Barbara Shelley

Barbara Shelley (born August 15, 1933) is a British film and television actress, known as the true "first lady of Hammer horror." She was very active in the 1960's, appearing in a string of Hammer horror films.


Barbara ShelleyAfter working as a model in her native London, she began her film career in Italy in 1953.  But it wasn't until she returned to England that her film career took off, appearing in a number of Hammer movies.

These included "The Camp on Blood Island" (1958), "Blood of the Vampire" (1958), "Village of the Damned" (1960), "Shadow of the Cat" (1961), "The Gorgon" (1964), "The Secret of Blood Island" (1964), "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" (1966), "Rasputin: The Mad Monk" (1966) and "Quatermass and The Pit" (1967).

As her film career began to wane, she turned to television, and worked a great deal in that medium as well. Series included "Workhorse", "The Comedy of Errors", "People Like Us", "Oil Strike North", "Doctor Who", "Planet of Fire", "EastEnders", "Bergerac" and "More Than a Messiah".

Although she is known as a scream queen, in fact her most famous scream -- in Dracula, Prince of Darkness -- was actually dubbed by co-star Suzan Farmer. Ms. Shelley's role in this film is among the most favourite of fans, and her acting is top notch. One can say the same for her dedication to the craft, as shown in this anecdote from the making of the film:

"3rd May 1965 was spent shooting Ludwig’s cell on stage 4, where Barbara Shelley’s vampirised Helen would be staked on the table. In the middle of one take, Shelley struggled so violently that she managed to swallow one of her stuck-on fangs. There was no replacement available. Not wishing to hold up shooting for a day, Shelley swallowed salt water until she regurgitated the offending canine."

Talk about dedication!

Having retired from acting in the late 1980's, her creativity then focused on interior design.

Fanged Films

Russia, 2004
Night Watch
Germany, 2010
We Are the Night

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?

Vol. 1 No. 9
Death Dreams of Dracula
Vol. 1 No. 4
Mayhem at the Mall