Barbara Steele  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Barbara Steele (born December 29, 1937 in Birkenhead) is an English actor. She's best known as the scream queen of Italian gothic horror movies of the 1960s. Her breakthrough role came in Italian director Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960). It's now hailed as a masterpiece of the Italian gothic horror film. Steele starred in a string of horror classics including: The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962), The Ghost directed by Riccardo Freda, as well as the Roger Corman adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Pit and the Pendulum."

French cult film magazine Midi-Minuit Fantastique no. 17 (1967) dedicated two articles by Jean-Claude Romer (a three-page filmography) and Michel Caen (a 27-page analysis) to Barbara Steele. The cover depicts Steele in the Italian film Un Angelo per Satana (1966).

She has worked with following notable directors: Volker Schlöndorff, Joe Dante, Roger Corman, Jonathan Demme, Federico Fellini, Louis Malle and Mario Bava


Clive Barker, Roger Corman, Joe Dante and Tim Burton on Barbara
"The most fascinating actress ever to appear in horror films with regularity . ... Her beauty is mysterious and unique: her large eyes, high cheekbones, jet-black hair, thick bottom lip, and somewhat knobby chin don't seem synchronized, and as a result her face can be looked on as being either evil ... or sweet." --Danny Peary quoted in Cult Movies.

Partial filmography

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Barbara Steele" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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