Also known as: Rasputin (Spain)
Release Date: March 6th, 1966 (UK)
Directed by: Don Sharp
Written by: Anthony Hinds
Music by: Don Banks
Cast: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Francis Matthews, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer, Joss Ackland
Seven Arts Productions, Hammer Films, 91 Minutes
“When I go to confession I don’t offer God small sins, petty squabbles, jealousies… I offer him sins worth forgiving!” – Grigori Rasputin
This might not be Christopher Lee’s best film but it is certainly one of his greatest performances of all-time and the greatest out of all the Hammer Films pictures he starred in.
The movie is a very loose biopic about Grigori Rasputin, a man whose legend has grown well beyond reality. Still, the guy was damn interesting and gained control over some powerful, influential people.
Also, his death is pretty legendary but I’m not going to rehash all the details about the man and his death. Go to Wikipedia for that, if you’re unfamiliar with it.
This film doesn’t cover Rasputin’s whole life, it just covers the end of it. It essentially starts with some character building and context to setup who he is and then immediately gets into how he “mesmerized” an influential Russian family, causing some serious harm to the people trapped in the gravitational pull of his orbit.
The film also eventually gets to his death. However, being that this was a superb picture for Hammer, I’m actually kind of shocked that they didn’t find a way to resurrect the madman for a series of sequels that would be a lot more horror heavy. It definitely feels like it was a missed opportunity. Plus, I would’ve liked to have seen what a director like Terence Fisher could’ve done had he gotten a crack at the Hammer version of the Rasputin character.
This is well acted and honestly, it really stands out in that regard, compared to other Hammer movies of the time.
Rasputin: The Mad Monk is one of the best motion pictures that Hammer ever made and I feel like it’s sort of been forgotten, as people tend to gravitate more towards the films that feature Dracula, Frankenstein and vampires in general.
Pairs well with: other Hammer horror films with Christopher Lee.