The film that Cinefantastique founder Fred Clarke called, “The CITIZEN KANE of horror,” is back, newly remastered and in an edition that its director has dubbed the “final cut.” In THE WICKER MAN, a devoutly religious Scottish policeman (Edward Woodward) travels to an island-bound agricultural community to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. What he finds is a society reverted back to its pagan traditions, a challenge to his faith via the island’s lord (Christopher Lee), temptation in the form Britt Ekland, and a mystery that suggests the missing child may have fallen victim to the island’s curdled superstitions.
Happy to commemorate the impending rediscovery of a horror classic, Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons welcome theofantastique.com‘s John Morehead in a discussion that examines the film in the context of the time it was made, weighs its impact now, and explores the tortured distribution history that’s led to confusion about what cut could be deemed the official one. Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
The BBC announced that horror movie icon Ingrid Pitt passed away today. She was 73.
Born Ingoushka Petrov in 1937 Poland, Ingrid Pitt would survive the German occupation and internment in a concentration camp. Fluent in several languages, she appeared in both Spanish films and American television (IRONSIDE) before landing an attention-getting role with stars Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton in WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968).
That high-profile WWII action film would help lead to her winning the part of Marcilla/Carmilla, actually the revived and passionate vampire Mircalla Karnstein in Hammer Studios THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970). Based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s story Carmilla , this film (directed by the recently deceased Roy Ward Baker See Obit) would push the boundaries of Hammer’s vampires over the edge of subtle hints of the erotic, into a frank and direct exploitation of the material. This new territoty would feature nudity and a blood-sucker interested in both men and women —mostly fetching, full-bosomed women .
Ingrid Pitt would show vampiric tendencies, literal and figurative, in COUNTESS DRACULA and Amicus’ THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (both 1971), making her a favorite among horror movie fans. She also did television and voice-over work.
Other genre roles included THE OMEGANS, THE WICKER MAN (1973), TRANSMUTATIONS (1986), as well as two DOCTOR WHO serials The Time Monster (1972) and Warriors of the Deep (1984).
In recent years, Ingrid Pitt met many fans at various conventions, eager to compliment her on her work, and as being a fondly remembered part of their youth.
Mike McCarthy has had the good sense to choose dates for The Bram Stoker International Film Festival – from the 14th to the 17th of October – that will not clash with the other horror film festivals – not that it matters to me, because I’d be going to this one anyway! Last year I could not speak highly enough of Whitby’s very own horror festival, and looking at the things they have in store, this year is set to be even bigger and better!
There’ll be a world first Hammer Horror Exhibition, which will be attended by Hammer Horror historian Marcus Hearn. For those who were disappointed with Queen of Horror, Ingrid Pitt’s no-show last year (we can forgive her – she was unwell), Countess Dracula will be
there this year, as will English Actress Caroline Munro. The exhibition will give an insight into the Hammer Films legacy, with rare footage, original posters, unseen photos, prints, and artwork, scripts, letters, and most excitingly, upcoming Hammer films before they go out on general release.
Many of the films showing this year will be introduced by their directors and producers, and once again, the festival has a diverse line-up from all over the world, with many having their world or UK premieres at the festival.
The Saturday night will be a real doozy – with an amazing Vampire Ball planned, an opportunity for us all to dust off our favourite cloaks and revel in an evening of entertainment which includes a special rendition from the Millennium Choir.
Most interesting for me is the opportunity to see a fellow screenwriter — Frank Henenlotter will be taking questions from the audience about his films, which include Basket Case and Brain Damage.
As if all of this wasn’t enough the festival will have a special Steampunk Exhibition, stands, traders, special effects, and even its own award ceremony.
I’ll bring further updates in the coming months, but more information can always be found at http://www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com/