Five movies that feature the Knights Templar

Some of these movies you may not have heard of – and others you might have wanted to forget! But I’ve unearthed some great popcorn chomping fun that feature the Knights Templar – so here goes!

1. The Minion (1998)

One of several spooky movies timed for the dawn of the new millennium. It’s Christmas Eve 1999 and a New York subway construction crew digs up an ancient skeleton plus a mysterious key. Whatever that key opens can only spell trouble! And it surely does. Along comes archaeologist Karen Goodleaf who unleashes The Minion – a diabolical creature that tries to possess her. But then….up pops a Knight Templar to rescue the damsel in distress. Why it’s none other than Dolph Lundgren, 80s acting hunk playing a knight called Lukas…

2. Blood of the Templars (2004)

You’re a teenager brought up by a monk because you never knew who your parents were – and one night at a party, you have a fight. And amazingly, you win the fight because….you discover your superhuman powers. Well, you’re at least a lot stronger then the college bully. Next thing you know, the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion are in touch asking if you can help find the Holy Grail.

3. The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar (2006)

This movie is in Danish but you’ve all watched a Scandinavian cop series by now so you can cope with the subtitles. Another teenage boy goes on a quest to find out more about the Knights Templar – and even learns Latin to help him on his way. But he doesn’t bank on the danger in store…

4. Night of the Templar (2012)

This movie is so trashy, it demands to be watched. Classic shlock horror. Templar knight is killed by a band of baddies centuries ago. But he vows to return after ten generations have passed to slaughter his murderers’ descendants. And that’s basically what he does…

5. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972)

Cheesy horror movies were all the rage in the 1970s. This one is about some Knights Templar – executed for devil worship – who come to life at night to rape and murder. Needless to say some hapless modern day travellers chance across their path with unfortunate results.

Do you have any favourite Knights Templar movies?

Newport Tower – Rhode Island – Templar or not?

Approximate route of the voyage of Giovanni da...
Approximate route of the voyage of Giovanni da Verrazano in North America in 1524. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’ve nailed my colours to the mast in previous posts and said – nope, I don’t believe this was built by the Templars.  I do subscribe to the view that it was a mill and closely resembles a similar structure in England.  However – what do I know?  Precious little if Steven Sora is to be believed.  On his website here you will find his knockout argument that the tower shows up on a sixteenth century map by the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano.

Verrazano was sent on a mission by the French king Francis I who had watched Spain and Portugal hog the New World for a while and was now determined to tear a chunk off for himself.  The Italian was commissioned to explore the north American coastline and if possible, find a way through to the wide ocean that lay beyond, the Pacific.  Nobody had any idea how wide and vast north America was at this stage.  Verrazano stalked the coast from the Carolinas upwards mooring at what would eventually become New York and mistaking the Hudson estuary for a lake.  Well, give him a break – Florida was believed to be an island by Spanish explorers early on – easy mistake.

He sailed on to Narragansett Bay near Long Island and met some of the native Americans.  This is where people get very excited because on his map there is a place described as “Norman Villa”.   Aha!  So, there was a Norman villa there – say the supporters of the Templar theory.  Hmmm…there’s another way of looking at this.  Like all explorers working for a particular monarch, they went round naming places after towns back home.  It was like leaving your scent behind – or more accurately, staking a claim for the motherland.  So New York was named Angouleme after a town in France.  When the Dutch came later, it would be called New Amsterdam.  When the English booted them out, it would be renamed New York.

“Ville” is a town.  Plenty of “villes” in France if you look at a map.  Normandy is part of France.  You get where I am going?  I think Verrazano was just littering the coastline with French place names.  Look at a map of Africa from the same time and you’ll see the Portuguese coated the coast from Morocco round to Ethiopia with the names of Portuguese towns and villages – even if they hadn’t occupied all these place names with actual people.

So I’m afraid I’m with this guy here who says bunkum.  Convince me otherwise.

Shriners – the fez wearing Freemasons

Logo of the Shriners of North America
Logo of the Shriners of North America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always associated the Shriners with Laurel and Hardy in the movie where they have to go to a convention and they’re both wearing a fez.  That might have been a Shriner convention because that’s the required headwear for this society within the Freemason order.  With nearly half a million members in the United States, they are little known outside the US and, correct if I’m wrong, claim a kind of bond/link/influence from the Knights Templar.

Founded in the 1870s by two Freemasons who were watching some kind of theatrical Arabesque in New York after a masonic gathering at the Knickerbocker Cottage (a favourite Masonic haunt of the time) and decided to form an exotic sounding organisation called the Ancient Arabian Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (AAONMS – not the catchiest acronym ever).  Members are allocated to Shrine Centers – or Temples – and engage in a distinct set of rituals which includes using the Arabic greeting for ‘hello’ to each other.

As an accepted society within the Masons, you have to be a fully fledged Freemason – and a Master Mason at that – to be able to join.  It’s not possible to be a Shriner and not a Mason.  This is like a subset within the Masons – not a venn diagram overlap.  Officers within the Shriners are called a ‘Divan’ and the top dog is called a ‘Potentate’ assisted by a ‘Chief Rabban’.

As I say, they’re completely invisible on the European side of the Atlantic but in north America, expect to see them on parades in dinky cars and replete with the fez when they meet for their Imperial Council Session.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children have a budget of over three quarters of a billion dollars and were originally set up during the polio epidemics of the early twentieth century.  They now cater for a range of childhood disorders.

There is no real link to the Knights Templar of old but through the Masons, a link to the existing Knights Templar of the Masonic variety.