Horror History: Barbara Shelley

barbarashelley1Barbara Shelley
Born Aug. 15th, 1933

Barbara Shelley was a staple in the British horror cinema for about 10 years, starting in the late ’50s. The fact that she only made a handful of horror pictures during that time, and is so remembered shows the real talent that she was.

Starting with films like Cat Girl (1957) and Blood of the Vampire (1958), before appearing in one of the genre classics, Village of the Damned (1960). Then she would work with Hammer Films on her next four pictures, which shows some of her best work: The Gorgon (1964), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966), and Quatermass and the Pit (1967). Her performance in Dracula: Prince of Darkness, as the uptight Helen, once transformed into a vampire is one of the highlights of that film. Her last role for the genre was the 1974 film Ghost Story (aka Madhouse Mansion), and moved to working more in television, even having a small stint in the Doctor Who series.

So the next time you’re in the mood for a British horror film, and maybe even a Hammer Film, think about choosing one of the ones that feature the lovely Shelley and see just what she gave to the genre.

Suzan Farmer – Rest in Peace

Susan Farmer - RIPThis is a name that might not be too familiar, but if you’re a Hammer fan, then you’ll know the face. Farmer appeared in several titles from Hammer, including two of their swashbuckling  movies, The Crimson Blade (1963) and The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964). But it was mainly for her role in Dracula, Prince of Darkness when horror fans took note. She followed that film up immediately with Rasputin: The Mad Monk, once again coming up against the sizeable Christopher Lee. Another non-Hammer picture that she made that I remember fondly is Die, Monster, Die! (1965), starring alongside Boris Karloff. This was one that I saw in my youth and really made an impact with me. While she might not have been as glamorous or as known as some of the other Hammer starlets, her performances always stood out and are very memorable.

She passed away on Sept. 17th. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. Thankfully, like all of our movie heroes and heroines, they will live on for fans of their films, especially for Hammer fans!