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The Ingrid Pitt Bedside Companion for Vampire Lovers
By Ingrid Pitt
Published by Batsford
192pp £14.99 p/b
THE title of the vivacious Ms Pitt's new tome could not sum it up better for it is ultimately that - a guide to the often gruesome history of the nocturnal blood drinker, through the eyes of a woman who has built a career on depicting its more feminine side. With the tongue-in-cheek humour which has won her many fans through her regular column in this magazine, Pitt waxes lyrical on the real-life incarnations of the fanged 'children of the night', and their influences on fictional and celluloid Horror.
Starting with what must be one of the shortest forewords ever by the usually verbose Ken Russell (if, considering his own forays into Horror, the book was as he says 'too horrifying to finish' what hope have we lesser mortals?), Pitt herself provides a whirlwind introduction to her subject via such legendary names as Lord Ruthven, Count Orlock and Carmilla.
It is the first main chapter Pitt in Pictures: Horror or Pornography which seems to sit incongruously alongside its fellows. Though it deals with her own cinematic interpretations of vampirism, in the end it is little more than a mini biography of her career, and despite making a fascinating read, inclusion of such films as Where Eagles Dare is slightly bewildering. That she claims the choice for the direction of her acting career lay either with pornography or Horror seems a sad reflection on her undeniable talents.
Her later look at Vampirism Around The World is worth highlighting. I can understand finding the bloodthirsty practices of middle Europe and the Far East worth mentioning, but the link between Christianity and vampirism seems to me a little tenuous. I would also feel obliged to point out that the Christian religion has equally as much to do with Christ's resurrection as His actual death, and that this is getting into territory better dealt with in publications other than those covering Horror entertainment.
Having said this, the main body of the work is fascinating. Written in the witty and irreverent style with which Ms Pitt approaches life, her debunking of the myths surrounding such legends as Vlad Tepes and Erzebet Bathori are the highlights of the book, illustrated with a wonderful collection of movie stills (not a few of which include Ingrid herself).
'Erzebet Bathori has had a terrible press... most authorities you read claim she tortured and murdered between 600 and 650 virgins. Never! Where do you get 650 virgins in a town of 30,000 souls and nowhere to go on a hot summer's night but the nearest hayrick?' Only Pitt could write this and get away with it, and only Pitt could have written what is, in the words of James Herbert, a 'superb', though blatantly self-promoting book and come out a winner.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman
Picking up a couple of hundred years after Ripley plunged to her death on Fury 161, Alien Resurrection is the latest and, arguably, the least of the four Alien movies. In the new film Ripley is resurrected as a clone, (giving Weaver the opportunity to re-invent the character, by far the most compelling idea in the movie), by a bunch of scientists on board a space station, who want to use the alien queen inside her in their quest to create the ultimate weapon. Their experiments coincide with the arrival of a crew of mercenaries (Perlman, Ryder, et al), who have plans of their own for Ripley.
The film was shot in the Super35 format, but was shown in theatres in an anamorphic ratio, so the video release looks quite different from the film seen in cinemas. The small screen diminishes what disappointingly little visual flair City of Lost Children director Jeunet managed to instil, and inevitably shifts the viewer's focus onto the film's least satisfying element: Joss Whedon's formulaic and derivative script. There are a few interesting set-pieces, revealing new aspects of the aliens, and these might better be appreciated on video, where the film's erratic pacing can be rectified with judicious use of the fast-forward button.