Celebrating The Hammer Horror Queen Stephanie Beacham!
I love Halloween season, because it’s the perfect excuse to take out some classic horror films to enjoy again.
I’m also pleased to see some of the great “Hammer Glamour Queens”, like Stephanie Beacham, who went on to have an incredible career that continues today!
Let’s take a look at some of her greatest cult films!
Legendary Actress Stephanie Beacham was born in London, and she got her start on British TV in 1967. From that, she never looked back!
The Actress staked her career on horror right from the start, landing a role in a strangely titled film that was re-titled in a much more accessible way!
“The Devil’s Widow”
Terrific title, right? Well, the film was also known as “Tam-Lin”, um what?
This horror film was directed by Actor Roddy McDowell, most famous for his starring role in “The Legend Of Hell House”.
Beacham’s breakthrough came the next year, opposite Marlon Brando:
This 1971 shocker was a prequel to Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw”, focusing on groundskeeper Peter Quint’s slow corruption of the virtuous governess Miss Jessel and the children she looks after.
She appeared in a number of very sweaty sex scenes with Brando:
The film was directed by Michael Winner, who would make “Death Wish” with Charles Bronson three years later.
Now, time for Stephanie to become a “Hammer Horror Queen!”
“Dracula A. D. 1972!”
What a great idea: take the “Prince Of Darkness” out of the gothic past and drop him into swinging’ London! And of course, they dress differently:
Check out the clever setup in the trailer:
Dracula is going after the Van Helsing family, and of course, Stephanie is Jessica Van Helling, the Vamopire Hunter’s granddaughter!
Caroline Munro also appeared in this film, which is a terrific attempt to modernize the horror icon.
Beacham was suppose to reprise her role in the sequel “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” the next year, but she was unavailable!
Well, she had time to pose for Playboy magazine, and later said that her only regret was the wig she wore!
She might have a point!
However, according to wikipedia, when the magazine re-published the pictures in the mid 80’s, it supposedly cost her a million dollar contract with a cosmetics company.
Next up, more horror:
“And Now The Screaming Starts!”
This 1973 shocker has a classic plot: England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.
Check out the classic trailer:
The legendary Peter Cushing also starred in this Amacus production – that company was on a role in the early 70’s with film like this one and also “Asylum” – I own this great box set:
Also in 1973, Beacham starred in this Italian action thriller – which also had several different titles:
“Blue Movie Blackmail” AKA “Super Bitch!”
Whatever you call it, this supercharged Italian action thriller gave Stephanie a chance to let it all hang out!
This was an era in film when movie titles were changed based on where they were laying around the world – targeting the drive-in and Grindhouse crowd with titles that promised lots of sex and violent – even better then they delivered!
Stephanie had another horror thriller next – and yes, it also had multiple titles:
This 1976 shocker was also known as “House Of Mortal Sin” is the story of a troubled young girl who goes to confession at the local church. Unfortunately, the sexually frustrated priest she confesses to becomes obsessed with her.
Check out this great vintage trailer:
Here next film was another vicious shocker, directed by Pete Walker, who directed “The Confessional” as well:
In this 1976 film, a newly married woman becomes convinced someone from her past is stalking her, but nobody believes her until the bodies start to pile up.
Lynne Frederick also starred in the film…I took a look at her tragic life – she went from being Actor Peter Sellers’ last wife to a tragic end:
You can see much more of her career by clicking on my story here:
Beacham was working in TV as well as film, racking up dozens of credits – but never getting too far away from horror:
Here’s another film with multiple titles, being released in the US as “Horror Planet!”
Check out the provocative trailer:
The plot concerns a group of archaeologists and scientists who are excavating the ruins of an ancient civilisation on a distant planet. After one of the women in the team is raped and impregnated by a monstrous alien creature, she becomes psychotic and starts killing her colleagues one by one and eating their flesh!
According to wikipedia, the Actress admitted taking this role “for the fee.”
Well, Beacham was working a lot, and heading back to the printed page as well:
In 1987, Beacham appeared in Playboy again:
As you can see, the camera loved her, and these nude pictorials were a common way for Actresses to stay in the public eye – but as you can see, she was also making a ton of films, as well as appearing in lots of TV shows as well.
In 2016, when discussing her early career, she told The Express newspaper that she had learned to avoid being “touched up” and carried “getaway money” sewn into her coat. Stephanie said: “I can remember avoiding rape several times and a couple of times not.”
After being questioned further, the star continued: “No, I will, for my own brain, be more specific and say once, and it was the very early seventies. And that is fact.”
She has always been candid and open about her life and her career.
In fact, Beacham has amassed almost 100 acting credits so far, across classic US TV shows like “Dynasty” and many other films as well…bravo to her for her honesty, and for a full and varied career.
As I mentioned, Carolin Munro starred with Beacham in the great “Dracula A.D 1972”:
Munro is another “Hammer Glamour” Queen, with a terrific movie career – see more of this ehighlights by clicking on my story here:
And of course, Yutte Stensgaard had “Lust For A Vampire” for Hammer!
This iconic horror film is just one of the many that made her a Hammer Glamour Queen as well, and you can see them all by clicking on my story here:
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Make sure to follow along for my “2020 Sex Kitten Countdown”, celebrating the great cult movie queens of exploitation cinema!
Categories: 70's Films, Books / Media, Classic Action Films, Classic Horror, Cult Classics, Euro-Sleaze, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Horror films, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Talent / Celebrites