Monday, February 1, 2021

Barbara Steele: Gothic Beauty, Italian Horror and More

During the 1960's, British actress Barbara Steele, earned the title of the "Queen of Italian Horror Films". 


Barbara Steele was born on December 29, 1937, in Birkenhead, in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. Which until 1974, was considered part of Cheshire, and it is that community that is normally mentioned in her biographies. 

Initially Steele wanted to be a artist and started her art painting studies at the Chelsea School of Art, now the Chelsea College of Art. 

Later, she went to France to further study art at the Sorbonne, actually the University of Paris.

However, this all changed in 1957, when Steele changed her direction and joined an acting repertory company. Her first on-screen appearance, was in an episode of the British television crime series "Dial 999", on August 10, 1958, entitled "Missing Persons". Barbara Steele had 10th billing as "Toni Miller" and the series starred Robert Beatty.

Buried in a "Very Small and Minor Role", without credit, released on November 19, 1958, was Barbara Steele's first American appearance. This was in the Cary Grant and Sophia Loren comedy, "Houseboat". Most of her biographies misstate the actresses first American appearance, as being in the 1960 television series, "Adventures in Paradise", December 12, 1960, in the episode entitled, "Daughter of Illusion". In which the actress had the leading female role of, "Dolores".

However, between "Houseboat" and "Adventures in Paradise" were seven other roles. Two were without credit, and one with her scenes deleted. Six are British productions and one was Italian, the motion picture that changed the life of Barbara Steele.

I am going to describe the movie in more detail than others, because of its importance to Steele's career.

LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO (THE MASK OF THE DEMON) aka: THE MASK OF SATAN released in Italy on August 12, 1960

The motion picture would come to the United States, "February 15, 1961, as "Black Sunday".

The motion picture was Directed by Italian Horror Master Mario Bava. Bava had been Directing since 1946, but also, he had been a Cinematographer since 1939, a Special Effects Artist since 1946 and a Screenplay writer since 1957.

Mario Bava was working on Italian Peplum (Sword and Sandal) motion pictures when he made this feature film. 

For those of my readers interested in Mario Bava and his film work. My article, "Dario Argento and Mario Bava: Two Italian Masters" will be found at:

The screenplay was based upon an 1835 story by Russian author Nikolay Gogol, entitled, "Viy". Which was about three men encountering a beautiful witch.

Ennio De Concini, would be involved with 164 screenplays between 1948 and 1998. Among those are the Kirk Douglas, 1954, "Ulisse (Ulysses)", based upon Homer's "The Odyssey", and the same years, "Attila", that starred Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren.

De Concini, also worked on the screenplay for the Claude Rains, 1961, "Il Pianenta Degi Uomini Spenti (The Planet of the Extinguished Men)" aka: "Battle of the Worlds" and the same years "Divorzio All'Italiana (Divorce Italian Style)".

Mario Serandrei, wasn't really a screenplay writer. He only wrote six and this was his last. Serandrei was actually a Film Editor and his workload between 1931 and 1976, totaled 276 feature films, including this picture.

Also, contributing to the original Italian screenplay, without credit, were, Mario Bava, Marcello Coscia, and Dino De Palma.

When the motion picture was turned into American International Pictures, "Black Sunday". The English language dialogue was written by George Higgins. Higgins only wrote the dialogue for one other film and this was the Cameron Mitchell, "Giulio Cesare, Il Conquistatore Delle Gallie (Julius Caesar the Conqueror of Gauls)". When it came to the United States, the English language title was "Caesar the Conqueror".

Barbara Steel portrayed both "Princess Asa Vajda" and "Katia Vajda". 

Above, "Katia" and below the Vampire Witch, "Asa".

John Richardson portrayed "Dr. Andrej Gorobec", in the Italian original, and, "Dr. Andreas Gorobec", in the English language dub. Prior to this picture, John Richardson appeared eight times on-screen and only one with screen credit.

In 1958's "Bachelor of Hearts", he had 12th billing and at 15th, was Barbara Steele. In the 1959 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's, 1935, "The 39 Steps", both Richardson and Steele had roles, so small, that neither received on-screen credit.

However, this feature film was John Richardson's second on-screen credited role. England's, Hammer Films, would cast Richardson in both their, 1965, version of H. Rider Haggard's adventure novel, "SHE", co-starring him with Ursula Andress and Peter Cushing. Followed by Hammer and Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen's, remake of Hal Roach's, 1940, "One Million B.C.". The new titled was 1966's, "One Million Years B.C.". Richardson was in the Victor Mature role and Rachel Welsh was in the Carole Landis role.

Neither Steele's, or Richardson's voices were heard in either the Italian original production, or the English dubbed release.

Andrea Checchi portrayed "Dr. Choma Kruvajan", in the Italian original, and, "Dr. Thomas Kruvajan", in the English language dub. Italian actor Checchi's acting career spans 1933 through 1977 for 184 roles. Starting in 1965, Checchi became a regular in Italian television mini-series, but prior appeared in other films. These included, 1955's "Rommel's Treasure", starring British actress Dawn Adams and Swiss actor Paul Hubschmid. Who had used the name, Paul Christian, to play "Professor Tom Nesbitt", in Ray Harryhausen's, 1953, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms". Another of Andrea Checchi's films, was about a character created on film by German film maker, Fritz Lang. This was part of a very large film series and was, 1960's, "The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse". That cast also had Dawn Adams, but with Peter van Eyck and Gert Frobe, "James Bond's "Goldfinger".

Ivo Garrani portrayed "Prince Vajda". Tnhe Italian actor started his on-screen in 1952, and appeared with Paul Hubschmid, in the 1958, Italian Science Fiction film, "The Day the Sky Exploded". Garrani was seen in several Steve Reeves Peplum motion pictures, starting with 1958's "Hercules".

Arturo Dominici portrayed "Igor Javutich" in the Italian original, and, "Javuto", in the English language dub. Dominici appeared as an actor in 83 roles between 1947 and 1987. However, he voiced dubbed non-Italian actors between 1959 and 1986, 184 times.

Enrico Oliveri portrayed "Constantine Vajda". This was his last film as an actor, out of 20.

Above Ivo Garrani, Barbara Steele and Enrico Oliveri.

The movie is filmed in glorious black and white with deep shadows. It opens, in 1630 Moldavia, as the vampiric witch, "Princess Asa Vadja", and her lover, "Igor Javutich", are being sentenced to death by her brother. Both will have the "Mask of Satan", containing metal spikes on the inside, nailed to their faces and then their bodies will be burned at the stake. "Javutich" has the mask already in place and "Asa" is being whipped with a cat-of-nine-tails.


Before her mask is placed, "Asa", curses her brother and all his descendants.

The villagers now prepare to burn the two at the stake, but a sudden, strange rain, appears and this prevents the burning. "Igor Javutich" is buried in unconsecrated ground and "Asa" is placed inside a stone coffin with a thick glass window, at her eye level, and a crucifix visible to her through eternity.

The screenplay now moves two centuries into the future. 

Traveling to a medical conference are "Dr. Kruvajan" and his assistant "Dr. Gorobec". However, the wheel on their carriage strangely breaks down opposite the crypt containing "Princess Asa Vajda". While, the driver is fixing the wheel, the two wander over to the crypt, seeing it open, enter.

The two see "Asa's" coffin with its crucifix and look through the glass at the remains of the Princess.

Suddenly, a large bat appears, starts to go for the two doctors and "Dr. Kruvajan" shoots at it. This results in the crucifix being broken and part of the stone breaking some of the glass. When "Dr. Kruvajan" looks at the damage, he slightly cuts his finger, bandages it, and leaves with his blood now dripping onto the lips of "Princess Asa".

Outside, the two doctors immediately meet "Katia". Who lives with her father and brother in a nearby castle. The two doctor's now leave for the local inn.

While this was taking place, "Dr. Kruvajan's" blood has awakened the dead "Princess Asa". Who is the exact twin of "Katia" and now, telepathically, speaks to her lover, "Igor Javutich", to come to her. 

After which, from one of the many secret passages of the castle, "Javutich" now appears to "Prince Vajda", who becomes, literally, paralyzed from fear.

"Constantine", discovers his father and a servant is sent to get one of the two doctors, "Katia" told him, are staying at the end. Of course, the servant is killed and replaced by "Javutich". Who gets, specially, "Dr. Kruvajan", and takes him to the castle.

"Dr. Kruvajan" is escorted into the castle and then into a passageway that ends inside the crypt at "Princess Asa's" tomb. She needs the doctor's blood to continue her regeneration and the trading of places with "Katia".

Telepathically, "Asa" takes over the will of "Dr. Kruvajan", he comes closer and kisses her on the lips.

The now slave to "Princess Asa", returns to the castle and is taken to his patient, "Prince Vajda". "Kruvajan" does a cursory examinations of the Prince and then leaves, without giving him much assistance, but strangely, does order the crucifix above his bed removed to calm him down.

Back at the Inn, the following morning, "Dr. Gorobec", finds that "Dr. Kruvajan" has not returned from the castle. This puzzles "Gorobec" and he  goes there. Speaking to a young servant girl, "Sonya", played by Germana Dominici, he asks who brought "Dr. Kruvajan" to the castle and she points to a painting near the fireplace of "Javutich". This frightens "Katia", as she reveals that the man in the painting was killed for witchcraft centuries before.

As they discuss "Sonya's" words and the man in the painting, "Dr. Gorobec" and "Princess Katia", start to become closer to each other.

"Gorobec" goes to a local priest about what he's been told. They go to "Javutich's" grave and find its been disturbed. Digging up the coffin, the two find "Dr, Kruvajan's" body, and the priest drives a metal nail through his eye. Thereby, according to local legend, killing the vampire he's become.

That night, "Katia's" father is visited by "Javutich" and murdered. While "Katia" is beside her father's coffin, he rises up and warns her about "Princess Asa". He will eventually be destroyed in the fireplace that hides an entrance into the passageway to "Asa's" crypt.


The climax comes, as "Javutich" takes "Katia" into the passageway to "Princess Asa". "Constantine" fights "Javutich", in the same passageway, as the other is returning. A pit with spikes at the bottom, opens up and "Katia's" brother falls into it, However, he is still hanging onto the edge and with his last bit of strength, pulls "Javutich" in with him.

Returning to the castle, "Dr. Gorobec" has discovered the entrance to the passageway through the fireplace. While, in town, the priest is getting the villagers together and they head for "Princess Asa's" crypt.

In the crypt, "Gorobec" is confronted by two "Katia's". One is lying on a slab and appears drained of blood. The other, is standing and apparently healthy and wearing a long black robe. Each claim to be the real "Katia".


The priest and villagers arrive, start to go toward the women on the slab, but are stopped by "Dr, Gorobec". He turns to the "Katia" standing and pulls away her robe, revealing her insides, still not completely changed and that she is the real "Princess Asa".

The real "Katia", on the slab, now appears to have died. The priest and the villagers drag the screaming "Princess Asa" outside and tie her to a stake. As she burns to death, "Katia" regains her life, and both she and "Andrej" leave the crypt together.

Two points about the English language release of "The Mask of the Demon" as "Black Sunday". 

First, the American censors, to protect our morality, removed two seconds of the original Italian production. Those two seconds are "Dr. Kruvajan's" lips touching "Princess Asa's" in the kiss scene. American's do not kiss corpses. 

Second, as a gimmick, American International Pictures, released the film with a requirement that no one under 14 years of age was permitted to see it without an adult.

On December 16, 1960, Director Don Siegel's Western, "Flaming Star", starring Elvis Presley, premiered in New York City. However, Barbara Steele's scenes, as "Roslyn Pierce", were deleted before release.

THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM released August 12, 1961

This was Producer Roger Corman's second entry in his Edgar Allan Poe film series with a screenplay by Richard Matheson. Who wrote the novels "The Incredible Shrinking Man", "I Am Legend" and "The Legend of Hell House".

My article, "Richard Matheson: The Screenplays and Treatments" will be found at:

Vincent Price portrayed both "Nicholas Medina" and "Sebastian Medina". He had just been seen in Jules Verne's, 1961, "Master of the World", from a Matheson screenplay. In 1964, Price would appear in the first version of "I Am Legend", entitled "The Last Man on Earth".

John Kerr portrayed "Francis Barnard". Kerr should have been a major film star, but things didn't go that way and he was mainly seen on television. However, besides this feature were two major "A" list motion pictures. These were the controversial, 1956, "Tea and Sympathy", in which he co-starred with Deborah Kerr, no relation, and the 1958, motion picture version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "South Pacific".

Barbara Steel portrayed "Elizabeth Barnard Medina". 

Luana Anders portrayed "Catherine Medina". MGM Bike messenger, with Jack Nicholson, Anders, started out on television in 1955. Just before this feature, in one of her few motion pictures, she was in the 1961, Horror Romance, "Night Tide", starring Dennis Hopper. She followed this picture with Roger Corman's, 1963, "The Young Racers", and the same years film, for Corman, Directed and Written by an unknown, Francis Ford Coppola, "Dementia 13". In 1969, Luana Anders, portrayed "Lisa", in "Easy Rider", starring Hopper and Peter Fonda.


Antony Carbone portrayed "Doctor Charles Leon". Besides this film, Carbone was in Roger Corman's, 1959, "A Bucket of Blood", 1960's, "Last Woman on Earth" and 1961's "Creature from the Haunted Sea". 

Richard Matheson, as he would do with several Poe stories, starting with 1960's "House of Usher", took a one person narrative and turned it into a feature film. The setting in 1547, Spain, and "Francis Barnard" comes to visit his brother-in-law, "Nicholas", and sister "Elizabeth".

There he meets his brother-in-law's sister, "Catherine" and "Dr. Leon".

The basic plot has "Leon" and "Elizabeth", as secret lovers, plotting to have "Nicholas" declared insane. So she can take over the control of his fortune and the castle. Knowing, "Catherine", would have no claim to it, because of "Elizabeth's" marriage. Their plan is to get gentle "Nicholas" to start thinking he's his evil ancestor, "Sebastian". 

However, their plan goes astray, as "Nicholas", does go insane and imagines he's "Sebastian". Who was one of the inquisitors during the "Spanish Inquisition" and has, in the castle's lower areas, the titled,  "Pit and Pendulum".

Now, "Nicholas-Sebastian", relives the treachery of "Sebastian's" wife and physician lover. He proceeds to kill the doctor, put his wife in an iron maiden and his brother-in-law in the pit.

"Francis" is rescued by "Catherine" and one of the servants, as "Nicholas" falls to his death in the pit. "Catherine", then locks the door to the torture chamber forever. What, the three do not realize, is "Elizabeth", is still locked in the iron maiden, alive, in a great ending shot of Barbara Steele.

Steele appeared, November 14, 1961, on American televisions, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", in the episode, "Beta Delta Gamma". Next, it was back to Italy, and what would become a series of Horror motion pictures.

The first was "L'orribile Segreto Del Dr. Hitchcock (Dr. Hitchcock's Horrible Secret)", released in Italy on August 23, 1962. It would come to the United States, on December 2, 1964, as "The Horrible Dr. Hichcock". 

Barbara Steele's next film, never came to the United States, and was an adventure story set in 16th Century Italy. A German usurper wants to assassinate the Pope and takes control of the country. The picture was entitled, "Il Capitano Di Ferro (The Iron Captain)", and was released in Italy on, October 26, 1962.

On January 2, 1963, at the Acapulco Film Festival in Mexico, Italian Director Federico Fellini, premiered his future "Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Motion Picture", "8 1/2".
With 6th billing as, "Gloria Morin", was Barbara Steele.

"8 1/2" would be followed by a comedy romance and then came:

LO SPETTRO (THE SPECTRUM) released March 30, 1963

The movie would come to the United States, on February 18, 1965, as "The Ghost".

The feature film was Directed by Riccardo Freda, using the American sounding name of Robert Hampton. A trick many European film makers and actors used during the 1960's and 1970's. The point was to make the audience believe these were American made movies. During the 1960's, Freda, Directed several Italian Peplum feature films.

The story and screenplay was by Oreste Biancoli, using the American sounding name of Robert Davidson. The concept is based upon French Director, Writer and Producer, Henri-Georges Clouzot's, classic 1955 thriller, "Les Diaboliques", that starred, Simone Signoret and Vera Clouzot.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Margaret Hitchcock". 

Peter Baldwin portrayed "Dr. Charles Livingston". American Baldwin had appeared in the William Holden classic prisoner of war film, 1953's, "Stalag 17" and had uncredited roles in both Producer George Pal's, 1953, "Houdini", and Cecil B. DeMille's, 1956, "The Ten Commandments". He had small roles in both 1958's, overlooked Science Fiction picture, the "Space Children", and, "I Married a Monster from Outer Space". This picture was one of three, Peter Baldwin made in Italy, and afterwards, he became an American television director.

Elio Jotta, using the American sounding name of Leonard G. Elliot, portrayed "Dr. John Hitchcock". Jotta was mainly an Italian television actor that appeared in several historical mini-series.

Above Elio Jotta is seated and Peter Baldwin, standing.

The switch from the French screenplay, is instead of having the husband being murdered by his wife and mistress. In this screenplay, it is the wife and her lover. The idea that the dead husband is seeking revenge, remains, but in  Oreste Biancoli's screenplay. There is a second motive for his murder, a large amount of money locked in a safe that only "Dr. Hitchcock" has the key.

The two murderers remember the key was in the coat the doctor was wearing, when buried. They go to the crypt to search the body and find that the body is missing. That and other events, leads to the idea that the husband's Ghost is now out for revenge.

This is not a bad movie, but I suggest my reader watch the French original and for that reason. I will not reveal the ending here.

Barbara Steele had 10th billing in a 1963 romantic love story and then appeared in three Italian comedies. "I Maniaci", released March 28, 1964, was a series of brief, sexual skits, and Steele appeared in two of them. Her popularity is shown by the Italian poster for the feature.

The next feature for Barbara Steele is still a favorite of mine. Although the story moves slowly, it is the imagery that catches the viewer.

DANZA MACABRA (MACABRE DANCE) released in Rome, Italy, on July 4, 1964

The motion picture would come to the United States, on July 29, 1964, as "Castle of Blood"

The motion picture was Directed by Antonio Margheriti, using the American sounding name of Anthony Dawson. Margheriti, Directed actor Claude Rains' last feature film, 1961's, "Il Planeta Degi Uomini Spenti (The Planet of Extinguished Men)". That came to the United States with the misleading title of the "Battle of the Worlds", in 1963. In 1963, Margheriti also Directed, "La Vergine Di Norimberga (The Virgin of Nuremberg)". That, to again protect American morality, had to have the title changed, because it used the word "Virgin". The movie would come to the United States, in 1965, as "Horror Hotel", starring Christopher Lee and Rossana Podesta.

The pictures screenplay was based upon Edgar Allan Poe's, "Dance Macabre". It was co-written by Giovanni Grimaldi, using the French sounding name of Jean Grimaud and, by Bruno Corbucci, using the American sounding name of Gordon Wilson, Jr. Both writers worked in all film genres in Italy.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Elisabeth Blackwood". 

Georges Riviere portrayed "Alan Foster". French actor Riviere's second feature with the 1953, Argentine Horror movie, "El Vampiro Negro (The Black Vampire)", with 6th billing. Until the 1959 feature film, "John Paul Jones", starring Robert Stack, George Riviere, made motion pictures in either Argentina, or France. Afterwards, he mainly made films in his native France.

Silvano Tranquilli, using the American sounding name of Montgomery Glenn, portrayed "Edgar Allan Poe". Tranqiilli had portrayed "Malcom", in a 1960 Italian television version of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Using the name of Montgomery Glenn, the actor was in 1960's, "The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock".

The story has "Alan Foster" enter the "Four Devils Inn" and, there, meets "Lord Thomas Blackwood", played by Umberto Raho, using the American sounding name of Raul H. Newman, and "Edgar Allan Poe". The three start a conversation and Poe claims his stories on based on his own eyewitness accounts of the supernatural and not literary fiction. "Foster" is skeptical of what "Poe" is saying and "Lord Blackwood" challenges the skeptic to spend the night in the "Blackwood Castle". Reminding "Foster", that it is, "All Soul's Eve", and the ghosts of the castle have murdered many people who dared to enter. "Alan Foster" accepts the challenge and "Poe" and "Blackwood" take him there and give him one last warning, before he decides to walk through the gate.


Once inside,"Foster" meets several people, are they alive or dead, and is shown to a room. 

Later, as he moves through the castle, meeting different people, "Foster" is still not convinced they're ghosts. One of the people that "Foster" meets, is "Elisabeth Blackwood", and he starts to have feelings for her as the night progresses. 

"Foster", now watches, as the castle's occupants deaths are repeated during the night, but he still believe "Elizabeth" is a real person and so are some of the others.

Finally, "Foster" is told that to survive, the ghosts must have the blood of the living, but "Elisabeth" wants to help him and tells "Alan" that all he needs to do is walk out the gate he entered.

"Elisabeth" accompanies him into the court yard as it nears morning. They reach a spot near the gate, but "Elisabeth" says she cannot go any farther. Then she falls to the ground and disappears, as "Alan Foster" realizes he is staring at her grave marker.

"Alan" walks through the gate, relaxes that he is now safe, as the gate swings shut from a sudden wind and he is pierced by one of the gate spikes. "Alan Foster" dies dripping his blood to feed the ghosts. 

"Edgar Alan Poe" and "Lord Thomas Blackwood" arrive to find his body.


Next, Barbara Steele appeared in an Italian-West German, Crime Drama, 1964's, "3 Per Una Rapina (Three for a Robbery)". Which was released in Italy during August 1964, but never came to the United States.

The film was followed by a French-Italian, Comedy Thriller, with Barbara Steele getting 13th billing and another Italian Comedy at 16th billing. Then the actress returned to another Horror film.

I LUNGHI CAPELLI DELLA MORTE (THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH) released in Italy on April 30, 1965

The English language dub came to the United Kingdom in October 1967, but there is no United States release information for either version.

Antonio Margheriti, as Anthony Dawson, Directed the feature film. 

The story was by Ernesto Gastaldi using the American sounding name of Julian Berry. Gastaldi came up with the story and screenplay, 1960's,  "L'amante Del Vampiro (The Vampire's Lover)", that became, 1965's, "The Vampire and the Ballerina". In 1961, he did the same for, "Lycanthropus", that became, 1963's, "Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory".

The screenplay was by Tonino Valerii, using the American sounding name of Robert Bohr. In 1964, he wrote, "La Cripta E L'incubo (The Crypt and the Nightmare)", that became 1965's, "Crypt of the Vampire", starring Christopher Lee.

Barbara Shelley portrayed "Helen Karstein" and "Mary Karnstein".

Giorgio Ardisson, using the American sounding name of George Ardisson, portrayed "Baron Kurt Humboldt". Among his films. the Steve Reeves, 1960, "Morgan the Pirate", the Christopher Lee and Reg Park, "Hercules in the Haunted World", Directed by Mario Bava, 1962's, "Zorro in the Court of Spain", as "Zorro".

Halina Zalewska portrayed "Adele Karnstein" and "Lisabeth Karnstein". Zalewska's second on-screen appearance was in Director Luchino Visconti's, 1963 epic, "The Leopard", starring Burt Lancaster, Alan Delon and Claudia Cardinale. She followed this major International success with 1963's, "Hercules, Samson and Ulyesses" and 1964's, "Triumph of the Seven Gladiators".

In a 15th Century village, "Adele Karnstein", is accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. "Adele's" older daughter, "Helen", knows the real reason for her mother's death was "Count Franz Humboldt's", played by Giuliano Raffaelli, sexual desire for her mother that was refused.

"Helen" confronts the Count and is murdered.

"Adele's" younger daughter, "Lisabeth", is taken to live in Castle Humboldt. When she grows up, "Lisabeth" is forced to marry the now dead Count's nephew, "Kurt".

After the marriage vows, a deadly plague appears and sweeps through the land. During a fierce thunderstorm, a strange woman appears, named "Mary", who strongly resembles "Helen",

Now, "Mary" starts to avenge the death of "Adele".

"Kurt" becomes obsessed with "Mary", and for good reason, if he had known the truth about who see is as the "Helen" takes revenge on the last of the "Humboldt" family.

5 TOMBE PER UN MEDIUM (5 GRAVES FOR A MEDIUM) released in Italy on June 23, 1965

The motion picture would come to the United States in April 1966, as "Terror-Creatures from the Grave".

The motion picture was Directed by Massimo Pupillo, using the American sounding name of Ralph Zucker. Pupillo, only has 9 films as a Director, but they include 1965's, "Il Boia Scarlatto (The Scarlet Executioner)". That came to the United States in 1967, as, "Bloody Pit of Horror", and starred Mickey Hargitay in his last year of marriage to actress Jayne Mansfield. For that film, Pupillo, called himself Max Hunter and used the same name for the Spaghetti Western, 1967's, "Django Kills Softly".

The story was supposed to be from Edgar Allan Poe, but the English language poster above, reveals it was in the "Macabre Tradition of Edgar Allan Poe". Whatever the real source, it was adapted by two writers.

Ruth Carter, in her only motion picture, and Cesare Mancini, whose only other writing credit was 1971's, "The Reluctant Virgin". For which he used the American sounding name of Norman Schwartz.

The screenplay was by two additional writers, Romano Migliorini, using the American sounding name of Robin McLorin. This was his first of 16 screenplays that included, "Il Boia Scarlatto", and the 1978, World War 2 film, "Quel Maledetto Treno Blinadto (The Damned Armored Train)". That came to the United States, in 1981, as "The Inglorious Bastards", and starred American actors, Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson.

Roberto Natale would become the American sounding name of Robert Nathan. He worked also worked on "Il Boia Scarlatto", and 28 other Italian motion pictures.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Cleo Huff".

Walter Brandi, using the American sounding name of Walter Brandt, portrayed "Albert Kovac". Brandi had an uncredited role in the Kirk Douglas 1954, "Ulysses", was in 1960's, "The Vampire and the Ballerina", portrayed the Vampire in the same years, "The Playgirls and the Vampire", and was 1964's, "The Monster of the Opera". Which is not about "The Phantom", but another Vampire. As a Producer, Walter Brandi, made 1968's, "Eva, La Venere Selvaggia (Eva, The Wild Venus)". Which, somehow, came to the United States as, "King of Kong Island", with the closest thing to a gorilla was a pet chimpanzee. 

Mirella Maravidi, using the American sounding name of Marilyn Mitchell, portrayed "Corinne Huff". Maravidi followed this picture with "Oath of Zorro", a very popular character in Italian and Spanish motion pictures at the time. Her movie career ended in 1967 with only 10 films.

The simple story has an Attorney, "Albert Kovac", going to a caste to settle an estate. What he discovers, is that the deceased owner's wife and daughter claim he was able to summon the souls of past plague victims. Both warn "Kovac", that the deceased husband and father, has joined his summon victims and they haunt the castle. Soon, "Albert Kovac" experiences the dead plague victims roaming the halls of the castle and are after him, the family doctor and the castle's servants,

Trivia:, "5 Graves for a Medium", 
is linked to the screenplay for John Carpenter's 1980 movie, "The Fog". See my link, later, to actress Janet Leigh.

IF you're a Barbara Steele fan. The following motion picture is a must have!

AMANTI D'OLTRETOMBA (LOVERS OF THE UNDERGROUND) released in Rome, Italy, on August 20, 1965

The motion picture came to the United States on, July 5, 1966, as "Nightmare Castle".

The Tag Line on the above poster reads:

The motion picture was Directed by Mario Caiano, who used two variations of the same name. For the Italian and West German releases, he was listed as Allen Grunewald. For the English language release, he became Allan Grunewald. His films include, 1962's, "Ulysses Against Hercules", American, one time "Tarzan", Gordon Scott, in 1963's, "Goliath and the Rebel Slave", and the Spaghetti Western, starring American Rod Cameron, 1964's, "Bullets Don't Argue".

The screenplay is credited to Caiano and Fabio De Agostini.

Barbara Steele, billed as Barbara Steel, on the Italian posters, portrayed "Muriel and Jenny Arrowsmith". 

Above Steele is "Muriel" and below "Jenny",

Paul Mueller, using the American sounding name of Paul Miller, portrayed "Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith". Swiss actor, Mueller, had been seen on-screen since 1948 and his 243rd role was in 2004. Mueller appeared in many film genres in several languages.


Helga Line portrayed "Solange". Red headed German actress Line, started acting in 1941. By the end of her career had been seen on-screen in 142 different roles in several genres.

"Stephen Arrowsmith", is a scientist with a laboratory for experimentation in his wife's family castle. His bored wife, "Muriel", is having an affair with the gardener, "David", played by Rik Battaglia, and "Stephen" catches them. He tortures the two, by using a red-hot-poker on "David's" face, and splashes acid onto "Muriel's" face, before "Stephen" kills the two lovers by electrocution . 

Next, "Stephen Arrowsmith", removes both "Muriel" and "David's" hearts and places them in a urn. Then, he uses their blood to rejuvenate his servant, "Solange".  All of "Stephen's" plans seem to go astray, when he discovers he is not the heir to "Muriel's" will, but her mentally unstable sister, "Jenny".

"Stephen" new plan is to marry "Jenny" and instruct "Solange" to drive her insane after the wedding. This will lead to having "Jenny" committed and "Stephen" becoming the administrator of the estate, or so he believes.

"Jenny" now starts to have nightmares about beating hearts and his sister's voice telling her to murder her husband. "Stephen" contacts "Dr. Derek Joyce", played by Marino Mase, using the American sounding name of Lawrence Clift, to come and treat "Jenny". "Stephen" will use the doctor to prove she's insane and needs to be committed.

However, "Jenny" is now convinced that supernatural forces are at work within the castle. From "Stephen's" point of view, her belief only adds to his plan to have "Jenny" committed.

"Dr. Joyce" starts believing that his patient may be correct about the supernatural forces and is not unstable as the others believe.

"Dr. Joyce", starts to fall in love with "Jenny", and, then, discovers the urn with the two hearts within. Now, seeking revenge upon "Stephen Arrowsmith", the ghosts of "Muriel" and "David" return.

At the climax, "Muriel" burns "Stephen" alive, and "David" reduces "Solange" to a skeleton, by draining out all her blood. 

"Dr, Joyce" will burn the disembodied hearts in the urn. Thus, freeing the spirits of "Muriel" and "David", and he will leave the castle with "Jenny".

Next, Barbara Steele joined the cast of a 40 minute film, "Ounce Upon a Tractor", by Argentine Director, Leopoldo Torre Nisson, released first on American television, September 9, 1965 and starring British actors, Alan Bates and Diane Cilento, and American Melvyn Douglas. Along with Steele, the rest of the cast included, Americans, Buddy Hackett and Albert Dekker, British actor, Clive Revill and Roger Corman alumnae, Frank Wolf. Who appeared in several Spaghetti Westerns, including Sergio Leone's 1968 classic, "Once Upon A Time in the West", as the Railroad owner that hires Henry Fonda's gunfighter.

Apparently, the short film was actually an United Nations piece of propaganda aimed at the Soviet Union and its repression of farmers.

Next, another Italian Comedy, entitled, "I Soldi (Money)", released only in Italy, on November 25, 1965.

On December 16, 1965, Barbara Steele appeared in the United Kingdom, as "Cleo", in an episode of Patrick McGoohan's "Danger Man", entitled "The Man on the Beach". It would come to United States television, on February 19, 1966, on the renamed series, "Secret Agent".

Barbara Steele went to West Germany and appeared in "Der Junge Torless (Young Torless)". The motion picture was first released in France in March of 1966. The actress had 7th billing in this film about a group of boys at a German Military School. 

Next, it was the Comedy, Adventure film, "L'armata Brancaleone (The Brancaleone Army)", released in Italy, on April 7, 1966. Barbara Steele was billedon the official cast listing at 18th, in the role of "Theodora". Yet, that wasn't how the Italian posters indicated her role, at 6th, because of her popularity.

Described as a Comedy, Horror, Thriller, "The She Beast", was released first in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 2, 1966. Barbara Steele was paid $1,000 for one days work. Unfortunately, it was an 18 hour day.

The British movie, with Italian actors and crew, was Directed by Michael Reeves as Mike Reeves. It was written by Michael Reeves as Michael Byron. The location for the 21 day shoot is still unknown.

Some of the actors, in Reeves' motion picture, are from New Zealand and one, John Karlsen, portrays an alcoholic character, "Count Von Helsing". While, Borger, Texas, born actress, Lucretia Love, as Lucrezia Love, portrays another character's niece. Her real name was Lucretia Hickerson.

For Barbara Steele, the following was her last "Italian Gothic Horror Film". The motion picture was never released in the United States in any form, but as of this writing, the subtitled, Italian language version, is available.


The motion picture was Directed by Camillo Mastrocinque. Between 1937 and 1969, Mastrocinque Directed 69 motion pictures. In 1964, Mastrocinque, Directed Christopher Lee, in the "Crypt of the Vampire". That was the only motion picture, Caquemillo Mastrocinque, used an American sounding name, Thomas Miller. 

The novel, the title is not listed, that the screenplay was based upon, is credited to seven times nominated for the "Nobel Prize for Literature", Antonio Fogazzaro. While Luigi Emmanuele adopted it for the screen.

The actual screenplay was co-written by Camillo Mastrocinque. Who has 32 such credits between 1937 and 1966.

The main screenplay writer was Giuseppe Mangione. Who wrote the screenplays for the Rhonda Fleming and Ricardo Montalban, 1954, "Queen of Babylon", the Anita Ekberg, 1959, "Sign of the Gladiator", 1961's, "Mole Man Against the Son of Hercules", and the first film of the excellent, "Stranger Spaghetti Western Trilogy", starring American Tony Anthony, 1967's, "A Stranger in Town". Along with the 1968 World War 2 drama, "Anzio", with Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk and Robert Ryan.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Harriet Montebruno" and "Belinda". 

Anthony Steffen portrayed "Roberto Merigi". Steffen appeared in several Peplum motion pictures, including American Director Robert Aldrich's, 1962, "The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah", that starred Stewart Granger.

However, Steffen, made his fame in Italian Spaghetti Westerns. He wrote and starred in, "Django the Bastard", in 1964. That motion picture, is considered the unofficial inspiration for Clint Eastwood's 1973, "High Plains Drifter". It tells a similar story of a dead gunfighter coming back to a small town for revenge and justice.

The screenplay takes place in a small Italian village, beside a lake, from which an old statue is removed. A sculptor, "Roberto Merigi", is hired by "Count Montebruno", played by Claudio Gora, to restore it.

There are three related problems with the statue. First, the superstitious peasants of the village, believe the statue is cursed and was why it was thrown into the lake. The Second, is that when "Harriet Montebruno", returns from schooling in England, she resembles the face on the statue.

The Third, is that the villagers believe the statue carries an ancient malediction that has been released upon "Harriet".

To that point, the villagers start to believe "Helen's" the reincarnation of the witch, her ancestor "Belinda".

"Harriet" comes to believe she is "Belinda" and develops a split personality. Among her crimes is seducing the gardener and convincing a local man to murder his family. 

The screenplay starts as a ghost story, but changes direction into a story of mind control and the power of mass suggestion. 

The film does contain nudity.


In the following scene, a naked "Harriet", or is it "Belinda", uses a riding crop on a mentally handicapped villager. 

Only "Roberto", who is in love with "Harriet", sets out to solve the mystery of her split personality. Many consider this Barbara Steele's finest performance.

Barbara Steele next appeared on American television in an episode of the Bill Cosby and Robert Culp program, "I Spy", entitled "Bridge of Spies", on November 6, 1966.

Returning to England, Barbara Steele would appear with two Horror Icons:

CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CULT released in the United Kingdom in December 1968

The motion picture would be edited, again to protect American morality, and released in the United States as "The Crimson Cult", on April 15, 1970.

The movie was Directed by Vernon Sewell. Sewell started directing in 1933 and ended his career with 41 films in 1972. Two of his more known films in the United States are, 1947's, "The Ghost of Berkeley Square", starring Robert Morley, 1949's, "The Jack of Diamonds", starring Nigel Patrick and Cyril Richard, Broadway's "Captain Hook" in the Mary Martin musical, "Peter Pan". 

Just before this release, Vernon Sewell, Directed Peter Cushing and Robert Flemyng in, 1968's, "The Blood Beast Terror"

The picture is said to be loosely based upon H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dreams in the Witch House". That really should be very loosely based upon.

Jerry Sohl actually wrote the story that the screenplay would be based upon and was supposed to have adopted from the Lovecraft tale. American Sohl, wrote for television programs and some feature films.

He was a writer for both the "The Twilight Zone" and "The Outer Limits". Sohl wrote the English language synopsis for the Japanese studio, Toho's, 1965, "Frankenstein vs. Baragon". That would become the English language, July 8, 1966"Frankenstein Conquerors the World". Jerry Sohl also wrote for both the original "Star Trek" and "The Invaders".

The credited screenplay was by Mervyn Haisman. Haisman wrote 17 episodes of the BBC's "Dr. Who", starring Patrick Troughton as the "Second Doctor" and was primarily a BBC writer.

It was co-written by Harry Lincoln. Lincoln was Haisman's co-writer on "Dr. Who" and was, also, primarily a writer for the BBC.

Boris Karloff portrayed "Professor John Marsh". Karloff had just been seen in Peter Bogdanovich's, 1968, "Targets" and made an appearance on the American television series, "The Name of the Game", in the episode, "The White Birch", on November 29, 1968.

Both, Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, portrayed British author Sax Rohmer's, Chinese villain, "Dr. Fu Manchu". My article on these two actors and others, such as Jean Arthur, Myrna Loy, and Peter Sellers, "Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee: Fu Manchu the Movies" is available for reading at:

Christopher Lee portrayed "J.D. Morley" in this feature filmPrior to this picture, but still in 1968, Lee had been seen in both, "The Blood of Fu Manchu", and, "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave".

Christopher Lee's name has been mentioned, above, as being in some Italian Horror features. My article, about the Multilanguage actor, "CHRISTOPHER LEE: Foreign Language Motion Pictures 1959 to 1970" is linked at:

Mark Eden portrayed "Robert Manning". His first on-screen appearance was as a Reporter in the classic, 1958, BBC Science Fiction mini-series, "Quatermass and Pit". Eden portrayed "Marco Polo", in an episode of William Hartnell's First "Dr. Who", in April 1964. Television appearances were Eden's primarily source of acting with the occasional motion picture. The actor was in the Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley, 1964, feature, "Seance on a Wet Afternoon", and 1965's, "Doctor Zhivago".

Mark Eden in Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)

Barbara Steele portrayed "Lavinia Morley".

Michael Gough portrayed "The Elder". Gough had just portrayed "Squire Trelawney", on the BBC mini-series of Robert Lewis Stevenson's ,"Treasure Island". The star of 1959's, "Horrors of the Black Museum", and 1960's, "Konga", would first play butler, "Alfred Pennyworth", in Tim Burton's, 1989, "Batman". 

My article, "MICHAEL GOUGH: Before and After Tim Burton's 'Batman" may be read at:

Virginia Wetherell portrayed "Eve Morley". Keeping with the flow, Wetherell, was in a 1964, "Dr. Who", episode of William Hartnell's "First Doctor". 

Antique dealer, "Robert Manning", receives a strange letter from his brother, "Peter Manning", played by Denys Peek, who has gone missing. The audience has already seen that "Peter" was involved in a sacrifice by cultists at "Craxted Lodge.

The letter will lead "Robert" to a village called Greymarsh, on "Witches Night", an annual celebration. Working his way through the town, he reaches that same, "Craxted Lodge", owned by a man named "J.D. Morley". A party is in progress and "Robert Manning" is invited in by the owner's sister, "Eve Morley". She introduces him to her brother, who says he's never seen "Peter Manning", but offers "Robert", his home while he makes his inquiries. That night, "Robert Manning", has dreams of virgin sacrifice. That word again, and why the film was slightly edited for United States release.

The following morning, "Robert Manning" goes back into the village and to a Occultists Shop owned by a man named, "Professor John Marsh". The two talk about the history of Greymarsh, the ancient sacrifices and witchcraft practiced centuries before. By one, "Lavinia Morley", a witch burned at the stake.

Returning to "Craxted Lodge", "Robert Manning" and "Eve Morley" become closer. As events progress, she is taken for a sacrifice by her brother, and the centuries old "Lavinia Morley". appears during the ceremony.

 "Robert Manning" has been captured and is being made, as had been "Peter", to watch the virgin sacrifice of "Eva Morley". However, Occultist "John Marsh" and his bodyguard, assistant, are outside the house and a rescue is in progress. 

The climax literally burns down the house and ends "The Curse of the Crimson Cult", because the entire village of Greymarsh was part of it.

It was back to Italy for two short subject films and then a made for television American Thriller motion picture.

HONEYMOON WITH A STRANGER premiered television on December 23, 1969

The movie was Directed by John Peyser. Peyser had been Directing television programing since 1949 and among these are, "The Frank Sinatra Show", the Rex Reason Western, "Man Without A Gun", Blake Edwards', "Richard Diamond, Private Detective", "The Untouchables", and "Perry Mason".

The source material for the teleplay was the play, by French playwright Robert Thomas, entitled, "Piege Pour Um Homme Seul (Trap for a Single Man)".

The teleplay script was co-written by, David P. Harmon. Harmon was primarily a television writer, but wrote the screenplay, that seems like a made for tv movie, for Frank Sinatra's seldom seen, somewhat Anti-McCarthyism, Western, 1956's, "Johnny Concho". My look at that film and Sinatra's "Man With the Golden Arm", about drug addiction, and "The Joker Is Wild", about singer "Joe E. Ross". Who had his vocal chords cut by gangsters and became a comedian. Is entitled: "FRANK SINATRA: Three Dramatic Motion Picture Roles", and found at:

The co-writer for this teleplay was Henry Slesar. Slesar wrote both American and West German television programing. Among his shows are "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", the "Twilight Zone", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and the Soap Operas, "The Edge of Night" and "Sommerset".

Janet Leigh portrayed "Sandra Latham". At this point in her career, Janet Leigh, was making guest appearances on television and the occasional movie. My article, "Janet Leigh Going 'PSYCHO" In 'THE FOG" will be found, for the not faint of heart, at:

Rossano Brazzi portrayed "Captain Sevilla". Brazzi started out acting in his native Italy in 1938 and through the Second World War. His first major American film was 1954's, very romantic, "Three Coins in Fountain", with 6th billing. That same year, he retained 6th billing in the Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner drama, "The Barefoot Contessa". In 1958, Brazzi, co-starred, with dubbed singing voice, in the motion picture version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific".


Above Rossano Brazzi in on the right with German-American actor Eric Braeden as "Federico Caprio".

Cesare Danova portrayed "Second Ernesto". Danova also began his film career in Italy. He had 4th billing in the 1954 Italian motion picture, "Il Maestro Di Don Giovanni (The Master of Don Giovanni)" that came to the United States as "Crossed Swords", starring Errol Flynn and Gina Lollobrigida. In 1963, Danova, was in "Cleopatra", starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison and a year later. Cesare Danova was competing with Elvis Presley for Ann-Margaret, in "Viva Las Vegas".

Barbara Steele portrayed "Carla". 

Newly weds, "Sandra" and "Ernesto", played by Joseph Lenzi, arrive at his Spanish villa for their honeymoon. The next morning he disappears and has been replaced by a complete stranger. Who claims he is "Sandra's" husband "Ernesto". The local authorities believe the stranger and will not investigate "Sandra's" claim of a missing husband.

Shortly, afterwards, her sister-in-law, "Carla", arrives at the villa with "Ernesto #2", claiming he is the real owner of the villa. What's going on as "Sandra" starts fearing for her own sanity. A local Police Captain, named "Sevilla", hears her out and starts an investigation, but will "Sandra" like what he discovers about herself? This is a twisted tale of secrets upon secrets, but it basically, Janet Leigh's picture.

It was back to Italy for another Comedy and, then, a February 23, 1972, episode of Rod Sterling's "Night Gallery", entitled, "The Sins of the Father", as "The Widow Craighill".

At this time, Barbara Steele met Canadian Writer and Director David Cronenberg.

SHIVERS premiered in San Antonio, Texas, on September 26, 1975, as THEY CAME FROM WITHIN

David Cronenberg's screenplay was the forerunner of what to expect from him. In it, tenants of a high rise apartment house, are infected by a parasite that turns them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends. Who transfer the virus by having sex with others. Barbara Steele portrayed a character named "Betts", at 6th billing.

Barbara Steele made two more motion pictures, but in both, her scenes were deleted. In 1978 she was 8th billed, as Josephine",  in the Brooke Shields, Keith Carradine and Susan Sarandon "Pretty Baby".

Then it was back to Horror, or more precisely, Ecological Horror from Executive Producer Roger Corman and Director Joe Dante.

PIRANHA released August 3, 1978

The story came from Richard Robinson. Who had already come up with both 1977's, "Kingdom of the Spiders", that starred William Shatner and Woody Strode, and 1978's, "High-Ballin'", that starred Peter Fonda and Jerry Reed. 

The actual screenplay, his first, was from John Sayles. Sayles would go on to write, among others, Roger Corman's version of Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" as 1980's, "Battle Beyond the Stars". The same years,  "Alligator", 1981's, "The Howling", 1984's, racial equality Science Fiction, "The Brother from Another Planet" and 1988's, "Eight Men Out", about the "Black Sox" scandal.

Bradford Dillman portrayed "Paul Grogan". In 1958 he co-starred in "A Certain Smile" with Rossano Brazzi and Joan Fontaine. In 1959, Dillman, co-starred with Orson Welles and Dean Stockwell in Director Richard Fleischer's, "Compulsion". From the novel based upon the 1920's Leopold and Loeb murder case, but Dillman, became a television actor, until 1971's, "Escape from the Planet of the Apes".

Heather Menzies portrayed "Maggie McKeown". Menzies is best known for portraying, "Louisa Trapp", in the Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. 1965, motion picture version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "The Sound of Music". She also appeared in the, 1966, version of author James A. Michener's "Hawaii". That also starred Andrews with Max von Sydow. 

Kevin McCarthy portrayed "Dr. Robert Hoak". Think McCarthy, and my reader immediately thinks, Director Don Siegel's, 1956, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". 

Keenan Wynn portrayed "Jack". Wynn had been all over the movie screen. He was an Medical Army Sergeant in 1953's, "Battle Circus", starring Humphrey Bogart and June Allyson, a song and dance man with James Whitmore in the, 1953, movie version of Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate". a townsman in the 1956, previously mentioned, Western, "Johnny Concho", used his Comedy talent in Walt Disney's, 1961, "The Absent Minded Professor" and portrayed "Colonel 'Bat' Guano", in Stanley Kubrick's, 1964, "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb".

Barbara Steele portrayed "Dr. Mengers". 

Two teenagers decide to go swimming in a pool at an abandoned military base and disappear under the water. Skip tracer, "Maggie McKeown", is sent to investigate and she hires drunk, one time excellent backwoodsman guide, "Paul Grogan", to now guide her. The two stumble upon a mad scientist, "Dr. Robert Hoak", still experimenting with an old Vietnam Era plan, code named "Razorteeth", and having created the man eating, giant size, Piranha, of the film's title. 

Missing and eaten towns people are not what the government wants. Enter a Military team lead by "Dr. Mengers", one of the scientists on "Razeerteeth".

That's Bruce Gordon as the military officer. He's probably best known for his gangster roles and portraying "Frank Nitti", for 28 episodes, on televisions "The Untouchables".

"Maggie" and "Paul" actually stop and kill the Piranha by flooding the area with industrial wastes, but "Dr. Menger's" takes the credit. 

As the picture fades out, the sound of the Piranha is heard again.

A French drama followed and then a low budget American slasher movie with a costly development.

THE SILENT SCREAM released November 16, 1979 in Honolulu, Hawaii

The motion picture was Directed, Co-written and partly Filmed by Denny Harris. Don't recognize his name? That's because this was his one and only motion picture.

Initially, in 1977, Harris cast actress Diane McBain in the lead as a "Police Detective". McBain had co-starred with Troy Donohue on the popular, 1960, television series, "Surfside 6". Among her feature films are, Director Raul Walsh's, 1964, Cavalry Western, "A Distant Trumpet", co-starring, again, with Troy Donohue, and 1968's, female biker picture, "The Mini-Skirt Mob". Think female bikers on 1968 Honda motor bikes.

Shooting began on Harris' own screenplay, but what he had on film was considered un-releasable by different distributors. Denny Harris, but the blame on Diane McBain. He told the actress, she was no longer in the picture, because she didn't make a believable Police Officer. 

Harris, next brought in brothers Ken and Jim Wheat to rewrite his screenplay. This was the brother's first motion picture, but among their later work. Is the entire Vin Diesel, "Richard B. Riddick", movie series, starting with 2000's "Pitch Black". The brothers earlier work include, 1985's, "Ewoks: The Battle for Endore", 1989's, "The Fly II", 1994's, "The Bird's II: Lands End" and 1996's, "It Came from Outer Space II".

Next, Denny Harris had to get a new cast of actors.

Rebecca Balding portrayed "Scotty Parker". This is Balding's only feature film, as she is a television actress. She portrayed, "Elise Rothman", in 23 episodes of the original series, "Charmed", between 1998 and 2006. Before that, her television career had started in a two-part episode of "The Bionic Woman", in 1976. Followed with appearances on James Gardner's, "The Rockford Files", "Starsky and Hutch", the Comedy series, "Soap".

Cameron Mitchell portrayed "Police Lieutenant Sandy McGiver" Mitchell's 4th on-screen appearance was with 11th billing, in Director John Ford's, 1945, "They Were Expendable", in 1951, Mitchell took a "Flight to Mars", and in 1953 was the unseen voice of "Jesus", in the first CinemaScope motion picture, "The Robe". In 1954, Cameron Mitchell, joined Gary Cooper, Susan Hayward and Richard Widmark in the Western, "Garden of Evil" and in 1956, was in the motion picture version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "Carousel". While in 1961, Cameron Mitchell, made the first of several Italian Peplum and Horror movies.

Above Cameron Mitchell is to the left of Comedian Avery Schreiber as "Police Sergeant Manny Ruggin.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Victoria Engles".

Buried with 11th billing, as "Mrs. Engles", was Yvonne DeCarlo. Whose acting career included portraying Charlton Heston's wife, in Director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1956, "The Ten Commandments", 1957's, "Band of Angeles" co-starring with Clark Gable and Sidney Poitier, 1963's, "McLintock" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, and of course, "Lily Munster", on televisions "The Munsters".

DeCarlo been reduced to such features as the Argentine mystery thriller, 1976's, "La Casa De Las Sombra (House of Shadows)", 1977's, "Satan's Cheerleaders", and the Comedy Horror picture, with John Carradine, 1979's, "Nocturna".

My article, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY and THE MUNSTERS" may be read at:

The screenplay has College Student, "Scotty Parker", renting a room at an old seaside house. There she becomes involved in solving the strange death of another student staying at the house. The other tenants and the owner are an odd assortment of personalities.

"The New York Times Film Critic", Tom Buckley, at the time of the pictures release, wrote:

The only frightening thing about Silent Scream is that there are people who will pay $5 to see it... Everything about the production is repulsively amateurish, and it is saddening to see performers like Yvonne De Carlo and Cameron Mitchell reduced to appearing in it

Buckley's review only mentions Barbara Steele as being in the cast and not what her role in the picture consisted of.

It wouldn't be until 1983, before Barbara Steele, would be seen on-screen once more and that was in a major television mini-series. Author Herman Wouk had written a Worldwide best seller about two families, becoming involved in the lead up to and start of World War 2. "The Winds of War", became an All-Star, fourteen hour and forty-three minute, made for television event, headed up by Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw and Jan-Michael Vincent.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Mrs. Stroller" in the one hour and thirty-four minute, "Cataclysm" episode. 

Herman Wouk wrote a second best selling continuation novel, "War and Remembrance". That novel became a twenty-seven hour, 1988, mini-series. Robert Mitchum returned as did actress Polly Bergen as his wife, but the main co-star was British actress Jane Seymour.

Barbara Steele was in the two hour and twenty-nine minute first part as "Elsa MacMahon".

On January 13, 1991, Producer and Director Dan Curtis, who was the Executive Producer of the two Herman Wouk mini-series, attempted to reboot his popular, 1966, television Horror Soap Opera, "Dark Shadows". The reboot only lasted for 12 episodes. However, in those episodes Barbara Steele was cast a "Dr. Julia Hoffman".


Above Barbara Steele's, "Dr. Julia Hoffman", speaks to Ben Cross's, "Barnabas Collins". Below the two in a sequence from the past.

On, July 17, 2011, Barbara Steele appeared in an Austrian motion picture, "Tief Oben (Deep Above)". I could not locate an accurate plot for this motion picture, but it appears to be about a quest to find certain crystals that symbolize "Perfect Love". In the 16th Century some students went in search of them and never returned. Now, in the 20th Century, a young student goes on her quest to find them. Barbara Steele had second billing as "Mrs. Wagner".

Next, she appeared in three direct to video motion pictures.

The first was as "CIA Agent Oakley", and was entitled "Prophet", aka: "The Prophet", aka" "The Capital Conspiracy", released on July 27, 1999. This was about a CIA operative, "Jarrid Maddox", portrayed by Don "The Dragon" Wilson, that is to bring in five terrorists, but somebody is killing them off  before he can locate each one. 

The second was as "Vanessa Peabody" in "Her Morbid Desires", released in January 2008. The plot is about a young actress, played by Erica P. Hanson, in her fourth and final motion picture, coming to Hollywood to star in a Vampire movie. Steele's role was so small, she received no film credit.

Some of the other credited names are, Tippi Hedren, Robert Loggia, Kevin McCarthy, William Smith, Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen as himself, and Cassandra Peterson as "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark".

The third video, "The Boneyard Collection", released sometime later in 2008. It was actually out takes from other films with different hosts introducing each seqment. In the case of Barbara Steele, it was her non-credited segment from the previous direct to video feature. The big draw was Forrest J. Ackerman, co-founder of "Famous Monsters of Filmland", and a close friend, since college, to Ray Harryhausen, possibly how he became involved, was one of the hosts as "Dr. Acula".

In the appear right is the photo of Barbara Steele.

Next, came an Italian and American, Horror-Thriller, co-production.

THE BUTTERFLY ROOM premiered on April 7, 2012, at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in Belgium

The picture was Directed by Italian Jonathan Zarantonello. He wrote the novel, the screenplay, he co-wrote, was based upon.

Italian film editor, Paolo Guerrieri, was another screenplay writer, but did not edit the feature. Luigi Sardiello was the third co-writer. This was his third screenplay and he would write only four more.

Barbara Steele portrayed "Ann".

Ray Wise portrayed "Nick". Soap Opera star, Wise, started on "Days of Our Lives" from 1982 through 1983 as "Hal Rummley", he was "Blair Sullivan" on "Dallas" in 1982, played "Spiro Koralis", on 1986's, "The Colbys", and "The Dealer", on "Knotts Landing" in 1988. Between 1989 and 1991, Wise was "Leland Palmer", on "Twin Peaks", and in 2006, Ray Wise portrayed "Vice President Hal Gardner", on "24".

Erica Leerhsen portrayed "Claudia". Her movies include 2000's, "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2", and  the 2003, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Along with television appearances on "The Sopranos", "The Guardian" and "The Ghost Whisperer".

Heather Langenkamp  portrayed "Dorothy". Langenhamp first portrayed, "Nancy Thompson", in Director Wes Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and returned twice more for Craven. She appeared on television as, "Marie Lubbock", on two series running at the same time, between 1988 and 1990, "Just the Ten of Us", and "Growing Pains". 

"Ann" is a reclusive butterfly obsessed, bipolar, elderly woman. As she walks past a man dangerously balancing himself on top of a ladder trimming a tree, she kicks the ladder out from under him and continues to walk on, as if nothing happened.

"Ann" meets another women, "Claudia", with a teenage daughter, "Julie", played by Ellery Sprayberry, and a strange relationship develops.

"Ann" has a room with butterfly's pinned to the walls. In flashback, the audience learns that "Ann" attempted to drown her daughter and eventually the daughter left her. The screenplay switches from the past to the present, at different times, and it seems that "Ann" is relieving the past through "Claudia" and "Julie" in the present, or is she?

In another flashback the audience learns of "Ann" seeing a girl, "Alice", played by Julie Putman, in a mall crying. A man has stolen the money she was given to buy a doll. "Ann" buy her the doll and the two build a friendship and that includes visiting "The Butterfly Room". Then there is a prostitute named "Olga", who is either pretending to be, or is actually, "Alice's" mother. "Olga" will be murdered by "Ann", thinking she is protecting "Alice". 

The climax is shocking as the secrets and murders, by "Ann", perhaps, in "The Butterfly Room" are revealed. "Julie" discovers "Alice's" body and that of another man in the room. Is it "Nick", or somebody else? "Claudia" will be killed by "Ann" thinking she is saving the other's unborn child and its mother from her own life. "Ann" will be killed by "Dorothy". Who is "Ann's" estranged daughter, but is she also bipolar and unstable? "Dorothy" ends with "Julie" as her adopted daughter and the cycle continues.

Between 2014 and 2016, Barbara Steele played an elderly grandmother in one movie and appeared in three short subjects.

Her final performances, to date, is as a voice actor, playing "Miranda" in the animated series based upon the video game, "Castlevania", starting on March 5, 2020. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Jan Sterling: Lingerie - Fate - and a Motion Picture Career

Why Jan Sterling  wasn't considered an "A-List" actress is a riddle many film critics and historians still ask? This is a look...