Is The Crimson Cult (1968) a BDSM movie? Exploitation? Sadly, it’s not either. It’s a strange mystery, I guess, but it’s not horror, and barely horror-lite. Altar is the British name for the film. It stars Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Mark Eden, and Virginia Wetherell, and it was distributed by American International Pictures. This is another film that received a new title when it arrived in the USA: The Crimson Cult. It was based on the short story The Dreams in the Witch House by H. P. Lovecraft.

Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s like Boris Karloff is going to pop up at any moment. Robert Manning

The Crimson CultThe few glimpses of men in S&M gear isn’t enough, nor is Karloff’s extraordinary performance pushing to make this movie any better, though, unfortunately, he couldn’t even save it. The set is beautiful, a standard of AIP, but, again, when it’s a flop you can throw anything at it and it’s not going to change the pig wearing lipstick.

I agree with The Monthly Film Bulletin (36 (420): January 1969) “The Crimson Cult is one of the lamest and tamest horrors in a long time, with the script hobbling along like an underprivileged Agatha Christie thriller through acres of would-be sinister dialogue as the handsome hero investigates endlessly and Karloff and Christopher Lee dispense meaningful sneers.” I did continue watching it, though, expecting any minute to be wowed and was disappointed at every turn.

2 Stars

I really wish I could like this movie better just because it’s Karloff, but there’s nothing good about it besides him. For that reason, I can only give The Crimson Cult 2 out of 5 Stars.

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