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Barbara Steele (1937 - )

Lifespan: 1937 -

Related: actress - British cinema - Italian cinema - horror films - scream queen

Worked with: Volker Schlöndorff - Joe Dante - Roger Corman - Jonathan Demme - Federico Fellini - Louis Malle - Mario Bava

Titles: Black Sunday (1960) - Castle of Blood/La Danza Macabra (1964) - Pretty Baby (1978) - Piranha (1978)

"The most fascinating actress ever to appear in horror films with regularity . ... Her beauty is mysterious and unique: her large eyes, high cheekbones, jet-black hair, thick bottom lip, and somewhat knobby chin don't seem synchronized, and as a result her face can be looked on as being either evil ... or sweet." --Danny Peary quoted in Cult Movies.

Barbara Steele, photocredit unidentified

Barbara Steele in bed
image sourced here.

Maschera del demonio, La/Black Sunday (1960) - Mario Bava [Amazon.com]
image sourced here.

Maschera del demonio, La/Black Sunday (1960) - Mario Bava [Amazon.com]
image sourced here.

Midi-Minuit Fantastique no. 17 (1967)
"Midi Minuit Fantastique" #17 devoted to Barbara Steele - 145 Pages - Dated of 1967


Barbara Steele (29 December 1937-). British actress. She's best known as the scream queen of Italian gothic horror movies of the sixties. Her break through came in Italian director Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960). It's now hailed as a masterpiece of the Italian gothic horror film. Steele starred in a string of gothic horror classics including: The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962), The Ghost (1963) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Steele [Feb 2005]

How does one define a cult film? - Barbara Steele

How does one define a cult film? There are certain cohesive ingredients. Cult films usually have an element of unease - anarchy, transgressing certain taboos; they are almost always excessive and camp and speak to the counterculture. Certainly, most have an aura of irreverence, and are usually made on low budgets, therefore requiring a certain energized spontaneity, somewhat like graffiti. After all, film is so porous, and to my mind, so oddly occult, that I think that film itself absorbs odd energies like a living skin. Barbara Steele quoted in Cult Memories. In The Perfect Vision, October 1994, vol. 6, issue 23 via http://home.earthlink.net/~gershom/cult.html [Feb 2005]

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) - Riccardo Freda

Barbara Steele in The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) - Riccardo Freda
image sourced here. [Aug 2005]

See entry on Riccardo Freda

Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968) - Vernon Sewell

Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele
images sourced here.

Incoherent and awful adaptation of Lovecraft’s Dreams in the Witch House: you can tell how bad it is from the number of alternative titles under which it was released – then again that seemed to happen to a lot of Barbara Steele’s movies. Lavinia Morley (Barbara Steele) is the green-skinned reincarnation of a witch who was burned at the stake some 300 years before who participates in a strange, modern day, black-magic ritual.

Elizabeth Blatin and Pauline Worden were the makeup artists. --http://www.themakeupgallery.info/horror/witch/crimson.htm [Jul 2005]

see also: H.P. Lovecraft - Barbara Steele

Caged Heat (1974) - Jonathan Demme

Caged Heat (1974) - Jonathan Demme [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See entry on Jonathan Demme

Der Junge Törless/Young Toerless (1966) - Volker Schlöndorff

Der Junge Törless/Young Toerless (1966) - Volker Schlöndorff [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See entry on Volker Schlöndorff

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