The Crimson Cult
©1968 Tigon British Film Productions


Genre: Horror

Rating: PG

Also known as:
The Crimson Altar
Curse of the Crimson Altar
Curse of the Crimson Cult
The Reincarnation
Spirit of the Dead
Witch House

The movie opens with antique collector Peter Manning (Denys Peek) taking part in a satanic ritual. When Peter disappears, his brother Robert (Mark Eden) travels to the small town of Greymarsh to find him. Visiting Craxted Lodge, where Peter was staying, Robert meets J. D. Morley (Christopher Lee) and his lovely niece Eve (Virginia Wetherell) but neither of them has ever heard of Peter. That evening, Robert meets Prof. John Marshe (Boris Karloff), who tells him the legend of Lavinia Morley (Barbara Steele), who was burned as a witch in 1652 and cursed the townsfolk and all their descendants. As he sleeps, Robert has a strange dream of a satanic ritual in which Lavinia tries to get him to sign a book but he resists Lavinia and awakes in his bed. The next day, Robert is almost 'accidentally' killed by Prof. Marshe's chauffeur (Michael Warren). Robert makes inquiries about Peter in town but has no luck until he realizes that Peter was using an assumed name. Returning to his room, Robert finds Morley's strange servant Elder (Michael Gough), who tells him his brother is dead. Again, Robert dreams of Lavinia and, again, he resists her attempts to force him to sign a book. However, this time he wakes up walking in the woods with a nasty cut on his arm. Back at the lodge, Eve takes care of Robert's wound and they end up in bed together. Returning to his own room, Robert finds a secret passage leading to an abandoned attic that matches the room in his dream. When Robert tells Prof. Marshe about his dream, Marshe tells him that he and Peter are the direct descendants of Lavinia's chief accuser. Robert shows Eve the secret attic and they discover the book from Robert's dream and Elder's dead body. While Eve learns from the local Vicar (Rupert Davies) that all the names in the book are descendants of Lavinia's accusers, Robert fetches the police. Unfortunately, Eve's uncle has discovered what they're up to and, when Eve returns to the lodge first, her uncle hypnotizes her and prepares to sacrifice her for betraying Lavinia. Robert arrives to rescue Eve but is captured by the deranged Morley. Fortunately, Prof. Marshe and his chauffeur show up to save them and Marshe explains how Morley hypnotized Robert to induce his dreams and exact revenge for Lavinia's death. As Craxted Lodge burns to the ground, Morley stands on the roof, transforming into Lavinia before disappearing into the flames.

Type of mind control: Hypnosis

Mind control scenes:
There is a brief scene in the first half of the movie where Elder is staring into a spinning lamp as Lavinia gives him instructions but most of the mind control doesn't happen until the second half of the movie. Robert's dreams and his walking through the woods with the cut on his arm are products of mind control but we don't learn this until the end of the movie. The most obvious mind control scenes occur at the end of the movie when Morley hypnotizes Eve with his spinning lamp and tries to sacrifice her.

Subjective Rating: 3 out of 5
The scenes with Eve hypnotized at the end of the movie are good but occur far too late and don't really involved much control beyond having her lay still as her uncle prepares to sacrifice her. The dreams that Morley causes Robert to have are well portrayed but it's not obvious that they are mind control until much later on. More mind control earlier in the movie and more obvious mind control would have made this a much better movie.

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