It’s official…I’m almost positive I finally own every horror movie horror queen Barbara Steele has appeared in with the addition of the four films from the 1960s that I cover in this post. So let’s take a look at them.
THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (1962)
Damn. I love seeing a movie from way back when that is absolutely perverse in theme even if it can’t be as disgusting as the same film would be if made today.
So what makes Dr. Hichcock so horrible? He loves to inject his wife with something that makes her seem dead and then fuck her.
Unfortunately, he shoots her up a little too much and she really does die. Which begs the question…now that he’s got her exactly as he wanted her, why does he go out and get a new bride?
The good news is that his new bride is Barbara Steele! And she’s about to go through some stuff in her new husband’s home.
Creepy thunderstorms, a black cat, screams, screams in the night, a creepy maid, sightings of a ghostly figure around the house, and the locked door her husband tells her she is to never open haunt her every waking moment.
And despite all this horror going on, the visually freakiest part of the whole film is a delusion.
Not to mention, the plot just absolutely falls apart for me at the very end as Barbara learns the hard way what’s really happening in her new home—which seems to negate the whole arc of the story in order to deliver a twist.
THE GHOST (1963)
It’s a horror tale as old as horror time. A woman and her very handsome lover kill her husband for his money and he comes back to terrorize them.
The cool twist here is that Barbara Steele’s husband, constrained to a wheelchair, just wants to die and keeps trying to kill himself. However, Barbara and her lover, who also happens to be her husband’s doctor, keep stopping him!
See, the two men have been working on an experimental drug to reignite dead limbs hoping it will allow the husband to walk again. But the injections keep failing.
However, Barbara becomes convinced it’s starting to work, and she doesn’t want that. She wants the bastard dead! So she convinces her lover to help her do the deed. WTF? Just let the dude kill himself!
The body is barely cold before some classic scary shit begins to happen around the house. It’s a deliciously done terror tale of a deceased husband returning to haunt the guilty party. While perhaps predictable at this point in time, there are several fun twists before all is said and done.
THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1965)
1960s horror had an obsession with women being accused of and burned as witches, and Barbara Steele was the perfect dark and mysterious woman for the job time and again.
In this film her mom gets burned as a witch in a maze of flaming branches. Wicked scene. Barbara knows exactly why the count targeted her mother…so he throws Barbara off a waterfall!
Somehow, the witch’s younger daughter ends up living with the count. His nephew has the hots for her so bad that he forces her to marry him. She’s totally resistant, but I can’t imagine why, because he’s a sexy young beast.
Anyway, through some sort of witchery, Barbara shows up alive at the home, the count drops dead out of terror, and no one else seems to realize that she is who she is, not even her own sister. Hm…
Barbara and the nephew have an affair and decide they need to kill the sister to get her out of the way. This whole thing just feels like a silly soap opera until the witch angle finally comes to the forefront in the final act. There’s one freaky witch corpse scene and a dark twist at the end. So basically the only parts I really liked were the witch burning maze at the beginning and the witch revenge at the end (because nothing witchy happens in between).
AN ANGEL FOR SATAN (1966)
Not particularly terrifying, this film is, however, deliciously sadistic. And by that I mean Barbara Steele plays a psycho bitch from hell! Yay!
A man comes to restore some art for a count before the arrival of his niece. One piece is a statue of a woman that was brought up from the lake and is believed by the people in town to be cursed. I’m with the people on this one…
The statue also happens to look just like the niece, played by Barbara. When she arrives, the sculptor asks her to pose for his restoration of the piece, and she soon begins acting very different.
Barbara basically becomes an evil nympho sex mistress who seduces men and women alike, pitting them against each other, beating them, turning them into rapists, and pushing them to suicide.
If there’s any flaw in this dastardly little film, it’s the ridiculous scene when a talking painting doesn’t shut up as it basically explains to the sculptor the whole backstory that made Barbara what she is.