The Random Box Review: Rasputin The Mad Monk

Reader, come with me if you will on a journey. It is a journey fraught with danger, bloodshed and clattering pain. You will gasp, your hand will close over your mouth in disbelief, your eyes will goggle, and as the travails continue, your brain will dissolve and seep from your ears ‘pon the shoulders of your clean shirt.

Oh misery, for sure reader. For nothing, no loss of loved one to death, no pain of heart, no paper cut ravaged by the juice of a lemon, can possibly prepare you for the horror of Christopher Lee’s ‘Revelation’

Without the whisper of a doubt, The Greatest Album Cover Of All Time

Without the whisper of a doubt, The Greatest Album Cover Of All Time

From the initial ‘F*ck Me!’ you have no doubt just uttered, it’s clear that Chris may know a thing or two about dying by the stake, but album cover design simply does not feature dans la repertoire.

But do I hear dissent?

What poise! What presence! What a cravat!

What the fu… is more like it. Yes, in 2006 Chris thought he’d attach another string to that knackered bow of his and release an album. Before we go on, I would like you to hear snippets from this musical abortion.

So click here and then come back. I’ll wait for you.

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I see from that haunted look in your eye that you have now experienced the power of ‘Revelation’. Which did you prefer? The statuesque majesty of ‘Oh What A Beautiful Morning’? The faultless cowboy ramblings of ‘High Noon’? The almost doppelganger-like Sinatra impersonations of ‘My Way’? Or the heartbreakingly melodious rendition of ‘Silent Night’?

Perhaps what’s impressed you is the fact that not once, not a single time, did Chris hit a correct note. You may laugh, but it is a feat of such bravado and skill that most pop stars a seventh his age have not the courage to attempt it.

But this is Lee. A law unto himself. A towering, magnificent ‘actor’s actor’. A man born of ‘musically talented forbears’. A man ‘genetically predetermined’ to be the holder of that magnificent singing voice. These are not my words. They are the words of Lee himself in the final track of the album, a 22 minute ode to himself entitled ‘Behind The Music’. Perhaps ‘Music From The Behind’ would have been more appropriate?

You may wonder what this has to do with Rasputin The Mad Monk, other than the obvious fact that Lee stars in the film. I’ll explain.

Christopher Lee, you see, regards himself with a level of esteem that most subjects don’t even have for their monarch. To say that he is up himself is an insult to enema technicians. He is so far up himself that the ‘shunt’ scene from the Billy Warlock horror film ‘Society’ was written in direct tribute to him.

And why does he feel this way about himself? Which feats of acting brilliance has he bestowed upon us throughout the ages? Dracula. Scaramanga. Lord Summerisle. Saruman. And these, these, are the best examples of his work.

Christopher Lee, I am afraid, is a ham. So when he tries to convince us of his genetically predisposed talent, or bangs on about how he’s the authority on The Hobbit because he once met Tolkien, or releases an album, the experience of which is akin to being locked in purgatory with your randy grandmother, you can quite easily give a merry ‘ha ha’ to his acid-bath features.

Or, if you want to make the old wallet shudder, throw the word ‘Rasputin’ at him.

Russia's Greatest Love Machiine

Russia's Greatest Love Machine

Yes, Rasputin The Mad Monk, in which Lee plays the Russian nutter himself, replete with bad wig, booming voice and ‘starey’ eyes. You’ll be amazed at the amount of staring done in the film. He mainly stares at ladies, before disrobing them and smothering their lady parts with his acrylic wig, but just to be fair, he throws a few stares manward too. He is an imposing presence, I give him that, but only because he’s dresses like the long lost Kenobi brother, whilst everyone else seems to have been sacked from Deep Throat 2.

Title

So we start with the title sequence, which you can see from the picture, isn’t exactly what you’d call inspired. You’d better get used to that red curtain and attractive golden ‘The Price Is Right’ tiebacks because for some inexplicable reason, you’re going to be watching them throughout the entire sequence.

We open on a boisterous country pub in rural Russia, in which an air of gloom pervades. It seems that the landlord’s wife is very ill, and the doctor doesn’t hold out much hope. Everyone hangs their head and mopes, that is until Rasputin bursts through the door demanding some booze. But the innkeeper isn’t presiding over the bar. He’s upstairs holding the hand of his dying wife. Who will work the optics?

So Rasputin bursts upstairs into their bedroom and sucks the woman’s fever out through his hands or something, then demands some booze, which the innkeeper is only too happy to give him. It just so happens that the innkeeper’s daughter is rather fetching too, and soon a celebratory party is in full swing downstairs. DzlItem711

Oh how Rasputin likes to dance. He’s literally all over the shop, moving with such flourish that soon the innkeeper’s daughter has decided that she is going to do some sexy time with the beardy tosser, who by this point is beginning to remind you of an even more annoying version of Brian Blessed, if such a thing can be envisaged.

But horror! In walks the boyfriend of said maiden, who we will call Chesney for some reason. Chesney isn’t happy that his beloved is dancing in such a way with Blessed, and resolves to ‘show him some real dancing’. It seems though, that he’s too late. Rasputin and the girl have snuck out and are currently rolling in the hay barn. Chesney follows them out and a fight ensues in which Chesney loses his hand.

So now Rasputin is chucked out of the monastery and goes to St Petersburg, where he proceeds to get drunk and dance again. Ah, the monk’s life for me, reader!

One night he’s dancing after getting arseholed in a drinking contest, and he sees the Tsarina’s lady-in-waiting laughing. She’s actually laughing because she choked on some vodka (oh, the hilarity) but he assumes that she’s laughing at his dancing, which frankly I would have been if I was her.

So he stares at the poor woman and tells her that she will come to him and apologize, which amazingly she does the next day. Not only that, but he somehow manages to take off her clothes and perform some sex on her without removing a single one of his garments. What magic these monks do possess…

He then proceeds to hypnotize her into causing an accident involving the Tsarina’s young son, which allows him to infiltrate the royal household, and so begins his play for power.

Unfortunately, this film isn’t in the public domain, so I can’t give you a link to watch it.

"You will buy my new album.... now get your niffs out..."

"You will buy my new album.... now get your niffs out..."

Never mind, it’s quite the shodfest. Hammer undoubtedly made some great films, but this isn’t one of them. Christopher Lee hams it up a treat with his big booming voice and his shatnificent beard, but the whole thing is rather humourless, and struggles for the most part to make coherent sense. What actually is an unbelievably dark and bizarre true story is boiled down to Chris staring a lot and shouting at ladies.

When they finally put an end to Rasputin again and again (and again), you actually find yourself glad that the whole thing’s coming to an end. In fact I’d go so far as to say that this is the dullest venture I’ve seen wearing the Hammer brand since Addams Family Rap.

But don’t worry, if it’s laughs you’re after, I refer you to a little known 2006 album called ‘Revelation’. Altogether now: “to lay before the king, barr-up-a-bum-bahhhhhhhhhhhhh!’

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3 Comments

Filed under DVDs, Features, Films

3 responses to “The Random Box Review: Rasputin The Mad Monk

  1. Steven Wright

    Bloody splendid review! That album is sheer comedy genius, im almost tempted to buy it.

  2. Pingback: The Random Box Review – Supergirl « Electro Candy

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