R.I.P. Ingrid Pitt

VampireLovers_IngridPittThe 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).

As Queen Galleria in DOCTOR WHO (with Roger Delgado)
As Queen Galleria in DOCTOR WHO (with Roger Delgado)

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.
Ingrid Pitt vampire Ingrid Pitt with cat Clint Eastwood, Ingrid Pitt in WHERE EAGLES DARE Ingrid Pitt in "The Cloak" episode of THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD

My Soul to Take: Cinefantastique Podcast 1:35

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Writer-director Wes Craven returns to the horror genre with MY SOUL TO TAKE, and the Cinefantastique Podcast is there to examine the results. Join Dan Persons, Lawrence French, and Steve Biodrowski as the delve deeply into the terrors of the Riverton Ripper, whose soul may have returned in the body of one of the 7 children born on the night of the police gunned down the killer. Also, a fond farewell to director Roy Ward Baker, who helmed such cult and classic films as QUATERMAS AND THE PIT (aka 5 MILLION YEARS TO EARTH), THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, and ASYLUM.


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RIP Roy Ward Baker – Genre Director

Roy_Ward_BakerRoy Ward Baker, UK film director best known to genre fans for his Horror and Science Fiction films for  Hammer Studios, passed away Tuesday October 5th, 2010.
With a long career in the British film industry, beginning as a ‘tea boy’ or ‘gofer’ at Gainsbourgh Studios, Baker’s first film was THE OCTOBER MAN, a murder mystery starring John Mills as an amnesiac suspect.
His best remembered work is likely A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958), a very well-received version of the sinking of the Titanic.
Roy Baker (as he was sometimes billed) moved into television, directing episodes of THE AVENGERS and THE SAINT. THE FICTION MAKERS (1968)  was made into a feature film from two of Baker’s episodes of  the Roger Moore series, an amusing caper film that spoofed the Bond movies. THE CHAMPIONS, MY PARTNER THE GHOST (Randal and Hopkirk, Deceased) and DEPARTMENT S were among his TV genre credits.

FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH
FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH

In 1967, he directed FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH (aka Quatermass and The Pit), based on Nigel Kneale’s SF/Horror multi-part television play. This is one of the true classics of the genre, made by Hammer Films.
His next SF picture for Hammer was the “space western” MOON ZERO TWO (1969), which featured Catherine Schell (SPACE: 1999).
He then directed the horror films THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, SCARS OF DRACULA, and DOCTOR JEKYLL & SISTER HYDE for the British studio.
For their rivals Amicus, he helmed the horror Anthologies ASYLUM,  THE VAULT OF HORROR, and the gothic feature AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS.
Back with Hammer, he directed the English language scenes of THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974, aka The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula), the studio’s last-ditch effort to continue their Dracula series by mixing it with Hong-Kong style Kung Fu action. This was Peter Cushing’s last performance as a Van Helsing.
Cushing & Mills in THE MASKS OF DEATH
Cushing & Mills in THE MASKS OF DEATH

In 1984 he would work with Cushing and Sir John Mills as Holmes and Watson in THE MASKS OF DEATH (aka Sherlock Holmes and The Masks of Death) for Tyburn Films, with  several other ex-Hammer individuals such as Anthony Hinds also involved. It was released as a theatrical film in a few areas, but as a TV movie in others.
He continued to work in television into the 1990’s.