1. Name Your Poison
One of comic fantasy author Terry Pratchett’s favourite films, The Return Of Captain Invicible is an Australian genre oddity well overdue a Region 2 DVD or Blu-ray release lest it fade into total obscurity… well, even more total obscurity.
A 1983 superhero parody, two decades before superhero parodies would be big bucks, and a musical written by The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘s Richard O Brien and music by Richard Hartley, it dealt with a superhero being falsely outed as a communist by McCarthy-like watchdogs three years before Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, and his return to save the world from Christopher Lee‘s sinister Mr Midnight – all while battling alcoholism.
It’s like an all-singing, all-dancing musical Hancock, essentially, and Lee gets a few fantastic songs, the latter of which is an undeniable highlight just for his hand jiving and Gilbert & Sullivan-style patter.
2. The Bloody Verdict Of Verden
Launching his own historical heavy metal project in 2010 with the album ‘Charlemagne: By The Sword And The Cross’, the then-88-year-old chose operatic Disney metal as the ideal forum for which to explore pivotal moments in Medieval European history – needless to say, it’s pretty dreadful.
A follow-up album, ‘Charlemagne: The Omens of Death’ is due Summer 2012, and the third album tentatively lined up for 2013.
Yeah, we’re excited too.
3. Magic Of A Wizard’s Dream
At some point on his long road to Charlemange and as a direct consequence of his status in the world of leather trousers and half-painted Citadel miniatures through Lord Of The Rings, Lee wound up narrating a number of fantasy-themed heavy metal albums, but it was his relationship with silly Italian symphonic metallers Rhapsody (later renamed Rhapsody Of Fire, because it was decided their name wasn’t as daft as their music) that proved the most enduring. Lee not only narrated three albums – because apparently sword and sorcery metal needs a linking narrative – but lending his pipes to the first’s disc’s 2005 single – ‘Magic Of The Wizard’s Dream’, and a whole
Definitely a compelling spectacle for the sheer collective earnestness of the whole thing and not just for the massive Jesus Christ Superstar hair on Hobbit-sized singer Fabio Lione.
4. The Tinker Of Rye
Alas, the actual scene doesn’t seem to have been ripped to YouTube, but I wanted to cheer everyone up a bit with some quality (cinema, at least). As one of his pet-projects, Robin Hardy‘s The Wicker Man seemed like the ideal forum for his Lee’s vocal skills to finally seeing a big screen outing in 1973 – famously mocking Edward Woodward’s sanctimonious Sergeant Neil Howie through a duet with Diane Calento.
Lee’s flinty Lord Summerisle also leads that final chilling singalong on the cliff-top in front of the burning Wicker Man itself.
“Burning me won’t help your metal album sell,” Howie shrieked as the flames lept higher.
5. She’ll Fall For Me
Thanks, or blame, to @LegendarySirLee for the last one