The horror legend's final interview on her movie vampire heritage
Last spring Steve O'Brien spoke to Scream Queen Ingrid Pitt about her vampire movie heritage. It turned out to be her final interview on the subject. As a tribute we re-present it here. You can read a further tribute to Ingrid in the latest SFX Vampire Special, in shops today.
Why do you think the lesbian vampire is such a potent horror icon?
When I made The Vampire Lovers , it really didn’t strike me that it was a lesbian-based story. I thought it was just about a couple of nubile girls in a grand house in a hot Styrian summer with nothing to do but play with each other. As far as I remember, both the victims had a boyfriend – the same one I think. It was just bad luck on him that their house guest turned out to be a rapacious female vampire. When a man plays the vampire, it’s usually a matter of moving in on his victim, a pretty young girl, and wham, bam, thank you man. Female vampires are expected to wear the minimum of clothing and make sure that they catch the back lighting as much as possible. What they do wear must fall around them to reveal maximum flesh when they get down to business. I think the lure of the character is in its sexuality and the fact that double dibs are on tap if both the victim, naked and screaming, is molested before being sent into orgasm by a bite on the neck by a woman.
What are your feelings on the movies that sent up the genre?
Are you talking about my friend Fenella Fielding in Carry On Screaming or have there been other comedies featuring comic vampires? I think it is self-evident that if a comedy is made of a genre character, it’s a mark of respect. I haven’t any problem with that. I do have a problem with producers remaking a film and making a complete balls-up of it. For example: The Wicker Man .
If you know the original, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that the remake was supposed to be a comedy – that failed. Shaun Of The Dead I liked. It was a throwaway comedy that didn’t try to be anything but what it said on the label.
What were your feelings on filming The Vampire Lovers at the time? Did you think it was exploitative or not?
Did I feel exploited? How can you be exploited if you know what you are doing, have the opportunity of backing out and are getting paid to do the job? I had a good body and had no inhibitions about flaunting it. There was nobody, off camera, pointing a gun at my head. Maddy Smith wasn’t too certain at first and we were given the chance to pull out at any time. As it turned out, we had fun doing the scenes and found the attitude behind the camera highly amusing. They were all frightened we might decide to give it a miss and made sure not to appear prurient but treated us as if it was an everyday occurrence to have two fanciable female frolicking about in the all together. You can find out more about the Hammer Horror films on my website:www.pittofhorror.com.
The Vampire Lovers & Lust For A Vampire are available as a double DVD from Optimum.