Cult Memories


One of my artists, Coop, who shares my love of horror films, sent me a link to the 1994 “Cult Memories” essay written by the estimable Barbara Steele that is newly online. Mainly about her experience on the Italian film “Black Sunday,” she also shares a wee bit about David Cronenberg and her Los Angeles Jonathan Demme story which just screams ideal Hollywood:

One December morning, I was walking down Sunset Boulevard having just bought a slinky, red slipper satin dress, a la Jean Harlow, to go to Robert Altman’s Christmas party. I was thinking that I had never had a glamorous dress in any of the films that I had made. I always seem to end up in a serious of ghastly flannel nightgowns, whereas my peers (Martine Beswick, etc.) always seem to find themselves draped in some Helmut Newton fantasy of leggy, glamorous bondage of one kind or another. Suddenly, this enormous, sky blue, Fifties Buick with shimmering silver fins screeched to a stop and double parked. Jonathan Demme jumped out with a big smile and said that he’d been looking for me everywhere. He was going to start shooting Caged Heat in two days, and would I please play the role of a repressed lesbian prison warden. “Sure,” I said, “anytime.”

Isn’t that fabulous??? I’m currently really into reading biographies right now with subjects falling into one of three categories: art, European royality, or Hollywood which is probably why this 12-year old essay hits home abou the ever-glamorous Barbara Steele. So go now and read the rest – be transported back into 1960s Italy. Sigh…

One thought on “Cult Memories”

  1. We have a book called Hollywood Horror: from Gothic to Cosmic by Mark Vieira. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It isn’t technically a biography but has loads of biographical and behind-the-scenes info, is well-written, and is full of wonderful pictures.

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