New festival honours screen horror star Ingrid

Ingrid Pitt with Richard Burton
Ingrid Pitt with Richard Burton

THIS OCTOBER will see the launch of the Queen of Horror Festival, held in memory of one of the Hammer Horror genre of films’ biggest stars Ingrid Pitt.

Organisers hope that the newest addition to Hastings’ packed annual festival calendar will have horror enthusiasts flocking from near and far.

The all-day event, which is being backed by Hastings Borough Council, is set to take place on October 27, in the Old Town.

Ingrid Pitt’s starring roles in cult classics of the 1970s, such as Countess Dracula, and The Vampire Lovers, earned her the title Queen of Horror.

But the Polish-born actress also appeared alongside Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare, as well as in a stream of TV shows such as Dr Who.

She died in November 2010, aged 73, after a long illness.

Her husband Tony Rudlin, and The Official Ingrid Pitt Fan Club, are behind this inaugural Queen of Horror Festival.

He said: “During her illness she spent many months in Bexhill recuperating, and grew to love the area around Hastings.

“After she died, I decided to return to the area where Ingrid’s relatives had taken up residence.

“At first I had intended to organise a memorial service at the Actors’ Church in London, but changed my plans and decided to put on a memorial that was more in keeping with the character of my wife.

“We are hoping to draw in a lot of people from outside, but we want to stress that it is a Hastings festival, because I think Hastings is a perfect place for a festival.”

The festival programme aims to provide something for everyone from horror enthusiasts to casual festival-goers.

The Electric Palace Cinema will throughout the day be screening films in which Ingrid appeared, while at Venuu, amateur film-makers will be able to submit entries into a short film competition.

There will be plenty of other opportunities to get into the spirit of the horror genre, with a professional make-up artist on hand, and the election of the ‘Queen of Horror’, ‘Dracula’, and ‘The perfect Vampire Lovers’.

Some top memorabilia dealers will be in town, and the festival will also see the launch of Ingrid’s unpublished work Dracula Who...?

The plan is for the festival to climax with a masquerade ball, at Venuu.

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