Ingrid Pitt

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Ingrid Pitt Pencil Portrait
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Ingrid Pitt’s breakthrough came when James Carreras, one of the founders of Hammer Films, cast her in ‘The Vampire Lovers,’ based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla. Pitt, wearing low-cut, transparent gowns, played Mircalla Karnstein, a 200-year-old lesbian vampire who seduces her female victims before sucking their blood.

Although Pitt had a series of other roles in film and on television, it was her 1970s vampire films which drew a cult following, with fans crowning her ‘England’s first lady of horror.’ Pitt embraced it, writing occasional columns for websites such as ‘Den of Geek’ and making frequent visits to conventions and festivals.

Her most attractive feature – in my view, and there were many – was a wonderful self deprecating demeanour, a trait lacking in so many women.

‘It’s great meeting the fans,’ she once wrote on her fansite, ‘Pitt of Horror.’

‘They tell me that I am more beautiful now than when I was making films a quarter of a century ago. All lies, of course, but sweet.’

Recommended viewing

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Ok, let me be the first to admit that I’ve never been into horror movies. The idea of being scared witless purely for the sake of it, has never appealed. However, when the genre reaches a high point like “Rosemary’s Baby,” (1968) then I’m hooked. Unfortunately, on a personal level, this entry doesn’t cut mustard, although I retain a natural affection for Pitt herself.

The film which would make her a major horror movie cult figure, features Pitt in the role of a voracious lesbian vampire, which frankly, was alright by me in my teens! Based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s ‘Carmilla,’ it is well mounted and enjoyable, with solid performances: the pre-credits sequence, in particular, has a dreamy beauty. Unfortunately, some of the action scenes are rather limp; and overall “The Vampire Lovers” marks the point at which vampirism in British movies became so overtly erotic that the films virtually ceased to be about anything except sex. Later examples of the strain were to become terribly monotonous.

For those interested in the history of Hammer Horror and the studio’s dwindling fortunes by the late 60’s, then the following link is recommended.

For lovers of ‘heaving bosoms,’ the sight of Ingrid Pitt and wide eyed future Bond girl Madeline Smith, would engender sufficient interest to make the film a box office hit. Pitt was thirty-three playing seventeen, but remains convincing in her role as Madeline Smith’s more worldly contemporary. Always comfortable in her own skin, the film takes advantage of her lack of inhibitions, thus ensuring its ongoing cult status. She might have lost her head at the end, but her male admirers were never far behind!!!

Worth the briefest of looks for non-believers if only for the sight of Ingrid’s canine teeth, but get the kids safely off to bed first.


The writings of Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid was a prolific writer, contributing articles to a myriad of glossy magazines and journals.

The Ingrid Pitt archive collects together her original unedited drafts on numerous subjects, from human life to politics, sport, cookery and world travel.

There’s an irreverent edge to her musings, the actress clearly equally at home discussing the foibles of English Cricket in ‘The Cricketer’ or describing her adventures on her frequent trips around the world in ‘Motoring and Leisure.’

Promoting “Where Eagles dare” in Las Vegas, she lost her composure when Elvis walked by, but was able to gather her thoughts sufficiently to grab a few minutes with the King.

She also recalls her fledgling friendship with the tragic Sharon Tate, which culminated in her stay at the pregnant star’s Benedict Canyon home, a mere six weeks before her death at the hands of Charles Manson and his followers.

Ingrid was a leading columnist for the now defunct horror magazine, Shivers, in addition to contributing columns to Starlog, a SciFi magazine, QuickSilver, a life style magazine, Micro Mart, in which she pointed out how much time she wasted trying to get her computer to come to heel, Model and Collectors Mart, all about the fascination of collecting other people’s rubbish, and Den of Geek – an e-magazine which covered any subject she had an often outrageous opinion about.

She also contributed articles to the Motor Racing based website

Updated frequently, IngridPitt.Net recalls her most outstanding columns and articles, some of which may have escaped your attention, including the Obituary she was asked to write for herself by an American Newspaper.