Hammer People

Hammer People

Ingrid Pitt

Best known as Hammer Films’ most seductive female vampire of the early 1970s, the Polish-born Pitt possessed dark, alluring features and a sexy figure that made her just right for Gothic horror! Ingrid Pitt (born Ingoushka Petrov) survived World War II and became a well-known actress on the East Berlin stage, however, she did not appear on screen until well into her twenties. She appeared in several minor roles in Spanish films in the mid 1960s, mostly uncredited, before landing the supporting role of undercover agent “Heidi”, assisting Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton defeat the Third Reich in Where Eagles Dare (1968).

Her exotic looks and eastern European accent came to the notice of Hammer executives who cast Pitt as vampiress “Mircalla” in the sensual horror thriller The Vampire Lovers (1970). The film was a box office success with its blend of horror and sexual overtones, and Pitt was a beautiful, yet ferocious bloodsucker. Next up, Pitt was cast by Amicus Productions as another gorgeous vampire in the episode entitled “The Cloak” in the superb The House That Dripped Blood (1971). This time, Ingrid played an actress appearing in horror films alongside screen vampire Jon Pertwee, but then later reveals herself to be a real vampire keen on recruiting fresh blood.

Ingrid donned the fangs for her third vampire film in a row, Countess Dracula (1971) which was loosely based around the legend of the 16th century bloodthirsty Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Whilst not as successful, as the two prior outings, Ingrid Pitt had firmly established herself as one of the key ladies of British horror of the 1970s. She then appeared in the underrated The Wicker Man (1973) as an uncooperative civil servant annoying Edward Woodward in his search for a missing child. Further work followed in The Final Option (1982), as “Elvira” in the adaptation of the John le Carr√© Cold War thriller Smiley’s People (1982), Wild Geese II (1985) and The Asylum (2000).

Ingrid Pitt made regular appearances at horror conventions and fan gatherings, had penned several books on her horror career, and she relished talking to fans about her on screen vampiric exploits. Ingrid’s fan club was known as the “Pitt of Horror”! A much loved and genuine cult figure of modern horror cinema, she died on November 23, 2010, just two days after her 73rd birthday.

Read Phil Alexander’s October 1998 interview with Ingrid Pitt