The Writings of Ingrid Pitt

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Ingrid's Obituary


Ingrid Says... Pitt of Horror Website Message

June 2000

A MESSAGE TO YOU FROM INGRID
from the Borgo Pass

Ingrid Pitt

It's been a long time since Hammer announced they were back on the scene and I came over all excited and wrote it up on the Web. For a while there was a flurry of excitement and I spent more time trooping around the TV and Radio stations saying how wonderful it all is than I did lying in bed packing the zeds in. It's all gone quiet now. I'm told that this is because the new management are taking stock and trying to sort out just what they have bought. I've done my best to help out, bombarded them with scripts and synopses but so far I don't seem to have touched a nerve.

Luckily the nerves are more touchful in the publishing business. I wrote a book that was going to be called The Bedside Companion for Murdering Monsters. Then the editor got a look at it and declared it wasn't for the horror section. Renamed it INGRID PITT'S MURDER, TORTURE AND DEPRAVITY and I became a crime writer. Wider readership, I'm told. I'm all for that. That's all done, dusted and tucked away now. I'm working on the next tome called INGRID PITT'S GREAT BRITAIN. You think you've got ego problems? Try claiming a whole country and tell me about it.

And talking of ego - what about Urban Gothic - or hasn't it hit your screen yet? It's a take of a poor man's Interview with the Vampire. I've only got a minuscule part - but what an ego trip. This real vampire is asked who his favourite screen vampire is and he cites little old me. Later we meet up in a restaurant and he tries to tell me about it, tells me he's a vampire. I pat him of the cheek and say something like, ‘Course you are, darlink'. OK, so that's it. Not exactly Scarlet in Gone with the Wind. But I do play me - did Vivien Leigh do that?

I've also trodden the mythical trail that Bram Stoker's Jonathan Harker took to his fateful meeting at Castle Dracula. And I've had a quiet kip in Dracula's Coffin - way down in the vaults. And you want me to tell you about it - don't you. You don't? Now's the time to click and jive because I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

Count Nicholae Al Misiuga and Ingrid Pitt

Count Nicholae Al Misiuga and Ingrid Pitt

First there was a Dracula Congress in Brasov. I was a bit leery about this. I'm not into sex exhibitions even if they are simulated. I soon found out that the only sort of Congress that Dracula was interested in, allegedly, was the non-tactile sort. Thirty professors pronouncing lengthily on different aspects of Dracula's existence. Non-existence if you believe Professor Elizabeth Miller (see pic). She's just written a book called Dracula - Sense and Nonsense. She waxes irate at the thought that anyone should think there is any connection between Stoker's imaginative anti-hero and the Vallachian Voivode of Transylvania, Vlad Tepes.

She picks out all the authors who have dared to suggest that there is a connection and puts the boot in. Even I got a slight tap because I suggested in my book, The Bedside Companion for Vampire Lovers, that Stoker had modelled his vampire on the ancient Prince. Who am I to argue with an egghead, but it seems that someone delving into the History of Transylvania, and Stoker undoubtedly did, and coming across the name Dracula in connection with an ancient ruler prone to stick stakes through anyone he took a dislike to, might, conceivably, have influenced his choice of name. After all, Dracula, in the local language, does mean Son of the Devil.

I was up for a lecture pompously called Researching and Bringing Erzebet Bathory to the Silver Screen. I did think the title up in a moment of total brain fade. It all came to naught in the end. I forgot my notes and launched into an OTT rant about incidents that happened on the set while we were making the film.

Then we left Brasov and tilted at the countryside. The scenery was magnificent, but riding for seven days in a bus over potholes the like of which I have not encountered since I lived in battle scarred Buenos Aires a quarter of a century ago, was not. But we did put some mileage in. We stopped overnight at a monastery where the monks had obviously been sworn to not smile or help anybody in any way. Then we hit Castle Dracula, a curious edifice built in 1983 by one Count Nicholae Al Misiuga (see pic)..

Ingrid Tries a Coffin for Size

Ingrid Tries a Coffin for Size

It was not what I expected. No sweeping drive up to a massive, iron studded door. No spectacular staircase for Dracula to descend and say naff things. But I must say my suite made up for a lot of deficiencies. It was on the top floor and gave an unparalleled view of the Borgo Pass and the cloud shrouded Carpathian Mountains in the distance. There were a lot of pressniks on the trip. I was doing a piece for the BBC's Excess Baggage programme on Channel 4 as well as primping and posing for a Discovery Channel show.

When the press heard that I had been given a suite with a well stocked bar, they all seemed to turn up at once and want interviews. It got a bit silly after that. Bob Wise of Discovery suggested we all move down to the cellar and do some filming there. The rest thought it a great idea. By this time everything was a great idea. So we all trooped down to the vault which boasted Dracula's Coffin. And, of course, some devious dastard suggested I get into the coffin. Sounded good to me. I lay there and posed beautifully for the cameras. Then somebody who had obviously been at the meths, suggested they shut the lid. It seemed reasonable at the time. After a while I began to wonder what I was doing there. When I finally got the lid open I found that everyone had gone back to my room to progress the party. I was not amused.

Next day we left Dracula country and headed into Vallachia, the home of the Old Impaler himself. After a journey which was more tiring than a trip across the Styx, we ended up outside what we were assured was Vlad's birthplace, in the medieval town of Sighisoara - the actual house where he had been dropped. It looked like a restaurant to me. This was confirmed by the fact it was shut. So we moved a hundred yards up the road to witness a witch trial (see pic) which just happened to be going on.

The Witch Trial

The Witch Trial

It seemed to revolve around a bloke with tights a couple of sizes too big and wearing a moth-eaten fur hat, shouting at a judge who was excited by the fact that in his auspicious role he got to wear the Shirley Temple wig. I moved around the back of the group of onlookers shouting "Burn the witch", but nobody took any notice and the prospect of a good bonfire was finally dashed when some skinny bloke in an apron said he'd marry the bawd.

Then it was back to my suite for what had become a nightly session of tall story telling. Well, with wine at 40p a bottle, brandy at £1.50 and Vodka at 60p, what can you do?

The only other real excitement came in a restaurant in Targoviste when one of our American professors discovered a cockroach in her salad. I jumped up and called the head waiter instantly. He took one look at it and said, "In Morocco they are considered a delicacy, Madame", and walked away. Never has my flabba been so gasted, and I was still trying to think up a riveting reply when I got back on the coach and we launched off on another Mysterious Journey.

It was beautiful and great fun but I was happy to get back home to some decent plumbing.

Now for the commercial. Have a quick skim through the STORE. While I've been away, Simon and Hedley have sweated away putting a whole load of new stuff in there. At least that is what I have been told. For instance, there are some really OTT pictures of me in the bath tub from The Wicker Man. You may have seen them before but when I saw them recently I couldn't even remember posing for them. What's going on here? And we've got some of the best CD's from the Hammer GDI studios.

So have a look - then get in touch.

And another thing. I'm looking for stories for the new book, Ingrid Pitt's Great Britain, so if you know any dark and murky secrets about where you live or any place you have visited - don't be shy - get in touch. Any story used will be fully acknowledged in the book.

So until next time, look after yourself. And if one dark and starless night you see a column of smoke rearing up at the end of your bed you might just be unlucky and have a fault in the radiator. On the other hand...........

Luv.

The Writings of Ingrid Pitt