ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Ingrid Pitt - A Tribute
By James Whittington, Tuesday 7th December 2010

Countess Dracula DVD CoverIngrid Pitt was one of the great horror movie legends and when she passed away just a few weeks ago the movie industry lost an irreplaceable icon. We had the pleasure of interviewing this wonderful lady in 2006 and that piece is reproduced here as a small tribute to her and the cinematic legacy she left behind. Ingrid talked about her early life, how she got to work for Hammer and gave advice for young actors wanting to break into the business.

HC: Many film fans associate you with the horror genre but few may know that you actually experienced real life horror at a very early age as you were detained in a Nazi Concentration camp. Do you think these events shaped your personality, made you a stronger person?

IP: Everything that happens in your life has a bearing on how you end up. Especially in your childhood. So I guess it has.

HC: How did you get into the movie industry and what were your first impressions of the Hollywood system?

IP: I was at a bull fight in Spain. I was sitting close to the barrier and when I saw the poor bull being mutilated I got into a bit of a state and a photographer took my picture. Ana Mariscol, a Spanish director, saw it on the front page of EL Pais and gave me a part in Los Duendes de Andalucia as a drunken American in love with a bull fighter. I had done a lot of stage work in the US but couldn't speak a word of Castelleno. I soon learned. First impressions of Hollywood. Not Good! But that was my fault because I was so stupid.

HC: How did you get involved with Hammer and Amicus Productions?

IP: I had just finished Where Eagles Dare and was having my dib at being a Premiere Queen. Going to all the Premieres, getting photographed and telling everyone how inundated I was with work offers. At the after show party for the premiere of Alfred The Great I sat next to James Carreras, boss of Hammer. I didn't know who he was but I gave him the treatment. He asked me to come to his office - he might have a couple of jobs for me. I'd heard that ploy before but in reality I hadn't anything on the hob so I went. And was totally surprised when I walked out of the door with Vampire Lovers a quarter of an hour later.

HC: The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula and The Wicker Man are considered as classics of the genre, did you think at the time that these movies would become so revered?

IP: I don't think you think like that at the time. It's a job of work. You get paid and get back in line and wait for another part. I'm grateful to the cinema fans who have kept all three in the public eye. It helps out in my old age.

HC: Is there one movie or performance that you are particularly proud of?

IP: Proud? I don't think so. My movie career has been much like the rest of my life. Someone offers me something, I do it and then do other things until something else pops up. I'm lucky. I have a stable home life, have found out that people like what I write so I try to push out a book a year when I'm able and get just enough cameo parts in films to keep it interesting.

HC: Have you ever had any reservations about nudity in your films?

IP: None whatsoever. And I don't plead the caveat that I have done it because it was essential to the films' integrity. I just like getting my kit off. As Confucius should have said. "If you've got it, flaunt it!"

HC: Were you nervous working alongside actors such as Clint Eastwood, Peter Cushing, and Jon Pertwee?

IP: It's nerve making enough just shooting a film. I don't think I had any nerves left over for my co-stars. But I was very appreciative. I suppose the three actors who made the greatest impression were Clint Eastwood, Alec Guinness and Richard Burton. For very different reasons. Clint is the consummate professional. When he's working on a film he is totally dedicated to every aspect of it. Alec Guinness was also dedicated but only to what ended up on the screen. He was selfless and didn't mind if he wasn't in shot as long as it was good for the work as a whole. And that is saying something for a leading actor. And Richard Burton? I found it desperately sad that an actor of his talent hadn't sufficient control of himself to stop drinking.

HC: You have appeared in many television programs, do you prefer this medium to movies?

IP: Not that many that I could give a considered answer. I suppose film work usually pays better and is less hectic. In TV I have usually played guest stars. Very flattering but usually, in a series, just furniture for the lead actors to bounce off. One of my favourite TV parts was as the bitchy film star in The Zoo Gang. Well it was the South of France and I did have some lovely actors in support.

HC: You have become (like it or not) a cinema icon, is this label hard to live with?

IP: I don't live with it. And if you read the Hammer website forum you will soon be informed that I don't merit the accolade. I guess that is why I no longer have Ingrid Pitt - Icon on my calling cards.

HC: Did being associated with horror movies ever hinder your career or do you think it helped it?

IP: I don't think it hindered it. It didn't help my career that I married and then divorced a top executive at Rank. I couldn't get work in this country because my husband warned producers that if they had me in a film it wouldn't get shown. I don't blame them for taking the warning to heart. I went and lived in Argentina for a few years and came back after he died. But the boat was over the horizon by then.

HC: You say that you like playing “baddies” in movies, why is this? Do they always get the best lines?

IP: The best lines - usually. But you definitely get remembered. It was something new in film when I came along. Before that women were usually there to fuel the male testosterone. I was extremely lucky to be on the cusp of a new wave. Remember the Modesty Blaize movie? It came out in 1966 and was fractionally before its time. It kicked off too early. The audience wasn't prepared for a ballsy woman. I'm amazed no producers have tried another shot at it now. I think it might be a winner.

HC: Tell us about your time with a tribe of Indians in Colorado.

IP: My transition period! I had been working the American cow towns with the Pasadena Playhouse. My first husband, a US Marine Major at the time, had gone off to Viet Nam - again. I had a baby daughter and an old Oldsmobile and the clothes I lolled around in. And I was mad that my husband had decided to go off and fight an unpopular war. When the touring company ran out of money I did a bunk. Driving north, with the little money I had running out, I was desperate when I got a puncture. Luckily it was near a little Indian village that sold worn out tyres at the road side. They realised how desperate I was and insisted that I stayed over until I was feeling better. I finished up staying for about a month. They were fabulous. They had practically nothing but what they got from the government, and that went to the liquor store as soon as it arrived, but they looked after us as if they had loads of cash and we were visiting royalty. It's a wonderful memory. But it was finally time to leave and I went on my journey which would finally deposit me in Madrid.

HC: What advice would you give to young actresses just starting their careers? Were there any mistakes you made and people could learn from?

IP: Learn to type. Go to an acting school. The business has changed now and it is harder to break into unless you've a drama school you can slip into the conversation. Men in the entertainment industry are no more predatory than in any other walk of life. They just get better opportunities to take advantage of a situation. So save it for the real McCoy. Or flaunt it as you wish. Remember that any old biddy like me never listened to anything our elders and betters told us so why should you. Just remember that when you get to my age it's too late to make any adjustments - so go for it. It's not a rehearsal.


MORE FEATURES
From the Horror Channel Sci-Fi Zone - The Invaders
Posted on Monday 19th November 2018
The Invaders

Long before The X-Files, long before 24, and at around the same time as The Prisoner, there was one show that dared to tackle the subject of "Is our Government lying to us" head on in a manner that was not only dignified but played totally straight; The Invaders.

Running for two seasons from 1967 to 1968, The Invaders was created by Larry Cohen, a man who had cut his writing teeth on classics such as The Fugitive and who would go on to carve a career as a cult movie favourite bringing fans movies such as It's Alive (1974), The Stuff (1985) and The Ambulance (1990).

With bold colours and the legendary line, "A Quinn Martin Production" proudly in place, The Invaders took the B-Movie ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Happy 30th Birthday Chucky!
Posted on Friday 9th November 2018
Childs Play

When you were a child, did you ever think that your toys came to life when you were asleep? Or, did you even think they could come alive and gut you like a fish? This second idea is the premise behind Child's Play, one of the most successful slasher series of all time.

OK, the idea of a killer doll or toy wasn't new, one only has to look back at movies like Dead of Night (1945), Magic (1978), and The Pit (1981) and countless episodes from anthology shows, but the way Child's Play was done totally straight gave it that special edge over what had come before.

Written and directed by genre master Tom Holland, Child's Play was based on an idea from Don Mancini and quickly become a slasher f...

SHARE: READ MORE
Author and critic Kim Newman reflects on Horror Channel's Hammer Classics Season
Posted on Thursday 1st November 2018

Very few people could write about Hammer films with the credentials that Kim Newman has. He's an award-winning author, a highly respected critic, a noted journalist and talented broadcaster and his passion for cinema is known throughout the industry. Here he takes a look at Horror's Hammer Classics Season.

Into the polite grey world of 1950s British cinema burst lurid EastmanColor decadence. In Essoldos, Odeons and Classics up and down the country, screens that were dominated by well-mannered, stiff-upper lip characters - the repressed romantics of Brief Encounter or the staunch heroes of The Dam Busters - suddenly ran red with gore, and the flash of the scarlet lining of Dra...

SHARE: READ MORE
Top 10 Halloween hits
Posted on Tuesday 30th October 2018

Are you having a Halloween party this year? Well, apart from having Horror Channel on in the house you might want some terribly terrifying tunes to help your party go on into the early hours.

We've trawled through the charts to bring you the definitive list of tracks guaranteed to send your ghoulish guests sleeping with the light on when they get home!

Here's our list and as usual please let us know your frightful faves via our social channels.

10: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand
Lovers of the Scream franchise will know this belter of a track from one of the world's most fascinating and adored song writers. From the album, Let Love In (1994) this has Cave in a vengeful tone which has helped it gain a huge following and has appeared in movies such as Dumb And Dumber (1994) and been covered by countless people including Jarvis Cocker. Cav...

SHARE: READ MORE
Hammer returns to Horror this November
Posted on Tuesday 23rd October 2018

From November 3rd, Horror Channel celebrates vintage 1950s home-grown fantasy and horror with a Hammer Classics Season, The primetime Saturday night season, consisting of four network premieres, which star the iconic Peter Cushing, kicks off with Val Guest's atmospheric masterpiece, The Abominable Snowman.

The other three, all directed by Terence Fisher, are the highly successful adaptations of the classic Universal monster movies: the brilliantly lurid The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), the hypnotically sensual and gory Dracula (1958), which launched Cushing and Christopher Lee into global stardom, and The Mummy (1959), perhaps the most critically well-received Hammer movie of all time.

There are also Friday night network...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 nights of pure terror with Horror's Haunted Halloween Season
Posted on Tuesday 25th September 2018

Horror Channel presents its Haunted Halloween Season this October, taking possession of the nation's TVs for thirteen nights with a supernaturally spooky selection of premieres and classic favourites, including the UK TV premiere of Jesse Thomas Cook's The Hexecutioners, a nerve-shredding American Gothic tale of terror. There are also network premieres for the gripping US-remake of The Grudge starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Carles Torrens's paranormal chiller Apartment 143. Amongst returning channel hits are James Wan's supernatural stunner Insidious, John Carpenter's iconic The Fog, and Lluis Quilez's Colombia-shot suspense thriller Out Of The Dark.

There is also a small screen debut for Bruce McDonald's atmo...

SHARE: READ MORE
Celebrate Stephen King's 71st birthday with Horror
Posted on Friday 14th September 2018

He's sold well over 350 million of books, has just as many fans across the globe and celebrates his 71st birthday on September 21st, Stephen King is without doubt the most famous genre author in the world today.

From his first novel, Carrie in 1974, King has scared, inspired, and entertained countless people. His descriptive and raw prose has given us some of the most chilling and memorable characters including Pennywise, Johnny Smith and a dog named Cujo.

On the night of his birthday, Horror is celebrating in style with the first episode of the acclaimed series Under The Dome and a quartet of big screen versions of some of his finest books.

Here's all you need to know:

Under the Dome (8...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror has everything this Autumn because We Are Horror!
Posted on Wednesday 29th August 2018

Horror Channel kicks off the Autumn season with eight chilling prime time weekend film premieres including the UK TV premiere of Adam Green's slasher favourite that gave the world Victor Crowley,Hatchet (14th Sep), starring horror icons Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and Tony Todd.

There are also TV firsts for Kieran Parker's Outpost III: Rise Of The Spetsnaz (15th Sep), the third installment of the hit Nazi zombie action horror franchise, Steven Sheil's graphic underground thriller Dead Mine (22nd Sep) set in Indonesia and Will Canon's haunted house horror Demonic (29th Sep).

September also sees network premieres for the gory and hilarious 100 Bloody Acres (8th Sep), the erotic, murderous triple-hander...

SHARE: READ MORE
10 FrightFest flicks for 2018
Posted on Thursday 16th August 2018

Puppet Master The Littlest Reich

Stewart Bridle, Channel Manager for Horror Channel, selects the FrightFest films to catch at this year's event.

It's that time again when the most torturous experience isn't being slowly sliced in half by a deranged chainsaw-wielding maniac but actually deciding what to watch from the massive line-up of over 70 films at this year's FrightFest London on the August Bank holiday weekend. Unless you've found some mad scientist to clone you several times you'll never catch everything so here are ten devious delights I recommend this year.

SUMMER OF 84 The RKSS collective return to FrightFest after wowing audiences back in 2015 with the terrific...

SHARE: READ MORE
5 Reasons To See Unfriended: Dark Web This Weekend
Posted on Friday 10th August 2018

Today marks the UK release of Unfriended: Dark Web. The latest nightmare offering an unnerving and unflinching look into what lies beyond the everyday realms of the internet.

When Matias (Colin Woodell) stumbles across a new laptop which runs a lot better than his current hunk o' junk, he connects with his friends online for their usual game night. He soon finds out that the computer he's picked up has a connection to the Dark Web, a horrific, and unmonitored part of the internet. Matias shares his findings, and his screen, with his friends during the game night, and finds himself the target of the laptop's original owner... who will ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel unleashes monstrous FrightFest Season
Posted on Monday 6th August 2018

To celebrate FrightFest 2018, taking place in London during the August Bank Holiday, Horror Channel is dedicating thirteen nights to past festival hits.

Amongst the twenty-six fear-filled favourites, the channel will air four UK TV premieres: Simeon Halligan's 'terror-torial' home invasion shocker White Settlers; Jeff Maher's crowd-pleasingly ghoulish orgy of sex and gore Bed Of The Dead; Chad Archibald's breath-choking supernatural thriller The Drownsman; and the hauntingly sinister Nightworld, directed by Patricio Valladares and starring horror icon Robert Englund.

Plus, we're broadcasting three network premieres; Alberto Marini's sly and witty scaremonger Summer Camp; Bernard Rose's Frankenstein, a s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel gets beastly in July with Animal Attack Season
Posted on Tuesday 19th June 2018

Nature gets nasty on Horror Channel in July with Animal Attack Season, a beastly collection of movies which will claw their way into your nightmares each Saturday at 9pm.

The season starts on the 7th with the big screen version of a Stephen king classic, Cujo. When sweet St. Bernard dog Cujo is bitten by a bat, he morphs into a dangerous beast and goes on a rampage in a small town. Stay-at-home mom Donna (Dee Wallace) gets caught in Cujo's crosshairs on a fateful errand with her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro). Stuck in their car, Donna and Tad have a frightening showdown with the crazed animal. Then the following week a movie that has real bite, Burning Bright. Johnny Gavenau's latest get-quick-rich scheme is to turn his Florida...

SHARE: READ MORE
Features Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Star Trek: Enterprise
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE
Friday 30th November
7.00 PM
I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE
Friday 23rd November
10.55 PM
The Asylum
THE ASYLUM
Sunday 25th November
10.50 PM