Saturday, 4 February 2012

Icon Of The Month: Caroline Munro

Pin It now!

That's right, this month the gorgeous Caroline Munro is my icon of the month. The star of both b-movie Horror and Hammer Horror is loved by many in the Horror genre, the Sci-Fi genre and even the action genre.
Caroline Munro was born in Windsor, Berksire (England) on the 16th January 1949. In 1966, at the young age of just 17, her mother and a photographer friend sent some headshots of her to Britain's The Evening News "Face of the Year" contest. It was the move that would kick-start her career.


Here's what she's said on the matter in her own words: "I wanted to do art. Art was my love. I went to Art School in Brighton but I was not very good at it. I just did not know what to do. I had a friend at the college who was studying photography and he needed somebody to photograph and he asked me. Unbeknownst to me, he sent the photographs to a big newspaper in London. The famous fashion photographer, David Bailey, was conducting a photo contest and my picture won"

This led to modelling chores, her first job being for Vogue magazine at the age of 17. She moved to London to pursue top modelling jobs and became a major cover girl for fashion and TV advertisements while there. Decorative bit parts came her way in such films as "Casino Royale" (1967) and "Where's Jack?" (1969). One of her many photo ads got her a screen test and a one-year contract at Paramount where she won the role of Richard Widmark's daughter in the comedy/western "A Talent for Loving" (1969).



1969 proved to be a good year for Munro, because it was then that she began a lucrative 10 year relationship with Lamb's Navy Rum. Her image was plastered all over the country, and this would eventually lead to her next big break. 1971 saw her appear alongside Vincent Price in "The Abominable Dr. Phibes", playing the deceased Mrs. Victoria Regina Phibes. Here's what she's said on the matter in her own words: "The most challenging scenes involved lying in the coffin with Vincent," she reveals. "You see, I’m allergic to feathers and I was attired in this beautiful negligee — but it was covered with feathers! It took a great deal of willpower not to sneeze or sniffle. On occasion, I would simply have to sneeze and this would result in having to do another take." She would reprise the role in the sequel, "Dr. Phibes Rises Again" in 1972.

1972 also proved to be another big year for her after Hammer Films CEO Sir James Carreras spotted Munro on a Lamb’s Navy Rum billboard. He asked his right hand man, James Liggett, to find and screen test her. She was immediately signed to a one-year contract. Her first film for Hammer proved to be a turning point in her career. It was during the making of "Dracula AD 1972" that she decided from this film onward she was a full-fledged actress. Up until then, she was always considered a model who did some acting on the side.



Munro completed her contract for Hammer with "Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter" in 1974. Directed by Brian Clemens, she plays the barefoot gypsy girl Carla. In Paramount Pictures DVD commentary, Clemens explains that he envisioned the role as a fiery, Raquel Welch type, red-head. Hammer pushed for Munro, and the script was adapted accordingly. Munro has the distinction of being the only actor ever signed to a long-term contract by Hammer Films. She would later turn down the lead female roles in Hammer's "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde", "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell", and the unmade "Vampirella" because they required nudity. She also turned down an offer to do a Playboy Magazine nude spread, she refused to do any nude work at all and rejected such movie offers as "Force 10 from Navarone" (1978) and "The World Is Full of Married Men" (1979) after they asked for it.

She would go on to do turn down the role of Ursa in "Superman" in favour of a James bond film, it would be her break from Horror for a few years. She would return to Horror in 1980 for the film "Maniac" it was the first of many British/European horror and science fiction films through the 80's. This was soon followed by the "multi-award winning, shot during the Cannes Film Festival shocker "The Last Horror Film" (1982), in which she was reunited with her Maniac co-star Joe Spinell. She had a cameo role in the cult classic slasher "Don't Open 'Til Christmas" as a singer (1984), "Slaughter High" (1986), Paul Naschy's "Howl of the Devil" (1987), and "Jess Franco's Faceless" (1988), followed in rapid succession. She reteamed with Starcrash director, Luigi Cozzi, for "Il Gatto Nero" in 1989. This would be Caroline's last major film appearance.



Throughout the 1980s, Munro was often cited by the press as being a candidate for the co-starring role in a proposed (but never produced) feature film based upon "Doctor Who". The feature was being co-produced by her second husband George Dugdale. At various times, press reports linked her with numerous actors touted to play the role of The Doctor.

By the 1990s, Munro had decided to focus more on her family, daughters, Georgina and Iona, and husband George. Her sole film roles were confined to cameos as herself in "Night Owl" (1993), as Mrs. Pignon in "To Die For" (1994), and playing the counsellor in director and friend Jeffrey Arsenault's "Domestic Strangers" (1996). Other work included a guest-starring spot in a 1992 episode of "Tropical Heat". She also did interviews for Ted Newsom's "100 Years of Horror" documentaries and the Hammer Films tribute: Flesh and Blood - "The Hammer Heritage of Horror."



Caroline Munro will ALWAYS be loved by the many genres she's graced, but she will always have a special place in the heart of Horror fans. Known as one of the original Scream Queens has sealed her place in the Horror history books. At the age of 63 she's still a big hit on the Horror circuit and also still pops up in the odd film here and there.

2 comments:

  1. I just saw The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and i'm in love with this elderly lady.
    I'd gladly be 70 today just for one fuck in the 70's.

    ReplyDelete