. Haggard is the villian, a man that finds happiness in nothing, except the sea. His castle, his son Lir, his magician Mabruk, nothing makes him happy but the sea.
Lee is perfect as Haggard. His voice is perfect, the right sort of commanding and craggy, but also sounds like a man guarding his secrets. Don’t believe me, watch this clip.
Perfect, right? This was my introduction, as a small child (3-4 years old), to Christopher Lee. I don’t think I saw him in anything else that made an impression until I saw him as Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, and I think that was largely because he played a man with 3 nipples.
I’m going to miss Christopher Lee and his amazing voice and presence. I’m worried that his death, and that of Leonard Nimoy’s, will usher in an era when the truly great actors start passing away. I really hope that’s not the case.