Revisiting the Terminator Franchise – Part Two

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As The Terminator (1984) became a huge cult success, Arnold Schwarzenegger was making a name for himself in such Hollywood hits as Commando (1985), Predator (1987) and Total Recall (1990). By 1991, technology had caught up to the point that director James Cameron was ready for the long-awaited sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Another long-standing issue concerned certain rights issues that were in dispute with the Hemdale Film Corporation. With some persuasion from Arnold, Carolco Pictures made a bid and acquired the rights, leaving the door wide open for a return to the Terminator universe.Terminator 2 poster

Arnold Schwarzenegger would reprise his role as the T-800 Terminator. Well, a new version of his old character anyway. He would incorporate a lot more humor and would have a greatly enhanced role playing the hero this time, rather than being the villain of the piece. This T-800 is programmed to save the main characters of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her son John (Edward Furlong, Pet Semetary Two). As it turns out, the apocalyptic future was not averted and a new T-1000 Terminator (Robert Patrick, The X-Files) has been sent by the machines of 2029 back to 1991 to kill John Connor and weaken the resistance, while the resistance has sent the reprogrammed T-800 to protect him.

Terminator JD 4A decade has passed and life has not gone well for Sarah and her son. After years on the run, Sarah has become a fighter, skilled and prepared for what awaits her and her son. However, Sarah has been caught for her involvement in the events from the first film. She is considered mentally imbalanced and institutionalized while John has become a rebel, living in foster care and believing his mother is insane. But when the T-1000 arrives to kill John, the T-800 arrives to protect him. John begins to realize his mother was right all along and, after breaking her out of the hospital, the race is on to stop Skynet from becoming reality.

Whereas The Terminator was a gritty, low-budget cult film from the 80s, Terminator 2 is clearly a big-budget summer spectacular. The movie has a very glossy look and polished feel to it when compared directly to its predecessor. However, the high-tech special effects and blockbuster approach work very well as Terminator 2 was an incredibly well-crafted sequel. It incorporated logic into the plot, dealing with how Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) used the damaged CPU and right arm of the original Terminator to reverse engineer what was to become the foundation of Skynet. Essentially, the machines created the future by going back in time, one of those nasty time paradoxes so often overlooked in time travel stories.Terminator JD 2

Special effects were key to the success of Terminator 2. The T-1000 effects, the liquid alloy characteristics, were created by a combination of the new state-of-the-art CGI and old-school prosthetics from the legendary Stan Winston. The morphing effects are now common and still used in television and movies. The natural progression of Sarah Connor into a fighting and somewhat disturbed badass along with the rebellious son made perfect sense. It was also fun to have Earl Boen back as Sarah’s psychiatrist Dr. Peter Silberman and Michael Biehn in a cameo as Kyle Reese (via a hallucination of Sarah’s), which appears only in the director’s cut.

Terminator JD 3I was looking for holes in the story or weakness in the special effects upon revisiting Terminator 2. But honestly, the movie holds up incredibly well. While being a perfect continuation of the original, it stands on its own as a fun sci-fi adventure film. It was a huge success in 1991, earning multiple Academy Awards, including Best Special Visual Effects for Stan Winston’s work. It also resulted in an attraction at Universal Studios theme parks. The ride, called T2 3D: Battle Across Time, brought back all of the cast from Terminator 2 combined with actors playing the real-life characters interacting with the audience. There is a fun Cyberdyne promotional film as attendees wait to go into the theater. While Universal Hollywood has since removed the ride, it’s playing strong at Universal Orlando and well worth the time. Sure, it’s a little dated by today’s standards but it’s still a lot of fun and a little nostalgic.

After the huge success of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, fans would have to wait another 12 years for the sequel, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Tomorrow, we travel back to 2003 and see if the third film in the series holds up as well as the first two.Terminator JD 1

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Revisiting the Terminator Franchise – Part One

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The Terminator PosterSummer blockbuster season rolls on and it’s time for another revisit to a franchise with four films dating back to 1984. With a new movie set for next week, it’s time for Arnold Schwarzenegger to make good on his promise because the terminator is indeed back. But, before we see if Terminator Genisys can salvage one of the most convoluted film franchise timelines in cinematic history, let’s begin our revisit by taking a look at the original from 1984, The Terminator.

In 1984, the world was only seven years removed from a little sci-fi flick called Star Wars. The VHS home video market was still in its infancy. However, both were making a huge impact on the type of films the studios were willing to greenlight and give it a go. Director James Cameron had worked on such films as Galaxy of Terror (1981) and Escape from New York (1981) but only had two directorial credits with the short film called Xenogenesis (1978) and Piranha II: The Spawning (1981). The Terminator would be his first major film and the one that made him a name in Hollywood. However, it initially wasn’t given a chance for success. After two weeks topping the box office, the so-called experts were quickly proven wrong.

Getting the film made was like putting together a puzzle. James Cameron has listed Mad Max 2 (1981) as one of his inspirations in writing the core story, as well as various classic 1950s sci-fi films. However, technology would be a big limiting factor to what he could do in the first film. After selling the story rights to producer Gale Ann Hurd for $1 in exchange for a promise that he could direct the film, the next step was finding a study willing to give it a chance. After Orion Pictures agreed to distribute the film if he could find financing, James Cameron utilized his friend Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Near Dark) to dress up as a terminator to secure the deal with Hemdale Pictures. The puzzle was taking shape, so now it was time for the actors to bring the story to life.Terminator 1

The casting of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan the Barbarian, Predator) was key to the ultimate success of the film. Although he was originally considered for the role of Kyle Reese, it was his presence during a meeting with Cameron that earned him the role. Michael Biehn (Aliens, Tombstone) would get the role of Kyle Reese, who felt much the same way that Schwarzenegger did regarding their skeptic approach to what sounded like a forgettable flick from an unknown director. However, both would change their mind once they got to know Cameron and the cameras started to roll. With actress Linda Hamilton (Children of the Corn) rounding out the core cast as young Sarah Connor, The Terminator was ready for cinematic life.

Terminator 2The story is simple enough and is known by just about any sci-fi fan. In the year 2029, cybernetic creations are engaged in an ongoing battle with the remnants of mankind for supremacy of Earth following a nuclear holocaust. The war is brought on after an artificial intelligence called Skynet gained awareness. A Terminator T-800 Model 101 is sent by the machines to the past of 1984 to kill Sarah Connor and alter history. Sarah Connor will be the mother of a key resistance leader named John Connor. Now, in a last ditch effort to save mankind, the resistance sends Kyle Reese to stop the terminator and save Sarah Connor. A battle across Los Angeles and a race against time creates a trail of bloodshed and chaos.

What always comes to mind every time I revisit this movie is how raw and dirty it really is. It’s a very barebones adventure lacking the gloss and big budget feel that all of the subsequent sequels would offer. Yet, it remains so simple and satisfying. Stan Winston would create some great special effects at the time. While I think the cyborg sequences hold up well, the infamous close-up shot of an obviously fake Schwarzenegger head has always looked rather bad. It doesn’t ruin the film but pulls you out of the moment. Cool practical effects but greatly limited as far as looking anything close to real. However, the story and presentation are still just as gritty and just as engaging.

Arnold gives us a really good performance as a non-emotional cyborg, a rare case where his lack of acting skills plays in his favor. Its fun seeing Arnold before he would become the overblown star of countless action flicks. It’s equally entertaining to see familiar faces round out the cast. There’s Lance Henriksen as a police sergeant and Paul Winfield (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn) as a police lieutenant. You’ll see a young Bill Paxton (Aliens, Twister) as a punk and Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood, Gremlins) as a gun store clerk. Not to mention how well Biehn and Hamilton work together, it all comes together very well.Terminator 3

From the opening sounds of a great synthesized musical score to the final shot of Sarah in the desert commenting on the upcoming storm, The Terminator still entertains after more than 30 years. It made an immediate impact at the movie theaters and subsequent home video market. But it also generated a huge fan following that ensured we weren’t quite done with this universe just yet. If by some odd chance you’ve never seen The Terminator, or if you haven’t revisited it in a while, take the time to escape the heat of the summer and cool off with a classic.

Next time, journey with me back to the summer of 1991 for Terminator 2: Judgment Day!

Revisiting the Jurassic Park Franchise – Part Four

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 22 years since the original Jurassic Park. Despite the fact that it’s also been 14 years since Jurassic Park III, the audience has never left and the interest level has always remained high with the hopes that we would get to someday return to that world. Enter Jurassic World (2015) as we finally get a chance to see what the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna are up to now. But will the movie live up to all of the hype?Jurassic World poster

Before we explore what Jurassic World is all about, let’s first take a look at what could have been. The fourth movie was actually in pre-development as far back as 2001. Even as Jurassic Park III was finishing up, Steven Spielberg was working on ideas that he felt would surpass the second and third films. Rumors and denials were running rampant but the fourth film would eventually be announced for a summer 2005 release. The original idea would have picked up the theme of the dinosaurs moving off of the island and onto the Costa Rica mainland. Both Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum would have reprised their roles and even Richard Attenborough would have been back. Laura Dern was supposedly involved at one point as well. The action would have been moved out of the jungles and into the mainland, wrapping up the original series in a new and different way.

Jurassic World 1Sadly, constant delays and complications with the script prevented this version of the fourth film from ever being finished. Poor health would eventually make Richard Attenborough’s involvement impossible before his death in 2014. Author Michael Crichton would pass away in 2008 and the other actors all moved on to other projects, believing the Jurassic Park franchise to be dead. However, Steven Spielberg continued to work behind the scenes, hiring new script writers while incorporating some ideas from previous versions, as well as unused ideas from the novels. Finally, in 2013, the fourth film finally moved forward as Jurassic World began pre-production.

The movie is set 22 years after the original. Isla Nublar is now a fully operational park called Jurassic World. Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator: Salvation, Spider-Man 3) stars as the park’s operations manager Claire Dearing. She is being visited by her nephews Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) just as a new genetically engineered dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, is ready to go on display. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy), a velociraptor expert, is asked by the park’s owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Kahn) to ensure the enclosure is safe. Owen is also approached by Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio, Daredevil), the head of InGen security, with the idea to make the velociraptors work with the military. Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it? Not a surprise, things quickly get out-of-control when the Indominus Rex begins to outsmart the humans after breaking out of its enclosure. Apparently, nobody learned from the past that controlling dinosaurs is anything but easy.Jurassic World 2

Jurassic World is the most fun I’ve had with the franchise since the original. While it may lack the awe and wonder of Jurassic Park (1993), it offers up the perfect summer action adventure movie. While the dinosaurs seem to be more of the same at first, some of the final battle sequences more than make up for that. Indeed, the final battle involving the Indominus Rex may well be one of the best monster sequences on film in quite some time. And the Mosasaurus seems to already have secured it spot amongst favorite dinsosaurs.

The only returning cast member is B.D. Wong as geneticist Dr. Henry Wu, reprising his role from Jurassic Park (1993). In fact, he plays a slightly more enhanced role here and one wonders if we haven’t seen the last of him yet. And Chris Pratt secures his spot as summertime action hero, adding another franchise to his repertoire and his bank account. With brief nods to John Hammond and Dr. Ian Malcom, Jurassic World pays respect to the past while boldly moving the franchise forward. Some of the characters could have been better developed, but I think the overall plot, while a little repetitious, was more than entertaining for summertime movie watching.

Jurassic World 3Director Colin Trevorrow has weaved in a modern-day message of consumerism and today’s youth always wanting something bigger, louder and faster. Definitely something many of us older film goers can relate to. As for the musical score, Michael Giacchino gives us a fun action-oriented soundtrack that compares well to his previous work on the new Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises. Sadly, it is not as majestic as what John Williams originally offered but works well enough here.

If opening weekend is any indication, Jurassic World has reinvigorated the franchise and we’ll be getting more films in the future. While I do miss the tone of the original film, Jurassic World is clearly the second best film in the franchise. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope we can see more in the future. After all, one wonders what’s been going on at Isla Sorna, which doesn’t even get a mention here. With Chris Pratt signing on for multiple sequels, this franchise has clearly been awakened from its slumber with a hungry audience eager for more.

Revisiting the Jurassic Park Franchise – Part Three

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By 2001, Jurassic Park had moved beyond a film series based on two novels. It had become a legitimate franchise that had extended beyond the cinema. There were video games, comic books, toys and all the usual assorted movie tie-ins. And let’s not forget the incredibly fun Universal theme park rides. Jurassic Park was a marketing success across the board. So, after four years, fans of the series wanted more. However, as what usually happens with an ongoing film series, we get farther and farther away from the source material with each film. Is Jurassic Park III the proverbial “jump the shark” moment in the franchise?Jurassic Park 3

Neither Steven Spielberg nor author Michael Crichton were directly involved with Jurassic Park III, nor was musical genius John Williams. Spielberg was still on board as an executive producer but he had handed directorial reigns to Joe Johnston. Up to this point, Johnston was successful with such films as The Rocketeer and Jumanji, not to mention his passion for the franchise, so it seemed a safe bet. John Williams was unavailable but recommended Don Davis for the musical score, who incorporated some of the original score into the film alongside his own work. Sam Neill and Laura Dern reprised their roles from the first film as paleontologists Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Degler (now married with children and still carrying a torch for Alan, present here only in a small role). The stage was set for the third film.

Jurassic Park III 1As with The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the action of the film takes place on Isla Sorna. The island is now off-limits and has become a bit of a political hot bed. As our movie begins, we are introduced to young Eric Kirby (Trevor Morgan, Vampire) and another man parasailing near the island only to have their boat attacked, leaving them to land on the island. We then see Dr. Alan Grant still attempting to gain funds for his ongoing research despite being famous for the incidents of the first film. He believes the Jurassic Park creatures to be genetically engineered monsters and not true dinosaurs, refusing to talk about the events at the park or in San Diego. Alan is working with a young assistant named Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola, American Hustle) who convinces him to accept an offer from a wealthy couple to be their tour guide during a flyover of Isla Sorna. However, Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy, Mystery Men, and Tea Leoni, Madam Secretary) are hiding something and it becomes quickly apparent this is more than just a rich couple’s whim.

While it was good to have Sam Neill back in the franchise, it’s unfortunate that the script wasn’t a better one. At just 93 minutes long, it’s painfully obvious how contrived the plot is and how little we have to go with here. Even at that length, the movie tends to drag on a little. The awe and wonder so present in the first film and somewhat lacking in the second appears to be long gone here. Of course, the dinosaur sequences are exciting and we do have some very tense scenes, especially those involving the Pterandons. And the changes in the velociraptors were a sign of ongoing discoveries about these creatures from a long ago past. Yet, it all just seems to be pale in comparison to what we witnessed in the first film.Jurassic Park III 2

Jurassic Park III is definitely fun as a throwaway piece of a Saturday afternoon summer matinee time killer. It’s an easy way to get out of the heat but won’t leave you wanting to come back for more. There is too little plot and character development to leave you really caring about the people we see in peril on the screen. It really just seems like one action sequence after another. Without any emotional investment in the characters, you find yourself almost cheering for the dinosaurs.

Jurassic Park III 3Despite being commercially successful and clearly leaving the door open at end of the movie for more, Jurassic Park III would be the last chapter in the franchise for the next 14 years. Fans would continue to relive the past with the films and water rides while anxiously waiting for something new and exciting.

Next time, we wrap up our look at the Jurassic Park franchise with the newest entry, Jurassic World (2015).

Revisiting the Jurassic Park Franchise – Part Two

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The Lost World posterAfter the huge success of Jurassic Park in 1993, author Michael Crichton was pushed by both fans of the original novel and director Steven Spielberg to write a sequel. The Lost World was released in 1995 and the rights were immediately purchased by Spielberg with pre-production on the second film quickly following. Fans were hungry for more as the dinosaur craze was in full swing.

Unlike the first film, Michael Crichton was not directly involved in the screenplay process for The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). However, Steven Spielberg was back as director and John Williams once again created the musical score. There were some familiar faces amongst the cast, most notably Jeff Goldblum returning as Dr. Ian Malcolm, this time in a more expanded role. Richard Attenborough is back as John Hammond, now the former CEO of InGen, in a reduced role with Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello on screen for only cameo appearances as John’s niece and nephew Alexis and Tim. The rest of the cast are new characters as the story moves the franchise to a new island called Isla Sorna.

The movie opens four years later and we see a wealthy family spending time on a beach on Isla Sorna. A little girl is soon attacked by what initially appeared to be cute little lizards (actually carnivorous dinosaurs named Compsognathus). We soon discover that the island is actually site B to the original Isla Nublar in the original Jurassic Park. Here is where the dinosaurs were created before being relocated to the main island. The incident allowed John Hammond’s nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard, True Blood) to seize control of InGen. Isla Sorna was actually shut down after a hurricane destroyed the facilities and John hoped to let the dinosaurs roam free. John wants to document what is happening on the island to build public support in favor of InGen.LW 1

Dr. Ian Malcolm has been disgraced after the events of the first film. He wrote a paper that left his academic reputation destroyed. John reaches out to him in hopes that he’ll help but Ian initially says no. However, upon finding out that his girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore, The Hunger Games-Mockingjay parts 1 and 2), herself a paleontologist, is already on the island, he reluctantly agrees. The rest of the crew is comprised of equipment engineer Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff, Man of Steel) and cameraman Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn, Psycho, The Cell). Of course, hiding along for the ride is Ian’s daughter Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester), filling in as the wide-eyed youngster in the absence of Alexis and Tim. Of course, Peter Ludlow has other ideas as his own team of hunters and mercenaries soon arrive on the island with hopes of bringing the dinosaurs to their own theme park in San Diego. But the local Jurassic residents of Isla Sorna have their own plans and dinosaur madness quickly ensues.

LW 2The Lost World: Jurassic Park is actually a very good sequel and showed how quickly CGI technology was advancing at the time. The T-Rex and velociraptors were once again the real stars of the film, continuing to make us believe they were real. There were some questionable CGI and special effects moments, which seem to support the Spielberg’s own confession that he became frustrated and disappointed with the film as production continued. It was good to see Goldblum in a bigger role this time but I do wish we could have seen more of John Hammond. Vanessa Lee Chester did okay in her role but wasn’t as entertaining as Alexis and Tim from the original. Dinosaur action was ramped up and we had several incredibly intense scenes that attempted to rival the first film. And, of course, it’s always fun to see dinosaurs destroy modern civilization, even if the setup was a bit contrived.

John Williams would create an entirely new score for this film, only occasionally hinting at what I feel was a superior soundtrack in the first film. The majesty was somewhat missing and that really goes hand-in-hand with the entire film. It was certainly entertaining and holds up rather well. But it just can’t match the awe and wonder of the original. Nonetheless, it broke box office records at the time and became the second highest grossing film of 1997 behind a little flick called Titanic.

LW 3 The Lost World: Jurassic Park may not live up to the fun of the original but is actually a good sequel and logical follow-up despite its flaws. It’s certainly worth revisiting if for no other reason than to watch Goldblum do what he does best on screen and to see a young Vince Vaughn actually pull off an action role.

Next up, we go back to 2001 for the third chapter in the series, Jurassic Park III.

Revisiting the Jurassic Park Franchise – Part One

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Jurassic Park posterBefore we take the trip back in time to revisit the Jurassic Park universe, let me first say thank you. The last several months have been challenging with moving once again but the dust is beginning to settle. Plans for Monster Movie Kid were postponed, such as my Peter Lorre tribute month. However, as the boxes get unpacked and normality is returning, it’s time to get back on track with regular reviews. So thank you for hanging in there. Get ready as the rest of 2015 is going to be fun.

With Jurassic World opening this weekend, I decided it was appropriate to revisit the Jurassic Park franchise. It’s been quite a few years since I went back to Isla Nublar, so I unearthed the DVDs and over the next week, I’ll be looking back at the first three films and offering up my thoughts on the new fourth film.

It’s hard to believe that 22 years ago, Jurassic Park (1993) was released into the theaters. I honestly can’t remember the theatric al experience but I do remember rewatching the first two films quite a bit on VHS. From a technical standpoint, it was groundbreaking. Then state-of-the-art CGI made us believe these dinosaurs were real. The legendary Stan Winston would create fantastic animatronic creatures while director Steven Spielberg invested in DTS, a digital surround sound system that made those amazingly real dinosaur sound effects. All common place now but in 1993, it blew us away.JP 1

Jurassic Park was originally a novel by author Michael Crichton. Before the novel was even published in 1990, Steven Spielberg purchased the film rights for $1.5 million. Michael Crichton was then paid $500,000 to write the screenplay. Not too bad for a little book about extinct creatures come back to life. The story was about John Hammond (Richard Attenborough, 10 Rillington Place, Séance on a Wet Afternoon) and his bioengineering company InGen creating Jurassic Park, an amusement park full of dinosaurs located on the tropical island of Isla Nublar. After a worker is killed, the investors demand that the park be certified safe by experts.

JP 2The experts were paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill, Omen III: The Final Conflict) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern, Grizzly II: The Predator), along with mathematician and chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, Independence Day, The Fly). Along with John Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim (Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello) and the stereotypical greedy lawyer, they take the trip down the rabbit hole and tour the park. But they soon find themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature in more ways than one. With a raging storm hitting the island, a computer genius (Wayne Arnold, Seinfeld) planning to steal embryos for another company and a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the loose, the ride offers anything but amusement.

At the time, the movie was a huge hit. Courtesy of a $65 million marketing campaign with 100 companies, Jurassic Park made more than $900 million worldwide in its initial release. Thanks to a re-release in 2011 and a 3D upgrade in 2013, it has now made more than $1 billion. With the perfect recipe for success featuring a solid script, a stellar cast, amazing special effects, the music of master John Williams and the guidance of Steven Spielberg, it was an instant classic. But how does it hold up 22 years later? For me, it was still a cinematic experience. From the beautiful imagery to the melodic sounds of John Williams, it is what movie theaters were made for. Full of excitement and adventure that is held together by actors who can act and a script that is more than just explosions. Many of today’s modern day filmmakers could take a lesson or two from Jurassic Park.JP 3

I’m sure everyone has seen Jurassic Park but in the event if you haven’t or, if you’re like me, and you haven’t revisited it recently, do yourself a favor and rewatch it today. It hasn’t lost any of its appeal and is just as engaging in 2015 as it was 22 years ago. And besides, it has Samuel L. Jackson in it, the man who is in everything today. ‘Nuff said right there.

Next time, we journey back to 1997s The Lost World: Jurassic Park. How does the original sequel stand up to the test of time?

Sir Christopher Lee Has Died at the Age of 93

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“I’ve always acknowledged my debt to Hammer. I’ve always said I’m very grateful to them. They gave me this great opportunity, made me a well-known face all over the world for which I am profoundly grateful.”

– Sir Christopher Lee (1922 – 2015)

Ladies and gentlemen, the last of the true horror legends has died. Sir Christopher Lee has left us at the age of 93. I don’t think there is one monster kid out there who wasn’t preparing for this day. We all had seen images in recent years as he looked frail and could no longer travel outside of England. Yet, he never seemed to stop. The monster movie kid in me couldn’t imagine a world without at least one of the horror greats still among us. Sadly, that day has now arrived.Christopher Lee

From his earliest horror roles as the monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Count Dracula in Horror of Dracula (1958) to his role as Saruman in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), he seemed ever present in the horror community. As we lost other legends from the Universal days such as Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. so long ago, Lee brought forth a modern era of horror films, staying with the original Hammer until the lights were turned off. As his friends Vincent Price and Peter Cushing left us, Lee remained as the last legend of bygone days.

He continued to act in such recent franchise behemoths as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies as well as making his mark in the Star Wars franchise more than decade ago. With each film, we wondered how he was still able to entertain us and we relished each film appearance. He also continued to shock many with his contributions to the heavy metal universe. It seemed as if Sir Christopher Lee would live forever.

Christopher Lee quietly celebrated his 93rd birthday in the hospital last month. A life full of television and film roles behind him, shelves adorned with such honors as the BAFTA Academy Fellowship that was awarded him in 2011, he was still making movies for future generations.

In honor of his passing, I will be dedicating the month of July to the films of Christopher Lee. I had originally planned to do a mini-tribute to the master last month in honor of his 93rd birthday alongside remembering two other greats from the past, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. However, July will now be exclusively for Sir Christopher Lee.

The last chapter on an era of greatness is now closed. Rest in peace Sir Christopher Lee.