Euro art house director Roger Vadim adapted Blood and Roses in 1960, from Sheridan Le Fanu’s Sapphic vampire novella Camilla, setting down in contemporary Italy.
A lonely and bitter young heiress – jealous of her cousin’s engagement to another woman – becomes dangerously obsessed with legends surrounding a vampire ancestor, who supposedly murdered the young brides of the man she loved (IMDb).
The role of Carmilla was cast by Annette Vadim and Elsa Martinelli plays Georgia Monteverdi engaged to Leopoldo (Mel Ferrer). Camilla is secretly in love with Leopoldo. He and Georgia host a costume party to celebrate their upcoming wedding, which includes fireworks, that wind up unearthing the grave of Milarka, who is Carmilla’s ancestor, a vampiress. Milarka now possesses Camilla and designs to corrupt the lovers. Although the film is in technicolor, Vadim shoots his impressionistic dream sequence in black-and-white with red-tinted blood.
The film stoked the theme of the lesbian vampire, though not explicit, the trope gained traction in the late 1960s and 70s with Hammer Studios. Martinelli also appeared in The 10th Victim 1965.
Hayley Mills comes from acting royalty, she is the daughter of great British actor John Mills and the younger sister of Juliet Mills. I happened to have the good fortune of meeting the gorgeous Juliet Mills twice at the Chiller convention here in New Jersey. I have to say that I’ve never met a more kind and gracious actor who has a profound inner glow. Having already been a fan, I’m even more enamored with her.
Hayley was discovered while at her parent’s home in 1958 by director J. Lee Thompson who immediately cast her opposite, of her father in the thriller Tiger Bay 1959. Her breakthrough performance, winning an award at the Berlin Film Festival and being acknowledged in Hollywood by Walt Disney signed her to a five-year contract. There she starred in Pollyanna 1960 garnering rave reviews and a second hit was for The Parent Trap 1961. She went on to do That Darn Cat! 1965 and The Trouble with Angels 1966.
Mills had been offered the role of Lolita in Stanley Kubrick’s film (1962) but her parents warned off the part fearing the sexual nature of the role would taint her iconic image of purity. Sue Lyon was cast in the role instead, but Mills regretted not taking the part.
in Twisted Nerve 1968, Hayley Mills plays Susan Harper who befriends psychopath Martin Durnley (Hywel Bennett) who appears to be a painfully troubled young man, taking on the persona of a six-year-old boy who calls himself Georgie. His mother (Billie Whitelaw) infantilizes Martin. He has a brother with Down syndrome who has been hidden away in an institution. Georgie becomes fixated on the lovely and patiently kind, who realizes there’s something very wrong with Martin who ultimately goes into a murderous rage.
After Twisted Nerve in 1968, Hayley Mills went on to do more psychological thrillers in the 1970s – Once again co-starring with Hywel Bennett in Endless Night in 1972, and Deadly Strangers in 1975.
Anna also comes from acting royalty being the daughter of actor Raymond Massey. She is known for her role as Helen Stephens in Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom 1960 starring Karlheinz Bohm as Mark, a disturbed young man who films women as he kills them with a tripod sword so that he can get off on their reactions of terror. Anna plays Helen Stephans, the one girl that Mark feels a connection.
Once Mark is drawn to Helen they begin to spend time together. In Helen’s innocence, she remains out of danger from his dark, deranged eye on women’s suffering.
She also appeared in Otto Preminger’s Bunny Lake is Missing 1965, the psycho-sexual thriller drenched in paranoia. Carol Lynley reports her little girl missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed. Anna plays Elvira Smollett one of the teachers at the school where she disappeared.
Massey went on to do two more horror films in the 1970s, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy 1972 and The Vault of Horror 1973 an anthology directed by Roy Ward Baker.
Above: With Barbara Rush in The Outer Limits ‘The Form of Things Unknown’ 1964 written by Joseph Stefano.
in 1948, she was cast in small roles in Hollywood films and television series. She soon attained fame when the ‘spirited’ actress drew the attention of masterful directors Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford, who cast her in his western The Searchers in 1956. Hitchcock placed her under contract and referred to her as his “new Grace Kelly”. She co-starred with Henry Fonda in his thriller The Wrong Man 1956. She was originally cast as Judy Barton in Vertigo 1958, but she dropped out of the picture because she was pregnant. But Hitchcock cast her once again, this time in a supportive role in his horror masterpiece Psycho 1960.
She starred in various popular television series, The Twilight Zone 1959, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1962, and The Outer Limits 1963.
Although Vera Miles is a well-known Hollywood star, she has contributed a lot to the horror genre. She plays Marion Crane’s sister Lila in Psycho 1960. She appeared in the television sci-fi/horror/fantasy series The Outer Limits episode ‘The Form of Things Unknown’ 1964 and the British television series with a horror/suspense twist, Journey to the Unknown 1968 episode ‘Matakitas is Coming’, where she is locked in a library, the prey of an ancient serial killer who sacrifices brides to satan.
She’s also an able murderess on Columbo episode ‘Lovely But Lethal’ 1973. She appeared in the tv Movie of the Week, A Howling in the Woods 1971, Live Again, Die Again 1974, and The Strange and Deadly Occurrence 1974. Miles reprised her role as Lila Crane in Psycho II (1983).
Co-starred in William Caste’s The Night Walker 1964, the television pilot Dark Intruder 1965, and Curtis Harrington’s Queen of Blood 1966.
Plays a victim in Franju’s Eyes Without a Face 1960.
The Phantom Planet 1961, Blood Bath 1966.
Appeared in The Brides of Dracula 1960, and The Horror of It All 1964.
“SHE’S GORGED HERSELF ON FRESH BLOOD” “SHE’S A MONSTER!”
She also appeared in The Twilight Zone 1962 episode ‘Dagget’s Girlfriend’ and most notably two of Curtis Harrington’s horror films, the surreal cult Odyssey, Queen of Blood 1966 where she plays the alien vampire queen, and in the marvelously macabre Games 1967 as a party guest, The Baroness.
Curtis Harrington joined up with Roger Cormen to create this atmospheric, psychedelic sci-fi/horror hybrid opera, after his work on the hauntingly beautiful Night Tide. Marley is mesmerizing as the enigmatic green deity from another world who nourishes herself on human blood. She pulls off a terrifying smile and glowing eyes that prove deadly. In the far,-off future, in the year 1990, Earth plans on exploring both Mars and Venus, with a crew of astronauts, John Saxon, Dennis Hopper, Judi Meredith, and Basil Rathbone. The crew learns that an alien ship has crashed on Mars, and heads out on a rescue mission, but their rocket is damaged in a ‘sunburst’ and becomes stranded on the red planet. There, they discover a curious green-skinned woman who is strangely silent. Once the ship is repaired they head back to Earth with the puzzling alien on board. After Hopper is found dead, drained of blood it is revealed that Marley is a vampire. Mission control finds this a revelation, a great scientific discovery, so they instruct the remaining crew to bring the alien back, and in the meantime, feed her plasma. But when they run out of plasma
Marley went on to do Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls 1973. fun fact: I met John Considine (Doctor Death) at Chiller Theater in 2019. He told me that everyone he meets greets him with “Get into that body” He laughed and I laughed my ass off!
Morland also appeared in Last Woman on Earth 1960, Creature from the Haunted Sea 1961, and gave a great performance in The Outer Limits episode The Mutant 1964 co-starring Warren Oates as Reese Fowler who becomes a bug-eyed mutant after being exposed to radioactive rain. Reese can read minds and holds Morland and the rest of the crew captive on another planet with no hope of rescue.
Martín plays Isabelle who will not survive The House that Screamed 1969. Taken in by Louis’ gentility, he winds up stabbing Isabelle repeatedly in the woods in slow motion to Waldo de los Rios’ hauntingly evocative score. Perhaps one of the most beautiful film scores in any horror film, that creates a symbiotic intoxicating shiver.
She went on to star in The Bell from Hell 1973 and The Blood Spattered Bride 1972. In this atmospheric gorey horror film based on Camila mythology written by Le Fanu, Maribel plays Susan who falls under the spell of Alexandra Bastedo and wind up getting shot by Susan’s husband Simon Andreu while the two erotically lay together in a coffin. He proceeds to cut out their hearts off-screen.
The House that Screamed Maude plays the predatory Irene, Lili Palmer’s right hand. She went on to do Crucible of Terror 1971, La Muerta incierta 1973 also by Larraz.
Hammer scream queen- appeared in Circus of Horrors 1960, The Brides of Dracula 1960, and The Terror of the Tongs 1961.
The Curse of the Crying Woman 1963 image looks like the captivating scene with Barbara Steele in Black Sunday.
It could be said of horror from south of the border in the 1950s and ’60s are a Gothic style of revival to the days of Universal’s classics of the 1930s and ’40s. Yet, the subculture of the Mexican horror film possesses its own charisma. And Raphael Baledon’s film bares a similar atmosphere with some gruesome highlights that you might expect from Edgar Ulmer.
A young woman (Rosita Arenas) inherits a mansion, only to discover that it is haunted by witches and evil spirits. Rita Macedo plays Selma, the murderous witch. Macedo excels as a menacing villain who terrorizes Amelia (Arenas).
The violence is gruesome for the 1960s. And director Rafael Baledón tips his hat to Mario Bava with elements of Black Sunday. Adapted from the film the legend of La Llorona about a woman who murdered her own children to be with the man she loves.
The film features Macedo’s daughter Julissa who appeared in 3 of Boris Karloff’s pictures in his final days appearing in Mexican horror films.
Amelia (Rosa Arenas) and her husband (Abel Salazar-The Brainiac) arrive at her aunt Selma’s (Macedo) remote mansion after not seeing her for years. What she doesn’t know is that Selma is really an eyeless banshee who goes on a murder spree with the help of her knife-throwing handyman. She has an ultimate plan to use Amelia to help her resurrect the skeleton in her torture chamber of The Crying Woman.
Macedo with producer/actor Abel Salazar (The Brainiac). She appeared in The Exterminating Angel 1962, and Neutron vs The Maniac 1964. The Curse of the Crying Woman would be released in the U.S. as a double bill with The Brainiac.
The Flesh Eaters 1964.
A small group of people stranded on an island find the water inhabited by blood-curdling flesh-eating organisms that sparkle and eat through anything and devour you from the inside out. An effective low-budget shocker, and pretty darn grisly for a black & white horror film about a nazi scientist (Martin Kosleck) who is experimenting with the nasty little buggers.
Horror Maestro Mario Bava’s signature colorful, moody, operatic ‘vampires in space’, Planet of the Vampires 1965 stars Barry Sullivan and co-stars the beautiful Evi Mirandi as fellow astronaut Tiona who happens to kick ass in this atmospheric Gothic horror film that features some of the most startling scenes of menacing men in tight skin leather space suits, lurking in the fog on an alien planet. The film actually inspired Ridley Scott’s Alien 1979, with familiar scenes of the remnants of an ancient race of giants.
After landing on a mysterious planet, a team of astronauts begins to turn on each other, swayed by the uncertain influence of the planet and its strange inhabitants.
Ivan Rassimov, Mario Morales and Evi Mirandi in Planet of the Vampires 1965.
Black Sabbath 1963 Rosy in ‘Il Telefono’. She went on to star in Web of the Spider in 1971.
Bertha Moss as Frau Hildegarde in The Bloody Vampire 1962.
Appeared in La Bestia Humana 1957, cast as Leonora in Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel 1962, A Woman Possessed 1968 aka La endemoniada, and in The Invasion of the Vampires 1963 once again playing Frau Hildegarde.
As Granny Harrad in Boris Karloff’s television anthology series Thriller- “Parasite Mansion.
Jeanette Nolan was born in 1911 in Los Angeles California, She began her acting career in the Pasadena Community Playhouse. She made her film debut as Lady Macbeth in Orson Welles’ 1948 film version of Macbeth.
Nolan’s many incarnations were old crones or menacing older women. She was the consummate grizzled harpy in many a television series that was influenced by themes of mystery, suspense, and horror in the 1960s & 70s.
Before her death at age 86 due to a stroke on June 5th, 1998, her career encompassed so many varied roles. Her last performance was in Robert Redford’s film The Horse Whisperer, where she plays Tom Booker’s mother “Ellen.” She played Bertha Duncan in The Big Heat in 1953 and Nora Ericson in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in 1962.
As Mary Fitzgibbons in ‘Triumph’ The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1964
If you can imagine she brought to life some of the most interesting characters in more than 300 television shows. From Perry Mason, Doctor Kildare, Boris Karloff’s Thriller, Medical Center, The Twilight Zone, Naked City, I Spy, The Mother’s In-Law, Ironside, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, The Fugitive & Columbo and even played Rose Nyland’s (Bette White) mother Alma Lindstrom on The Golden Girls just to name a few. Jeanette Nolan earned four Emmy nominations.
Nolan was married to actor John McIntire who died in 1991. And… Nolan actually provided the screams for Norman’s “mother” in Psycho (1960) Husband John played Sheriff Chambers.
Jeanette Nolan in one of Columbo’s memorable episodes ‘Double Shock’ as Mrs Peck keeps a very tidy house. She is probably best known for her performance as the conniving murderess Bertha in The Big Heat 1953
Jeanette Nolan’s voice of Mrs. Bates uncredited Psycho 1960, 4 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Coming Home 1961 The Morning After 1959, The Right Kind of House 1958 The Young One 1957, Boris Karloff’s Thriller episode La Strega and Parasite Mansion 1961 The Twilight Zone episode ‘Jess-Belle’ 1963 as Granny Hart and the episode The Hunt 1962. In The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Triumph 1964, she plays Mary Fitzgibbons a dominating scheming opportunist. Horror films include My Blood Runs Cold 1965 Chamber of Horrors 1966, and The Invaders 1967 ‘Nightmare.’ She went on to play Aunt Ada Burn the evil witch in Night Gallery’s ‘Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay’ and Circle of Fear episode The New House 1972, The Sixth Sense episode Shadow in the Well 1972. She gave a wonderful performance as the pathologically anal housekeeper Mrs. Lesch in the Columbo episode Double Shock.
Judith O’Dea is best known as the severely traumatized captive of the lurching flesh-eating dead in George A. Romero’s 1968 groundbreaking, radically transformative Night of the Living Dead. An unflinching exercise in horror with the bleakest tone, a parable using the image of ourselves as the walking dead. Romero has spoken about the film as telling the story of an America that turns against itself. It was a reflection of the socio-political, civil rights unrest, and overall climate of the times. A backlash to the love and peace generation. O’Dea’s perfect performance as her character Barbara, who wholly represents our collective dread. I’m sorry I missed her at Chiller Theater Convention in the fall of 2021.
House on Haunted Hill 1959 and Spider Baby 1967
Carol Ohmart started out sharing the stage in a vaudeville act with her uncle at age 3, coming in fourth in the Miss America contest in 1946. The attention led to modeling, commercials, and magazine covers. She began her career as a sexy blonde symbol doing bit parts on television and commercials and stage work in the 1950s, creating the persona of a hard-edged screen goddess rather than a wholesome ingénue. Her first movies were The Scarlet Hour and The Wild Party in 1956. This was never more clear than in her role as Vincent Price’s scheming, murderous wife Annabelle Loren in William Castle’s campy House on Haunted Hill 1959.
She carried on that image of the unsympathetic seductress in Jack Hill’s obscure psychotronic cult horror flick Spider Baby or, the Maddest Story Ever Told 1967, where she plays Emily who falls prey to the inbred Merrye family of killer nut jobs. It features Ohmart being terrorized while running through the dilapidated mansion in her black silk boustier. Lon Chaney plays Bruno the chauffeur who is their protector, sympathetic to the secret of their inherited madness that plagues the family line. The threesome of siblings with arrested development roams around aimlessly with their penchant for mayhem and murder. Ohmart once again plays a greedy blonde, a distant relative who plans on taking over the family fortune and kicking out the insane bunch.
Powers is a natural beauty with a tangible, likable spark. She began her career dancing in the Michele Paniaff Ballet Company and with iconic Jerome Robbins. She has also attained success not only in film, with a huge presence on television but as an actress on the stage. Columbia Pictures signed her when she was only 16 years old where she made 15 major motion pictures. She was loaned out to United Artists for McLintock! In 1963. MGM bought her contract and featured her as The Girl from U.N.C.L.E 1966. Powers has made over 200 television appearances and 18 mini-series, starring in the long-running series Hart to Hart (1979). She founded the William Holden Wildlife Foundation involved with the conservation of wildlife, in honor of her long-time partner, Hollywood film star William Holden. She is also a member of the Writers’ Guild of America and was nominated for her script of “Family Secrets”, which received five Emmy nominations for her acting roles and a People’s Choice Award.
Stephanie Powers appeared in the psychological thriller Experiment in Terror 1962 as Lee Remick’s younger sister who is abducted by raspy-voiced psychopath Ross Martin. She also appeared in the horror anthology television series Journey to the Unknown 1968 episode “Jane Brown’s Body”.
She moved into the 1970s still embracing horror thrillers, such as the psycho-sexual feature movie Crescendo 1970, the supernatural tv movie pilot for the television series The Sixth Sense – Sweet, Sweet Rachel 1971. She starred in the mystery/science fiction made for tv movie directed by Walter Grauman, Paper Man 1971, and the woman-in-peril made for tv movie Five Desperate Women 1971. In 1972 she appeared in two episodes of the supernatural television series The Sixth Sense, “If I Should Die Before I Wake” and “Echo of a Distant Scream”.
Powers plays Patricia Carroll, trapped by the fanatical Mrs. Trafoile (Tallulah Bankhead) in Die! Die! My Darling! 1965. And appeared in the psycho-sexual horror film Crescendo 1970.
Born in Byfleet, Surrey, England she was an actress, known for Blake’s 7 1978, David Copperfield 1974, and Doctor Who 1963. Pearce can be seen as Alice in John Gilling’s Plague of the Zombies 1966, an episode of The Avenger’s ‘A Sense of History 1966, and cast as Anna Franklyn in The Reptile 1966.
Black Sabbath 1963 as Helen Chester in the segment “La goccia d’acqua” A Drop of Water. She pays dearly for stealing the ring off the finger of a dead strega.
Though the posters and credits refer to Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Haunted Palace, the film is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, with a screenplay by Charles Beaumont. Lovecraft’s work is almost impossible to adapt to the screen. The change in the name was due mainly to the success of the Poe series by Corman and AIP. Cinematographer Floyd Crosby who worked on all Corman/Poe series, used very subdued colors, creating a sense of dread and Stygian vibes, giving it a look reminiscent of Dutch Masters painting with satiny unilluminated tones.
In The Haunted Palace 1963 Vincent Price plays Dexter Ward who arrives with his wife (Paget) in a remote New England village to take ownership of a castle he inherited. The couple is immediately shunned by the townspeople, and the local physician explains that Ward’s ancestor Joseph Curwen was burned alive for being a Warlock who conjured up monstrosities to mate with the local women. He curses the townspeople and vows to take revenge. Afterwards, the villagers and their descendants assume frightening deformities.
Soon after he moves into the castle, through an imposing painting of his evil ancestor, Ward succumbs to Curwen’s menacing influence and begins practicing his profane scheme to bring his beloved mistress back to life and sacrifice young women to his hideous gods.
The Haunted Palace 1963, Tales of Terror 1962 sequence ‘The Case of M. Valdemar’.
Geraldine Page is considered perhaps one of the greatest American actors of all time. a master craftswoman who seemed to bring out the most inner detail of the character she was playing. (Brett Walter IMDb). She was inspired by the great stage actresses, Lucille La Verne, Maude Adams, and Eva Le Gallienne. She appeared in 28 films, 16 Broadway plays, dramatic television and radio plays, repertory, stock, regional and Off-Broadway performances.
In 1948, she made her New York City debut with an Off-Broadway production of “Seven Mirrors.” She spent the next four years performing with Off-Broadway groups and summer stock. In 1952, she had the lead in an Off-Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ “Summer and Smoke.” That production caused a sensation, not only with critics but with a growing audience marking the first big hit Off-Broadway. Page won the Drama Critics Award, becoming the first person from a non-Broadway production to receive such an award…
… Page divided her time between the stage and the screen. Her selectivity was high, whatever the medium. She turned down many famous roles, including the role of Martha in the original Broadway production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and the role of Chris MacNeil in the film “The Exorcist.” She was first and foremost a character actress who believed in repertory. She tended to accept parts that were very different from the one she had just played and often liked to rotate between leading roles and supporting roles. (Brett Walter IMDb)
In 1975 she played the controversial cult leader in Day of the Locust and in 1978 she appeared as the suicidal mother in Wood Allen’s Interiors.
As the wicked Mrs. Marrable in What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? 1969 she delivers her character with a spine-chilling vigor and hostility, playing the greedy murderess who has no remorse about snuffing out the life of her aged housekeepers. Page gives an unsettling performance of a calculating serial killer.
In the 1970s, Page carried on the legacy of the imposing dragon lady in GHOST STORY / CIRCLE OF FEAR episode- “TOUCH OF MADNESS” 1971 and Rod Serling’s horror anthology series Night Gallery episode “Something in the Woodwork”.
The green-eyed beauty Is a cult heroine, considered the Queen of Gothic Horror- a vamp with a sultry enticing voice. She first appeared in a more visible role on screen as Heidi in Where Eagles Dare 1968 co-starring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton fighting the Nazis.
Though she is one of the most iconic faces of the Gothic canon of Hammer Horror films, in particular, the noblewoman who baths in nubile maiden’s blood in order to maintain her youth in Countess Dracula1971, and The Vampire Lovers 1970. Pitt appeared in two little-known flicks, Sound of Horror in 1966, and a science fiction film The Omegans in 1968 about an artist who lures his wife and her lover into a radioactive jungle. Sound of Horror is a unique oddity with Pitt starring as Sophia Minelli, and co-starring another horror icon, Soledad Miranda. The film is about a ‘group of isolated people in the Greek mountains set off a cave explosion, they are menaced by an invisible shrieking dinosaur that had been buried for eons.’ (Jeremy Lunt for IMDb)
The voluptuous Pitt will always be known for her seductive presence in Hammer’s series of 70s scream gems, casting her as the operatic lesbian vampiress “Mircalla” in their racy Gothic The Vampire Lovers in 1970 which was hugely successful partly due to its blatant sexuality and Pitt’s portrayal of the buxom bloodsucking sapphic.
Ingrid Pitt plays the sadistic Countess in Countess Dracula (1971) not strictly faithful to the legend of the 16th century bloodthirsty Countess Elizabeth Bathory who thrived on the blood of virginal maidens. She also appeared fanged in the anthology horror film from the little horror studio with big ideas, Amicus, where she plays another vampiress in The House that Dripped Blood 1971, credited as the dowdy Librarian in The Wicker Man 1973 and in the British tv series Thriller episode Where the Action Is 1975.
Pitt has established herself as one of the leading ladies of British horror of the 1970s. She appeared regularly at horror conventions and wrote several books about her exploits as vampire royalty. Her fan club is aptly named the “Pitt of Horror” She and Caroline Munro are considered the Jane Russel and Marilyn Monroe of horror.
[from a 2006 interview] I was in a concentration camp as a child and I don’t want to see horror. I think it’s amazing that I do horror films when I had this awful childhood. But maybe that’s why I’m good at it. I’m mad about breasts, especially mine.
(Doctor Who 2005) now? Great stories. Acting – brilliant! Photography – superb. Effects – stunning! BUT… I do miss the shaky sets, the Marks and Spencers wardrobe, the discontinuity. Now we are so overwhelmed by the professionalism of television that it is hard to feel connected. We are chained to the sofa while we are lasered with the latest state of the art technology.
You can never tell if what you are seeing is real or the product of CGI. At least in its first incarnation, you knew that the cardboard walls, Bacofoil interiors and Domestos bottle spaceships were the real McCoy. And sex! Come on now. The whole point of the Doctor is that he is far above such earthly pleasures. We aren’t even sure if, under the costume, he has the necessary equipment. After all – he is an alien.
Pleshette has a memorable place in people’s hearts as Emily Hartley, the wife of unyielding therapist Bob Hartley in the Emmy Award-winning television series of the 1970s, The Bob Newhart Show. She was nominated for an Emmy in 1962 for her riveting performance in Dr. Kildare 1961 as a nurse Kathy Benjamin who is a morphine addict. Pleshette dropped out of college to take lessons from famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.
She made her Broadway debut in 1957 as part of the supporting cast for the play Compulsion 1959. eventually taking over the ingénue role during the play’s run. One of her most notable roles was in Hitchcock’s classic exploration into the story of nature revolting in The Birds 1963. As the tragical, longing Annie the earthy schoolteacher thrown over by Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) stands in contrast to sophisticated blonde Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) who has hunted Mitch down, like one of the movie’s birds. Annie meets her end, in a very graphic scene.
Pleshette plays the tragic, longing Anne Hayworth who meets a violent end in The Birds 1963, Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode 1960 “Hitch Hike”, The Power 1968.
She gave a stunning performance of a pathologically sexual animal in A Rage to Live 1965. And added her special brand of sexy as Helen Steward in the 1971 Columbo episode “Dead Weight”.
In keeping with the theme of scream queens she appeared in two episodes of the popular science fiction television series The Invaders, 1967 The Mutation and 1968 The Pursued. Pleshette went on to star in a taut thriller as a woman seeking revenge for her husband’s death, in the made-for-television movie, Along Came a Spider 1970.
Suzanne Plushette and George Hamilton in The Power 1968.
From Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode ‘Hitch Hike’ 1960.
A sophisticated international star possessing a gentle elegance and innately complex acting style which has deservedly brought her critical acclaim. She is the embodiment of poise and refinement. After studying drama in Berlin, she flew to Paris due to the Nazi takeover in 1933. Some of her credits include Palmer’s appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s Secret Agent 1938, and during the 1940s she appeared in Thunder Rock 1942 co-starring Michael Redgrave.
Palmer starred opposite John Garfield in the noir boxing film Body and Soul 1947. She starred in the television series Suspense in the episode The Comic Strip Murders 1949. She will be recognized as Elisabeth von Bernburg in Mädchen in Uniform 1958. About a boarding school for girls where Manuela von Meinhardis falls in forbidden love with Palmer’s compassionate teacher.
She played Alice in the frightening thriller The Dance of Death 1967 where strange death threats plague a playboy who is daunted by an unknown killer, surrounded by an eerie mansion, a local cemetery, and sinister shadows
After she left Hollywood her popularity would wane in American cinema, such as But Not For Me 1959 starring Clark Gable and Carroll Baker. She wound up returning to Europe in 1954. She co-starred in the horror/thriller The Boys from Brazil 1978.
Lili Palmer is extraordinary as the devouring mother of a sexual psychopathic (John Molder Brown) who is stitching together a girl just like his mom. The House That Screamed has remained a haunting experience for me. One of the first disturbing horror films I saw in its theatrical release. I don’t believe that Sra. Forneau could have been realized by any other actress than Lili Palmer with her refined aura and Forneau’s self-discipline. A woman who runs an exclusive boarding school for troubled young women, like a prison that is structured around the repression of the female spirit. The suffocating atmosphere only serves to give agency to their rising erotic sexuality. In the midst of Forneau’s fanatical structure, a secret killer is stalking and slaughtering the young women.
The Green Slime 1968.
The crew of the orbiting space station Gamma III must land on an asteroid in order to blow it up before it collides with Earth. Well-meaning but lacking in leadership skills space station commander Richard Jaeckel and problem-solving Robert Horton clash over doctor Bond girl Luciana Paluzzi who shows tireless nerve in the face of a slimy Armageddon. All hell breaks loose when one of the astronauts inadvertently brings back a strange green substance that gradually morphs into cyclopean, clumsy tentacled monsters that feed on electricity and electrocute the crew.
The Virgin of Nuremberg aka Horror Castle 1963.
Fire Over England 1937.
I must include the grand and beautiful British character actor with thoughtful blue eyes, Dame Flora Robson whose wise and noble demeanor saw her through 73 film credits, (not including her prestigious stage performances) her last was appearing in Clash of the Titans 1981. In her teens, she joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. By 1931 she was a regular at the Old Vic cast in a variety of roles as Herodias in “Salome” (1931), a drunken prostitute in Bridie’s “The Anatomist”, Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth in “Macbeth”, and Gwendolen in “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1933. She remained at the Old Vic until 1934.
Once she entered the big screen she become an accessible figure, a wise woman of character and mettle in the 1930s and 40s films. She was enthralling as Queen Elizabeth in Alexander Korda’s Fire Over England in 1937. Then Hollywood came calling. She was lauded for her performance in We Are Not Alone 1939 and as housekeeper Ellen Dean in Bronte’s haunting tragically doomed romance Wuthering Heights 1939. Robson returned to the stage in 1949 as Lady Macbeth and in 1950 played Ellen Creed in the Broadway production of Ladies in Retirement. In 1945 she won an Oscar nomination for her incredible performance as Ingrid Bergman’s servant in Saratoga Trunk. Other memorable roles include Sister Philippa in Michael Powell’s Black Narcissus 1947.
She remained working for half a century working on stage, film, and on British television, finally retiring from the stage in 1969. Flora Robson won the honor of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1952 and her ascension as Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1960.
Her horror film credits include Countess Estell in Eye of the Devil 1966, and Aunt Agatha in The Shuttered Room 1967. In the 70s she appeared as Lucy Dawson in Fragment of Fear 1970, Joyce Ballantyne in The Beast in the Cellar 1971 co-starring with equally impressive Beryl Reid and Mrs. Davis in Dominique 1979. Her last role was that of a cannibalistic Stygian Witch in Clash of the Titans in 1981.
Eye of the Devil 1966.
From Eye of the Devil 1966.
from Eye of the Devil 1966.
With Beryl Reid from Beast in the Cellar 1971.
The Evil Eye aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much 1963.
Julia in (see older post here) Castle of Blood aka Danze Macabre 1964
Circus of Horrors 1960, Night of the Vampires 1964.
I call director/auteur Curtis Harrington’s work the ‘horror of personality’ or ‘psychological pageantry (Night Tide 1961, What’s the Matter with Helen 1971, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? 1972, The Killing Kind 1973, and Ruby 1977 starring Piper Laurie) of the mind as in Games in 1967 is an example of this – with its ensemble of characters who pivot on psychological disquiet and hidden motivations. The entire movie works on misdirection, and a masquerade of chicanery, as Paul gaslights Jennifer with the help of French icon, Simone Signoret and a sinister plot to murder her for the money.
In Games, Jennifer and Paul Montgomery (Ross and Caan) are a hip, arty New York couple who get off on aesthetic pleasures, collecting memorabilia and Objet d’art. Jennifer is an heiress who inherited their upper west side brownstone from her mother and Paul siphons off her money in order to indulge his preoccupation with fine art. They throw eccentric parties for their social set friends where they get to act out their bizarre games.
Enter Lisa Schindler (Signoret) a make-up rep who pays a sales call to their door, then passes out from exhaustion. The trap has been set and nothing is as it seems.
The couple decide to play a joke on Norman the hunky grocery-delivery guy (sexy Don Stroud), Paul accuses him of coming onto Jennifer. Paul shoots him twice, supposedly with blanks, which they initially get off on their ruse until the third bullet shoots Norman through the eye and kills him. Jennifer begins seeing his shadowy apparition throughout the house.
Katherine Ross is utterly flawless as the whispery victim, a beautiful ‘object’ herself, chosen for dispatch by the opportunistic pair of schemers.
The ethereal Ross was ideal as a woman in peril in Curtis Harrington’s psychological cat and mouse thriller Games 1967. In the 1960s, Katharine Ross appeared in two television thrillers, Kraft Suspense Theater ‘Are There Anymore Out There Like You?” 1963, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour “The Dividing Wall” 1963.
After Games, Ross went on to earn recognition in two of the most acclaimed box office hits, as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate 1967 and Etta Place in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969. She will be remembered for her indelible image of the girl who sits on the handlebars of a bicycle alongside Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Ross’s role as Elaine in The Graduate earned her an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress.
The wide brown-eyed natural beauty made her debut in the tv series Sam Benedict in 1962 and her first film debut in western Shenandoah in 1965.
It was in 1967, however, that Ross’s career as a leading actress took off with her standout performance alongside James Caan and Simone Signoret in director Curtis Harrington’s psychological warfare -with his Games (1967). Signoret is the conniving woman of the world, a tarot card-reading femme fatale who slinks in and turns Katherine Ross’s life upside down.
The ethereal Ross was ideal as a woman in peril in Curtis Harrington’s psychological cat-and-mouse thriller. Games’ ensemble of characters pivots on psychological disquiet and hidden motivations.
After Games, Ross went on to earn recognition in two of the most highly acclaimed box office hits, as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate 1967, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Though Tell Them Willie Boy is Here 1969 wasn’t the box office hit that Butch Cassidy was, Ross won a BAFTA Award for her performance as Lola. She was a sensation in that wild period of roles between 1967 and ’69. She regained her visibility when she starred in the science fiction pop cult film The Stepford Wives 1975. A social commentary on the objectification of women, male ownership, and suburban duplicity. All the women in Stepford appear eerily ideal and obedient to their husbands.
She continued to appear in psychological/ horror films They Only Kill Their Masters 1972 with James Garner, In the 1970s Ross went on to do The Stepford Wives 1975, The Legacy 1978 where she met her long-time husband Sam Elliot, and the appropriately maligned science fiction disaster movie, The Swarm 1978.
Janette Scott is best known for No Highway in the Sky 1951 starring Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. But she is also known as the heroine assailed by alien bewhiskered brussel sprouts with Kieron Moore in Day of the Triffids 1963 as immortalized by the opening title song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” of The Rocky Horror Picture Show “And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a triffid that spits poison and kills.”
She also appeared in The Old Dark House 1963, as Eleanor Ashby in director Freddie Francis’ Paranoiac 1963 co-starring Oliver Reed and Crack in the World 1965.
Paranoiac is the second of three Jimmy Sangster psychological thrillers, opens with a memorial service for wealthy John and Mary Ashby who died in a plane crash 11 years earlier, and their son Tony who commits suicide shortly afterward.
At the memorial service are the unstable Eleanor (Janette Scott) and the unruly Simon, a brut, an alcoholic with a huge bar tab and in need of money from his gambling debts (Oliver Reed a drunken bull in a china shop in real life), and their overly protective Aunt Harriet (Shiela Burrell)
During the ceremony, Eleanor believes she sees her dead brother Tony. When she tells of what she saw, Simon tries to have his overwrought sister declared insane, so he can take over the family fortune. Out of desperation and despair, the fragile Eleanor tries to kill herself, but she is rescued by Tony (Alexander Davion) who claims that he faked his death to break ties with the family. Tony moves back into the Ashby mansion. But Tony is an imposter who is also after the family fortune. When he develops feelings for Eleanor he is compelled to reveal his deception to Eleanor. There is also a more twisted subterfuge at work between Aunt Harriet and Simon
Barbara Stanwyck is a Hollywood legend, a beautiful woman, a handsome woman, the consummate actress, and the epitome of a strong independent woman. And for aficionados of noir-like me, she is the ultimate face of noir’s ruthless femme fatale, the dark sunglasses, diamond ankle bracelet wearing Phyllis Dietrichson In Double Indemnity 1944.
In 1928, she arrived in Hollywood and wound up being lauded as one of the most versatile screen actors of all time, appearing in every genre, from melodramas like Illicit 1931, The Miracle Woman 1931, Baby Face 1933, Gambling Lady 1934, Stella Dallas 1937, Golden Boy 1939m Meet John Doe 1941 to romantic comedies, The Lady Eve 1941, Balls of Fire 1941, Christmas in Connecticut 1945.
Her contribution to film noir includes Double Indemnity 1944, The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers 1946, The Two Mrs. Carrolls 1947, Cry Wolf 1947, Sorry, Wrong Number 1948, The File on Thelma Jordon 1949, No Man of Her Own 1950, Clash By Night 1952, and Witness to Murder 1954.
“My only problem is finding a way to my fortieth fallen female in a different way than my thirty-ninth.”
She excelled in westerns with her love of riding horses, Union Pacific 1939, The Furies 1950, The Violent Men 1955, and Sam Fullers Forty Guns 1957. And most notably her lasting legacy in her role as Matriarch Victoria Barkley in the long-running television series The Big Valley that ran from 1965 -1969.
Stanwyck was nominated for 4 Academy Awards though she never won. She did 93 movies and popular television appearances. In 1983 she was awarded an honorary Academy Award for “Superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting”
William Castle, the carnival barker of horror loved a good gimmick, but after all the ballyhoo, he still managed to turn out some of the most memorable forays into the campy spectrum of the genre between the 1950s and 60s. This time, instead of tinted glasses that empower the moviegoer to see ghosts, rigging the theater chairs to zap you like the Tingler, or sending a skeleton zip-lining down the aisle, Castle opens this particular psychological thriller with a montage of Freudian symbolism and an assured theatrical voice-over by Paul Frees that bares a similarity to Orson Welles. The Night Walker is underscored by Vic Mizzy’s (he loves a good harpsichord -The Ghost and Mr. Chicken 1966, The Addams Family series 1964-66) drollest macabre music that shapes the psychiatric parody, with its prelude that explores the world of dreams and how we all become ‘Night Walkers’.
“Have you ever dreamed of being stared at?… When you dream you wander into another world. When you dream you become a night walker.”
Harold E. Stine’s camerawork adds a very noir edge to the film. Combine that with Alexander Golitzen’s (Touch of Evil 1958) art direction and you have a very imaginative low-budget horror thriller.
Having already been successful at luring box office gold with Joan Crawford, he now attracted another Golden Age actress once again having cast Barbara Stanwyck as his leading lady. Stanwyck would go on tour with Castle to promote the movie.
“Dreams have no names”
In his macabre, The Night Walker, written by Robert Bloch, Stanwyck brings her characteristically indomitable spirit to her character who manages to nearly keep the lid on her sanity when she has the same dream night after night, seduced by a dream lover (Lloyd Bochner) who may either be a darker force or a phony phantom trying to lure her down a dangerous path, with a scheming bunch of murderous swindlers who proceed to gaslight her. She sees him at the window, on the streets, and eventually at an apartment and at a strange chapel where they are wed.
Stanwyck who is capable of one hell of a full-throated scream, plays Irene Trent, the owner of a beauty salon who is married to a controlling jealous husband Howard Trent (Hayden Rourke), a blind millionaire scientist with the creepiest cold white eyes. Trent invites his lawyer Barry Moreland (Robert Taylor – Stanwyck’s husband in real life ) to listen to a recording of his wife cooing romantically to an unseen ‘other man’. He has been secretly recording her night-time reveries in the boudoir, while she talks in her sleep to her fantasy lover. Trent is trying to get some evidence that she’s been unfaithful to him. Is her lover a dream or is it the handsome Moreland? Trent is a nasty piece of work, who implies that he thinks it’s him. “I wonder who my wife might be dreaming of?”
After Moreland leaves, Trent and Irene have a violent argument. He strikes her with his cane and she runs out of the house. “I know why my dreams seem real, because when I’m awake my life with you is like a nightmare. My lover is only a dream but he’s still more of a man than you.”
Trent sees smoke coming out of this lab and goes up to investigate, there’s an explosion and he is blown to bits. The heat was so intense that it didn’t leave a trace of him.
After the accident, her illusions become more tangible, her dream lover (Lloyd Bochner), may actually exist.
Irene moves into the apartment in the back of her salon. She is haunted by hallucinatory visions, and befriended by Morland, suddenly drawn into a web of deceit until the truth is revealed at the climactic end of the movie. Her dreams become so explicit that she cannot separate between fantasy and reality. One night her dream lover lures her out to a chapel in a bizarre sequence where she participates in her own surreal wedding attended by creepy mannequins. The next day, while driving around the city with Moreland, she catches sight of the places she visited the night before in her waking dream.
With her heady voice and iconic ice-white hair, she is a wintry deity. Stanwyck though a woman in peril is never frail or easy to subdue. Stanwyck was not fond of this film, but she was always the professional.
“Put me in the last fifteen minutes of a picture and I don’t care what happened before. I don’t even care if I was IN the rest of the damned thing – I’ll take it in those last fifteen minutes”
Robert Taylor, Stanwyck, and William Castle.
She went on to appear in several made-for-tv horror movies, The House that Would Not Die 1970, and A Taste of Evil 1971 co-starring Barbara Parkins.
Scob is the face behind the eyes in Franju’s Euro shocker Eyes Without a Face – Les Yeux Sans Visage 1960 She also played Christiane Génessier in The Burning Court 1962.
Franju’s beautiful storytelling is perhaps one of France’s masterpieces of the 1950s. Shot by Cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan(visual effects on Metropolis 1927, The Bloody Brood 1959, The Hustler 1961, Something Wild 1961, Lilith 1964) the camera work is astounding. Also known under its original title as The Horror Chamber of Dr. Fautus. It quickly gained its reputation for its stomach-turning gory. And though it still retains its uncomfortable frissons, what stands out is its sensitivity, especially for Christiane with Edith Scob’s poetic body language and the ability to dance horror. It is both ferocious and tender within the same film.
Louise (Alida Valli), is the assistant to the revered Dr. Genessier ( Pierre Brasseur) She helps him hide the bodies of his victims. The film opens with her dumping the body of a young woman into the Seine. When the police discover her, they see that her face has been peeled off. It is a gruesome site. Dr. Genessier has been experimenting with facial grafts in order to restore his daughter’s face which was disfigured in a car crash. Louise continues to help the doctor imprison another woman, Edna (Juliet Mayniel) whom he conducts a horrifying surgical procedure using a scalpel and forceps he flays the skin from Edna’s face while she is still alive. The doctor is without any empathy as he applies his surgical skill showing no sign of emotion as he mutilates poor Edna. It is the sterility of the scene that brings a heightened level of unease to the moment as if we are sitting in on an actual skin graft during plastic surgery.
One of the hauntingly aesthetic elements of Eyes Without a Face is the mask that Genessier has made from Christianne’s likeness that is an ethereal bone china white that is worn in effect appearing like a ghostly angel with no face, that floats about the interiors of the estate.
Louise takes care of Christianne, brushing her hair, and helping to soothe her melancholia, as one attempt after another, her body rejects the skin grafts. In the end, Christianne turns on her father, setting the latest victim free, along with the caged dogs and doves, and stabbing Louise in the throat symbolic that her companion’s words have all been a betrayal. In deserved retribution, the dogs turn on Genessier and rip him to shreds, I imagine, ripping the flesh from his body.
“The trouble with director Henri-Georges Clouzot is that he tries to knock the audience’s head off. That’s wrong you should twist it off.” Georges Franju
from Boris Karloff’s episode The Closed Cabinet
The Raven 1963, Boris Karloff’s Thriller episodes “The Closed Cabinet’ 1960, and ‘The Watcher’ 1961.
Tura Satana has an immortal warrior attitude, the iconic representation of the best of cult superwomen. She started out as an exotic dancer when she was only 13 years old. She blends martial arts, sensual satire, and a unique sex appeal that makes her an unforgettable expression of killer cunning, and exotic beauty. Satana is a legendary cultural icon of the psychotronic/exploitation film genre. She made an appearance in Our Man Flint 1966 and several of low-budget auteur Ted V. Mikel’s films and a few popular television series of the 1960s. Her younger sister Kim Satana appeared in The Human Duplicator 1965. As sensationalist as her films, her private life didn’t stray far, when she was shot in the stomach in 1973 by a drug addict ex-boyfriend. She didn’t return to acting for another 30 years.
But the film that she will most be remembered for her role as the irreverent Varla is Russ Meyer’s Faster!, Pussycat! Kill Kill! 1965. Three balls-to-the-wall go-go dancers holding a young girl hostage come across a crippled old man living with his two weird sons in the desert. When they learn he’s got a fortune stashed, they conspire to con him out of the money.
She had abandoned her burlesque career when changes in California licensing laws led many club owners to require dancers to perform topless. Satana gave up acting to work in a hospital for four years, then managed a doctor’s office in Hollywood for eight years. She later was a police radio operator for the LAPD. She was in a car accident that broke her back in 1981 and spent the next two years in and out of hospitals, having two major operations and approximately fifteen smaller ones.
When I was dancing burlesque was an art–classy and elegant and requiring talent. I got out of it when it started to become raunchy and lost the art. Now they call it nude dancing, but it’s plain old pornography as far as I’m concerned. They do things on stage that I wouldn’t have even thought of doing.
I started out as an interpretive dancer, but I was offered more money if I took my clothes off, so I did. I started dancing at the age of 13 years old. I became a professional dancer at the age of 15 years old. If the owners of the clubs I had worked in ever knew that I was only 1, I think that they would have had a heart attack.
I took a lot of my anger that had been stored inside of me for many years and let it loose. I helped to create the character Varla [in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 1965] and helped to make her someone that many women would love to be like.
FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL KILL 1965, THE ASTRO ZOMBIES 1968.
One of the most sensual, earthy actresses of all time. Pouty lips, intensely passionate blue eyes, and a voice that drips and lingers in the air, with a warmth and subtle, sentient vitality.
Signoret is one of France’s biggest box office draws. The breakthrough picture that made her an international star was her leading role in Room at the Top 1959 where she plays Alice Aisgil an unhappily-married woman who thinks she has found true love in Lawrence Harvey. She is the first woman to win an Oscar for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” for a non-American film Room at the Top 1959. Hollywood desired to snatch her up during the 1950s but, Signoret was denied a visa because of her progressive political views during the McCarthy era witch hunt.
She is well known as the ruthless, murderess Nicole Horner In Henri-Georges Clouzot’s French psychological horror thriller Diabolique 1955. A film that set the tone for many American thrillers for years to come.
Nicole conspires to murder Christina Delassalle’s (Véra Clouzot) abusive husband, she also happens to be his former lover, the headmaster at an elite boys boarding school. After a a stunning scene where they have drowned him in a bathtub, Christina who has a serious heart condition, becomes haunted by the vision of Michel everywhere. It’s an atmospheric masterpiece highlighting Signoret’s versatility, as one of her signature personas is playing sympathetic goodnatured whores, and liberated women.
Her role as the Countess in Ship of Fools 1965 is perhaps one of her best performances. A film that features an impressive ensemble of actors, including Vivien Leigh. Her character La Condesa is as incredibly moving as it is tragic. SPOILER: Signoret’s sinister role as the eccentric, mysterious Lisa in Curtis Harrington’s Games 1967, is captivating as she manipulates the heroine’s (Ross)sanity and plots their murder. Though Signoret is never more compelling to watch as when she is an authentic and courageous woman, she is splendid as the Diva of deceit!
[on Ship of Fools (1965)] Parts of the film are intentionally unsubtle as life was unsubtle then – rough, tough, incredible, unbelievable, but true. I have a European attitude toward this picture, I suppose. I think it says more than most, a picture that will be seen twice.
Scream of Fear is another tightly wound Hammer suspense thriller by Jimmy Sangster. Wheelchair-bound paraplegic Penny Applebee (Susan Strasberg) was raised by her mother, estranged from her father after her parent’s divorce. When her mother dies, her father summons her to come to the family manor. Once she arrives she is told by her hospitable yet austere stepmother Jane (Ann Todd) whom she has never met. Her father is nowhere to be found but she is informed that he is away on business.
One night she sees a candlelight flickering on in the poolhouse cottage and when she goes to investigate she finds her father propped up in a chair, dead. When she flees in a screaming frenzy, her wheelchair steers itself into the pool.
When they go to investigate Penny’s claims, there is no evidence that he was ever there. Later, again, she sees his dead body in the pool. She begins to suspect that her stepmother and a ‘friend of the family’ the creepy Doctor Pierre Gerard (Christopher Lee) are plotting to drive her insane. The only one who believes that there is something to Penny’s story is Bob, the chauffeur ( Ronald Lewis) Together they try to uncover the plot and must find her father first.
Strasberg is phenomenal, her performance is a subtle portrayal of the edgy but bent on learning the truth Penny, playing the woman-in-peril archetype splendidly.
Susan Strasberg actor of stage, screen, and dramatic television series, is the daughter of Lee Strasberg who founded the Actor’s Studio in New York. Was nominated for Broadway’s 1956 Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
“There’s no such thing as The Method. The term “method-acting” is so much nonsense. There are many methods, many techniques. My father merely used a method of teaching based on the ideas originally propounded by Konstantin Stanislavski self-discipline, how to think out a role and use imagination. That’s all”
Strasberg plays Penny Appleby a wheelchair-bound young woman who ‘returns to her father’s estate after ten years, and although she’s told he’s away, she keeps seeing his dead body on the estate’ in Hammer’s SCREAM OF FEAR 1961 written by Jimmy Sangster and directed by Seth Holt (The Nanny 1965) She also appeared in the beautiful Mickey Terry in THE NAME OF THE GAME IS KILL! 1968. ‘A desert family offers a traveling stranger its hospitality, but the stranger doesn’t realize exactly what they have in store for him’.
Though she had much more prestige as a serious actress, in the horror genre she went on to do a pathetic adaptation of Masterton’s The Manitou in 1978. Interesting novel, a lousy movie.
“Water’s Edge” written by Robert Bloch
Sothern plays a thoroughly loathsome grifter in Lady in a Cage 1964, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode ‘Water’s Edge 1964, and went on to appear in Curtis Harrington’s psychological horror The Killing Kind 1973, and ridiculous The Manitou 1978.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 1962.
Co-stars in The Mad Room 1969 with Shelley Winters. As Ellen, she must now care for her two disturbed younger siblings just released from a mental institution after being locked away as children for the gruesome murder of their parents.
She stars in Two for a Guillotine 1965, where she plays the daughter of a psychotic magician who must stay in his mansion for seven nights in order to inherit his fortune.
Dances her way to her own death in Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom 1960.
HORROR HOTEL 1960. Two years before she co-starred with Boris Karloff in Corridors of Blood 1958.
Blood and Roses 1960.
SCREAM OF FEAR 1961, THRILLER episode Letter to a Lover, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS Episode ‘Sylvia’. She went on to appear in the twisted British horror flick, Beware My Brethren 1972.
Sharon Tate was a rising star in Hollywood, known for her performance in cult guilty pleasure Valley of the Dolls. She was married to director, Roman Polanski, and pregnant at the time of her tragic and brutal slaying in their Los Angeles home in 1969, at the hands of Charles Manson and his savage cult of followers.
Directed by J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear 1962, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes 1972, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud 1975)
This is another film that I will be paying careful attention to as part of my series Sunday Nite Sublime.
Eye of the Devil is an enigmatic forgotten horror film with a surprisingly big budget and a cast of established Hollywood actors.
Predating the more popular yet similarly themed The Wicker Man is based on the story Day of the Arrow by Philip Loraine, French aristocrat Phillipe de Montfaucon (David Niven) is unexplainably summoned back to the family dynasty vineyard in Bellenac after the vineyards have perished for the last three years. He leaves his wife Catherine (Deborah Kerr) puzzled and troubled and with a feeling of dread and apprehension, takes her two young children and follows him to the country estate. There she is caught up in a disturbing cabal of paganism involving human sacrifice.
Sharon Tate as the mesmerizing, inscrutable Odile, like Diana the Huntress seems to glide with bewitching substance. Her facade of beauty hides the dangerous undercurrent and dark secrets belonging to the Montfaucon line, the misleading tranquility of the chateau, and the surrounding countryside.
She and her bow-and-arrow-clad brother Christian (David Hemmings) possess angelic faces that are refracted by their sinister chemistry. Their province is to help along the cult’s barbaric designs.
Odile tries to lure Catherine to her death by falling off the parapets of the castle. It is a dizzying scene, one of many forbidding gothic moments of unbearable suspense in the film.
THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS 1967, and EYE OF THE DEVIL 1966.
Edith Scob and Alida Valli as Louise in Franju’s Eyes Without a Face 1960.
Well known for her leading role in classic noir The Third Man 1949, she had a large presence as the stiff-back, piercing blue-eyed Miss Tanner in Argento’s Suspiria 1977, and during the 1970s also appeared in horror films, Lisa and the Devil 1975 aka The House of Exorcism, The Antichrist 1974, The Cassandra Crossing 1977, and The Killer Nun 1979.
Mamie van Doren
Sexy blonde bombshell of the 50s and 60s is very comfortable for who she is and speaks her mind freely. And though she was considered a sex kitten, she never wanted to depend on a man for anything. She was discovered by Howard Hughes and signed to Universal Studios when she was 18 years old hoping she’d be their Marilyn Monroe.
Though she’d tell you “I have never been a Marilyn Monroe” wannabe. I have always been happy in my own skin!” Hughes cast her in several pictures for RKO. She starred in Untamed Youth in 1957, the Catholic Legion of Decency protested the movie, but that only drew more attention to its racy wow factor and appeared in four other cult exploitation films, High School Confidential 1958, The Beat Generation 1959, where she wound up having an untamed affair with sexy Steve Cochran.
The Big Operator 1959, and Sex Kittens Go to College 1960. In In 1963, she posed twice for Playboy magazine to promote her film 3 Nuts in Search of a Blog 1964 though she was never a Playmate.
During the Vietnam War, she did tours for U.S. troops in Vietnam for three months in 1968, and again in 1970. In addition to USO shows, she visited hospitals, including the wards of amputees and burn victims.
“I have a couple of favorite roles: Penny Lowe in Untamed Youth 1957, and Peggy DeFore in Teacher’s Pet 1958. It didn’t hurt playing opposite Clark Gable. One of my favorite movies is Born Reckless (1958), which I just saw for the first time on TCM’s retrospective of my movies. Incidentally Born Reckless is my favorite film of hers. It is a wonderful little gem, and she shines in it and made me a big fan of hers. She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.
“Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield and I were so different from each other. I was doing very young movies and Marilyn, who was ahead of me, was doing a lot of homogenized movies that weren’t quite as wild as the ones I was doing. Jayne was more of a character of herself. I took my acting very seriously. I did over 40 films and naturally some of them were called B-movies because the woman was at the top of the billing. Women couldn’t star in their own movies.”
Sex symbols defy definition. I have often tried to define it myself. A sex symbol becomes a code for everyone’s erotic fantasy. These codes are very perishable in popular culture. For every Jean Harlow, Mae West or Marilyn Monroe there are scores of girls – and boys – who never made the cut. If a sex symbol can survive more than a few years, they are very powerful. I am flattered to still be thought of in such a way
The Navy vs the Night Monsters 1966, Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women 1968.
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes 1963, Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode ‘Make My Death Bed’, The Invaders 1967 episode ‘The Leeches’.
As Stephanie Bax the high-priestess in The Witches 1966. Walsh also appeared in Stage Fright 1950, Cast a Dark Shadow 1955 and in the 60s she was in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ‘I Spy’ 1961, A Study in Terror 1965 and a particularly creepy episode ‘the Last Visitor of Journey to the Unknown as the ominous Landlady Mrs. Joan Walker co-starring with Patty Duke as the woman in peril.
Twisted Nerve 1968. She went on to do Frenzy 1972 and co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in the psychological horror thriller Night Watch 1973. You’d also recognize her as Damian’s hell-sent nurse in The Omen 1976.
As Arlene Galway in Star Trek The Original Series 1967 episode The Deadly Years.
Spider Baby or The Maddest Story Ever Told 1967, and Boris Karloff’s Anthology series Thriller episode ‘Parasite Mansion’ she plays a traumatized young Lollie Harrod plagued by a malevolent poltergeist.
Boris Karloff’s Thriller episode ‘Parasite Mansion’.
Film noirs-The City that Never Sleeps 1953, as meek George Peatty’s (Elisha Cook)conniving two-timing wife Sherry Peatty in The Killing 1956 and The Narrow Margin 1952, she was a poster girl for 50s B movies like Swamp Women 1956, Cat-Women of the Moon 1953, and The Girl in Black Stockings 1957.
SUDDENLY THEY WERE HUMAN SHELLS…THEIR BODIES AND BRAINS DESTORYED BY SUPER-MINDS OF ANOTHER WORLD!
The Day Mars Invaded Earth is a cheap yet compelling B&W science fiction/ horror flick starring Kent Taylor, a Cape Canaveral rocket scientist Dr. Fielding who must fight alien doppelgängers who used his probe on Mars to transmit their intelligence to Earth, in order to prevent the invasion of their planet. The doubles look like phantoms with sinister ghostly stares at first until they use their powers to make their target hosts spontaneously combust. Windsor plays Fielding’s stoic wife Claire who is menaced by her family’s lookalike invaders.
Chamber of Horrors 1966, The Day Mars Invaded Earth 1962. In the 70s she appeared in the made-for-television mini-series, Salem’s Lot 1979.
I am working on a tribute to Shelley Winters because she is one of my favorite actors of all time. I will be doing a feature on her at The Last Drive-in called The Bloodiest Mama of Them All.
Shelley is an ebullient goddess, an evocative, sexy -once bleached blonde- bombshell who took on diverse supporting roles in romantic comedies, noir, melodramas, and cult classics. Shelley Winters wasn’t afraid to delve into the more aggressively quirky and profane performances, letting it all hang out.
Universal’s voluptuous Shelley Winters began her long career starting out as a whiny, trashy yet outré charismatic sex pot. If you’re interested just read both of her outrageous exposé autobiographies – Shelley also known as Shirley and Shelley II – The Middle of My Century.
She started out working on Broadway and then was cast in bit parts until her breakthrough role as the doomed party girl waitress Pat Kroll destined to be strangled by the deranged thespian Ronald Colman in Cukor’s A Double Life 1947 and in 1951 plays the unfortunate Alice Tripp in George Steven’s A Place in the Sun.
This established her in supportive roles playing assorted either sensationalist or common girl archetypes – of sordid dramatis personae. Think of her as Bubbles (the ideal name that makes the point) in Tonight and Every Night 1945.
She portrayed many incarnations of femmes in film noir, the flashy, black stockings and cheap fur floozies, and plain working-class gals like her role as Richard Conte’s dutiful Brenda Martingale in film noir’s Cry of the City 1948, Larceny 1948 with Duryea, and the gang moll in William Castle’s Johnny Stool Pigeon 1949 also starring the criminally underrated actor. Winters appeared in three films with Dan Duryea, including Winchester ’73 in 1950.
Shelley co-starred with noir anti-hero John Garfield as the psychopath who holds modest Peg Dobbs hostage in He Ran All the Way 1951 and played Marie Garson in I Died a Thousand Times, and The Big Knife in 1955. She carries over the plain struggling working-class girlfriend, Lorry, who supports her downtrodden racist boyfriend Robert Ryan in Odds Against Tomorrow 1959.
Perhaps the role that began her reputation as a serious actress was that of the pathetic and naive Alice Tripp in A Place in the Sun 1951, wherein an uncomfortable scene is drowned by Montgomery Clift who is chasing after socialite Elizabeth Taylor and needs to get pregnant Alice out of the way. The role earned Shelley her first Oscar Nomination.
But this notoriety didn’t last long as she was dropped back into boiling water of playing superficial clichés once again, in films like Frenchie 1950 co-starring with real-life best friend Farley Granger, as Bliny Gay in Phone Call from a Stranger 1952, and as Fran Davis in Playgirl 1954.
Speaking of water, Shelley would meet her fate in the water three times in her acting career. In A Place in the Sun, in The Poseidon Adventure and Night of the Hunter… Roger Ebert referred to her as The Queen of the Watery Demise.
After Shelley got fed up with these kinds of parts, she left Hollywood in the dust and moved to New York and joined the Actor’s Studio studying under Lee Strasberg, later becoming a highly respected dramatic coach of the method. This is where she met her third husband actor Anthony Franciosa with whom she had a tumultuous marriage. She became a critically acclaimed stage actress starring in the production of A Hatful of Rain in 1955. After that, she earned recognition including her theatrical version of Blanche Dubois in Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire 1955.
That same year, she made the decision to transition into more unconventional roles, one such is the doomed Willa Harper, psychopathic killer Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter. She won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the strident Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank 1959. Her fate was sealed as vulgar ‘bad mamas’, trashy courtesans, Madames, loud and flashy dames, ’blowsy matrons’ and ruthless lowlifes in films like James Mason’s love-deprived wife Charlotte Haze in Kubrick’s Lolita 1962, The Balcony 1963, and A Patch of Blue 1965 for which she won a second Oscar for her despicable character Rose-Ann D’Arcey who is an abusive mother to her blind daughter Elizabeth Hartman. As Fay Estabrook in Harper 1966 and Wild in the Streets 1968 as Daphne Flatow.
Eventually, the 1970s rolled in and she carved out her role as the bloody Diva Ma Barker in Corman’s Bloody Mama 1970.
In the 1960s Shelley Winters maintains the incarnation of her ballsy side as Mrs. Armstrong in The Mad Room 1969 a re-iteration of the play Ladies in Retirement written by Reginald Denham, Edward Percy, and screenplay by Garrett Fort. Ladies in Retirement was adapted onto the big screen in 1941 starring Ida Lupino and Elsa Lanchester. In this gruesome horror flick, Shelley plays a coarse bourgeoisie who gets slashed to pieces -literally-while caught in a web of psychopathic when two disturbed children are released from a mental institution and come to live with Armstrong, years after they butchered their parents to death in a bloody rage.
While Mrs. Armstrong is utterly abrasive she is not the menacing presence in the film. It is the peculiar George and Mandy we are supposed to fear. When Gladys grows suspicious she starts to nose around and gets hacked to pieces for her trouble.
It’s a horror thriller filled with gory blood-smeared walls and severed body parts and Shelley Winters’s masterful way she chews up the screen with her ability to push the boundaries of performance conformity. The film possesses that queasy atmosphere that started to pop up at the end of the ’60s and led into the early 1970s within the subgenre of unsettling psychological horror. The Mad Room is more or less a modern Gothic exposition with a post-Hollywood veneer of dis-ease, sickly affluence, and a bourgeois preoccupation with self-indulgence.
But in the place of classical horror, there is no subtle hint of crimes, this time we see in vivid color the bodies hacked to death, and the insanity of two siblings more blatant.
Winters will be featured prominently in horror queens of the 1970s as she went on to appear in a slew of horror films…
The 70s saw a lot of Winter’s face in cult exploitation and horror films. The iconical vulgarian Oedipal gangster in cult classic Bloody Mama 1970. Included is her performance as the emotionally disturbed Helen in Curtis Harrington’s macabre and at times grotesque What’s the Matter with Helen? 1971, the made for tv movie Revenge! 1971 co-starring Stuart Whitman,
In the 1970s Shelley Winters played the demented Mrs. Forrest who lures little children to her creepy mansion in Curtis Harrington’s take on Hansel and Gretel in his dark fairytale Who Ever Slew Auntie Too? 1972, the bizarro Something to Hide 1972, she plays an over the top lesbian madame gangster in the cult film-Cleopatra Jones 1973, satanist The Devil’s Daughter 1973, Poor Pretty Eddie 1975, In Roman Polanski’s surreal she plays the sinister Concierge in The Tenant 1977. She appeared in the schlocky horror film Tentacles 1977, made for tv movie, The Initiation of Sarah 1978 where she plays the head of the coven. And in the ultra psychedelic The Visitor 1979.
Mrs. Armstrong in The Mad Room 1969.
Above two images: Harrington’s What’s the Matter With Helen? 1971,
In the 60s she showed up as a villainess in the fantasy superhero television series BATMAN she brought her brand of bigger-than-life performance as MA PARKER.
The Flesh Eaters 1964, The Outer Limits 1964 episode ‘Expanding Human’, and I Saw What You Did 1965.
Pretty Poison 1968- When a mentally disturbed young man Dennis Pitt (Anthony Perkins) an outlier of society, with a pathological fantasy world, tells a pretty blonde that he’s a secret agent, she exploits his delusion.
Released from an institution he gets a regular job at a lumber yard. And is enamored with the All-American Cheerleader squeaky clean apple pie Sue Ann Stepaneck (Tuesday Weld) who just might be even more disturbed than he is. Weld gives a stunningly original performance as a cunning, icy sociopath who has plans to use Dennis for her own homicidal means.
He informs her that he’s working undercover for the CIA and enlists her in helping him on his case. As she manipulates his vulnerabilities into committing acts of dangerous vandalism and eventually murder, she is in control of this Folie à deux.
She’s such a sweet girl. He’s such a nice boy. They’ll scare the hell out of you.
Did you ever see two kids like Dennis and Sue Ann? We think not…
…Wait till you see what they did to his aunt – the night watchman – to her mother. What brought a nice kid like Sue Ann to a shocking moment like this?
Raquel with John Richardson in One Million Years B.C. 1966.
Lisabeth Karnstein / Adele Karnstein in The Long Hair of Death 1965, An Angel for Satan 1966, War Between the Planets 1966. In 1975 she starred in The Police Are Blundering in the Dark.
Picture Mommy Dead 1966, Batman series – her role as Minerva 1960. In the 1970s she appeared in the television series Night Gallery episode ‘The Painted Mirror’ 1971.
This is your EverLovin’ Joey sayin’ I’m always a bridesmaid never a Bride! here at The Last Drive-In! See ya at the snack bar, save me some popcorn… Get ready for – Barbara Steele the ultimate Scream Queen!