Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

The Ingrid Pitt Queen of Horror Festival

26–28 October Hastings Old Town

Expect ghoulish goings on and thrills galore when the Ingrid Pitt Queen of Horror Festival comes to Hastings on 26–28 October. The fang-tastic festival is the idea of Ingrid’s family, Simone Horsley, Zachary Horsley, Lola Horsley and Ingrid’s husband Tony Rudlin, who has recently moved to Hastings, and will feature the Hammer Films Scream Queen in her most famous roles at the Old Town’s Electric Palace Cinema. Fans old and new can enjoy a continuous showing of such classics as Countess Dracula, Vampire Lovers, The House That Dripped Blood, Twins Of Evil, Vampire Circus, and Ingrid Pitt’s first ever international film role in Where Eagles Dare.

Horror fans will be excited to learn that top horror writer and close friend of Ingrid, James Herbert, who has had a string of international best sellers since The Rats first hit the shelves way back in 1974 will be at the festival. Work permitting, James has not only promised to be at the Queen of Horror Festival but will present the prize for the festival’s Short Story Competition. A Masque Ball takes place at The Venue on the 27 October at 9pm and a horror queen will be crowned.


Horror fan and HOT reporter Joe Fearn interviewed the festival organisers Isabela Podsiadlo and Tony Rudlin.

Joe Fearn: When I was a kid Hammer Films were regularly shown in our three local cinemas in Doncaster. I first saw Ingrid Pitt in The Wicker Man which actually is not a Hammer film. I was 16, but had to pretend to be 18 because they had an X certificate. Nowadays when you buy Hammer films on DVD some are either 15 or even PG.

Tony Rudlin: Some people found them scary. They were films made to excite and thrill, but they didn’t feature unnecessary gore. I remember when Ingrid was guest of honour at the Brussels Film Festival. The opening film showed a woman falling from a high window and crashing through a conservatory. She was shown cut to pieces and covered in blood. Ingrid walked out. Ingrid didn’t like seeing all that blood.

Joe Fearn: Did Ingrid write about her experiences as an actress?

Tony Rudlin: My wife wrote for six magazines on a monthly basis. Her autobiography, Life’s a Scream was published by Heinemann. Her book The Hammer Experience is currently being edited by a publisher and will be out next year.

Isabela Podsiadlo: The Bedside Companion for Ghosthunters, published by Batsfords was Ingrid Pitt’s tenth book. It was preceded by the Bedside Companion for Vampire Lovers and The Ingrid Pitt Book Of Murder, Torture And Depravity. Annul Domini – The Jesus Factor – one of a series of unpublished novels, was launched on 30th March 2012, and another, Dracula ….Who? will be launched at the Queen of Horror Memorial Festival.

Joe Fearn: Great titles!

Isabela Podsiadlo: There will also be a twenty-minute play at the festival staring Carol Cleveland who is perhaps best remembered from the Monty Python series, and Damien Thomas.

Joe Fearn: Ingrid Pitt was known internationally as an actress, was she as well regarded in America?

Tony Rudlin: Yes. We both went to the Marvel Comics Festival in New York in 1976.

Joe Fearn: I’m particularly looking forward to the question and answer session with Madeline Smith about her role in Vampire Lovers.

Tony Rudlin: I’m looking forward to the talk I’m giving about Hammer studios first ever film.

Isabela Podsiadlo: Artistic Director Melanie Light and designer Ufuoma Urie are putting together some great decor designs to give the show that extra something that the Red Carpet and Champagne portend. Melanie and Urie are two more old friends of Ingrid.

Joe Fearn: Its an all star line-up.

Isabela Podsiadlo: Yes. Joining Maddy Smith, Damien Thomas, Robert Young and Peter Duffel on the Red Carpet to the Celebrity Lounge will be Hastings own Horror star, Emily Booth. Emily has starred in many genre outings and will be presenting one of her own films, Evil Aliens at the Electric Palace Cinema. Emily is chief presenter for the Horror Channel. She will also appear on stage for a reading from the film script, based on Ingrid’s book, Dracula.. Who? to be launched at the show. Hey- how’s this for Serendipity- when Emily first came to the Queen of Horror office we found out that she actually grew up in the house next door.

Joe Fearn: Is it all going to plan so far?

Isabella Podsiadlo: Minor changes may happen. We hope to utilise Hastings Castle and the Smugglers Caves, but that’s not been finalised yet. On Sunday there will be a tour of Hastings with a late lunch at Italian Way. Ingrid’s fans are coming from overseas and it will be great to show them around this beautiful town.

About Ingrid Pitt:
21 November 1937 – 23 November 2010

Ingrid was internationally famous as Hammer Films’ Queen of Horror. Countess Dracula, Vampire Lovers, The House That Dripped Blood, The Wicker Man, etc., established her as an icon in the Fantasy Film genre.

Ingrid’s international film debut was in what is considered one of the greatest war films of all time, Where Eagles Dare. In this she appeared opposite Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. “They were great to work with but ragged me all the time”.

After the film was finished, Clint said to Richard, “Shall we tell her now?” “What?” She demanded. “We had a bet. Who would get you in the sack first”, Clint explained. “Who won?” Ingrid asked innocently – that floored them.

Other films Ingrid has appeared in outside the horror genre are: Who Dares Wins, (aka The Final Option), Wild Geese 2, Hanna’s War etc. Generally cast as a ‘baddie’, she usually managed to get killed horribly at the end of the final reel. “Being the anti-hero is great – they are always roles you can get your teeth into.” she told journalist Marcus Hearn.

Ingrid appeared in many TV shows in the UK and USA – Ironside, Dundee and the Culhane, Dr. Who etc. She also toured extensively throughout Great Britain and South America with her own stage company, TRIP (Tony Rudlin Ingrid Pitt).

Her autobiography, Life’s a Scream (Heinemann) (Darkness Before Dawn USA) was published, and she was short-listed for the Talkies Award for her own reading of extracts from the audio book. “I hate being second”.

The autobiography detailed the harrowing experiences of her early life in a Nazi Concentration camp, her search throughout the European Red Cross Refugee Camps for her father, and her escape from East Berlin, one step ahead of the Volkpolitzei. “I always had a big mouth and used to go on about the political schooling interrupting my quest for thespian glory. I used to think like that. Not good in a police state.”



Posted 11:45 Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012 In: Film

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