FEATURES

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
Horror Channel launches assault of premieres for June plus further seasons of Farscape
Posted on Thursday 12th May 2022

Ryan Simon's British supernatural chiller Demon Eye, starring Darren Day, and Liam Fox, and Brad Baruh's Coen-sequel mystery thriller Night Drive, starring AJ Bowen and Sophie Dalah, both receive Friday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel.

There are also channel premieres for John Carpenter's cult classic Assault On Precinct 13 and Finnish-German sci-fi Nazi horror spoof Iron Sky: The Coming Race, directed by Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky) and starring Udo Kier, reprising his role as Adolf Hitler.

Plus, cult classic Farscape returns with the channel premieres of Season 3 and 4. This Australian-American Sci-Fi TV series, created by Rockne S. O'Bannon, has proved a big hit with Horror...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel celebrates history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault
Posted on Thursday 21st April 2022

Starting in May, Horror Channel journeys into the history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault, which will present double-bills of classic sci-fi and horror films every Sunday night.

The season premieres on Sunday May 1st with The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut. This is paired with Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the monster. Then on Sunday May 8th, we have Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand, followed by Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolf...

SHARE: READ MORE
Kim Newman dares to check out this weekend's Classic Sci-Fi event
Posted on Thursday 14th April 2022
Kim Newman

Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the celebrated B-movies joining Horror for our Classic Sci-Fi Weekend event running from 16th-17th of April.

The Horror Channel returns to a decade riven with fears of devastating climate change, imminent global war, mutating diseases and general paranoia... albeit in black and white, with miniature effects and make-up masks rather than CGI and the kind of urgency that means world-menacing phenomena can be invoked, allowed to run rampage and then dispelled in well under ninety minutes of crisp, sometimes poetic, sometimes bombastic melodrama.

The times weren't really simpler, and neither were the movies i...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel reveals raft of UK TV premieres for May plus channel premieres for Dalek movies
Posted on Thursday 7th April 2022
May prems-twitter image

Stewart Sparke's award-winning dark comedic monster movie Book of Monsters and Audrey Cummings's grisly chuckler She Never Died, starring Olunike Adeliyi, are amongst the raft of Saturday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel during May.

Also in prime-time slots are the UK TV premieres of gruesome action thriller Becky and Henry Jacobson's stylish crime chiller Bloodline, starring Seann William Scott. There is also a Channel premiere for Peter Medak's classic supernatural horror The Changeling, starring George C. Scott.

Plus, there are channel premieres for Dr Who and The Daleks and Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. The films star Peter Cushing as Dr Who and al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel adds Channel premiere of Farscape to Sci-Fi Zone from Monday 4 April
Posted on Wednesday 30th March 2022

Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult sci-fi programmes to its audience and this trend continues with the channel premiere of Season 1 of the 1999 Australian-American Sci-Fi TV series Farscape, created by Rockne S, O'Bannon and produced over four seasons.

Astronaut John Crichton (ben Browder), on an experimental space mission, is accidentally hurled across the universe to the midst of an intergalactic conflict. Taken on board Moya, a huge bio-mechanoid "living ship" desperately trying to escape captivity, Crichton is trapped among alien creatures wielding deadly technology and hunted by a merciless military race. H...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel celebrates Sci-Fi B-Movies with a second Classic Sci-Fi Weekend in April
Posted on Tuesday 22nd March 2022

It's back to terrify once more! Horror Channel once again celebrates the Sci-fi B-movie world of strange creatures, alien invaders and weird science with Classic Sci-Fi Weekend 2, a follow-up TV special to the popular Classic Sci-fi weekend broadcast in April 2020. The fifties are acknowledged as the Golden Age for Sci-fi movies and Horror Channel has picked ten of the most iconic, which will be broadcast on Saturday 16th April and Sunday 17th April.

The season includes five channel premieres: the heart-pounding Alien invasion classic It Came From Outer Space, pulp-horror favourite Tarantula, featuring an uncredited Clint Eastw...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel reveals raft of UK TV premieres for April
Posted on Tuesday 15th March 2022
April Banner

Rob W King's gripping dystopian thriller The Humanity Bureau, starring Nicolas Cage, and Rob Grant's twisted survival drama, Alive, starring Angus MacFadyen, are amongst the raft of Saturday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel during April.

Also in prime-time 9pm slots are the UK TV premieres of Owen Egerton's supernatural horror Mercy Black and Jonathan Zarantonello's sinister, psychological thriller The Butterfly Room, starring Barbara Steele and Ray Wise.

Plus, Padraig Reynolds's suspense-filled neo slasher Open 24 Hours, starring Vanessa Grasse, gets its channel premiere.

Here's all you need to know:

Our first UK TV premiere of the month arrives on the 2n...

SHARE: READ MORE
I am not a number. I am a free man! The Prisoner tries to escape this March on Horror
Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2022
The Prisoner-socialmedia-1

Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult thrillers to its audience and this trend continues with The Prisoner, a taut psycho-thriller about a secret agent who retires and finds himself thrown into a Kafka-esque world of mindplay and enigma - a man known only as No. 6.

A major cult following has built up around one of the most inventive and ground-breaking TV series ever produced. Multi-talented and twice winner of an Emmy, Patrick McGoohan who stars, also created and produced the series and wrote and directed many of the episodes.

Produced by Everyman Films for distribution by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment, a single series of seventeen episodes wa...

SHARE: READ MORE
A tasty release from Burning Witches Records, A Banquet
Posted on Saturday 19th February 2022
A-Banquet-OST_Cover-Artwork_final+small

On March 11th, London based composer, sound designer and recording artist CJ Mirra releases the OST to IFC Midnight and Hanway Film's A Banquet, which premieres at Cinemas on the same date. A limited run of Pea Green vinyl will be available via Burning Witches Records .

A Banquet is a visually arresting, slow-burning psychological horror that uses subtle supernatural elements to create tension within a family in the midst of a breakdown, exploiting the complicated bond between three generations of mothers and daughters. Variety likens it to Lars Von Tries' Melancholia and Jeff Nichol's Take Shelter. A Banquet sees composer CJ Mirra reunite with...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel announces Killer Thriller week for March
Posted on Tuesday 15th February 2022
Killer THriller Week

Horror Channel turns up the tension in March with Killer Thriller Week, featuring the UK premiere of mystery thriller Paradise Cove, staring Mena Suvari and the channel premiere of cat-and-mouse road thriller Cop Car, starring Kevin Bacon. The ultimate 7-day suspense ride also includes Gus Van Sant's revival of the Hitchcock classic Psycho (1988), the 2014 version of erotic thriller The Loft starring Karl Urban, Colin Minihan's deliciously warped What Keeps You Alive, Rod Lurie's 2011 pulsating remake of Straw Dogs and Bad Samaritan, starring a cunningly murderous David Tennant.

Plus, there are four additional UK TV premieres, highlighted by the late Johnny Kevorkian's last fi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel announces raft of premieres for February
Posted on Thursday 13th January 2022
The Midnight Man - WEB1

February on Horror Channel keeps genre fans alive with the UK TV premiere of What Keeps You Alive - another suspenseful knife to the throat of 21st Century genre cinema from the deliciously warped mind of Colin Minihan, director of It Stains The Sand Red.

And expect more total shock and abject terror in the UK TV premiere of Paul Hyett's sinister sci-fi horror fantasy Peripheral. This twisted cross between Ex Machina and Videodrome boasts an astonishing performance from Hannah Arterton.

Plus, there are channel premieres for the gore-filled, stomach-churning zombie chiller Death Trench, Producer M. Night Shyamalan's claustrophobic supernatural thriller Devil, the...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel ushers in 2022 with zombie invasions
Posted on Tuesday 21st December 2021

Evil-Dead II-WEB2

January weekends on Horror Channel are invaded by the undead with the UK TV premiere of Lin Oeding's newly-flavoured zombie horror-comedy Office Uprising, and the two highly acclaimed Zombie apocalypse road movies - Stake Land, receiving its Channel premiere, and the sequel The Stakelander, enjoying a UK TV premiere.

Plus, there are channel premieres for the bone-chilling The Wretched, directed by The Pierce Brothers, Sam Raimi's classic Evil Dead 2, once again starring the demon battling Brue Campbell and the original Dolph Lundgrem/Jean-Claude Van Damme futuristic thriller Universal Soldier.

Here's everything you need to know:

A VHS classic on the 8th as Je...

SHARE: READ MORE
Features Archive: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Meteor Apocalypse
METEOR APOCALYPSE
Saturday 21st May
6.40 PM
The Changeling
THE CHANGELING
Friday 27th May
10.50 PM
Legion
LEGION
Wednesday 25th May
10.45 PM