In 1976 Hammer Films was on its last legs. They had enormous success with Dracula, Frankenstein, and Werewolf movies, but the studio’s charm and knack for showcasing some of the most beautiful women ever on film started to run out of steam. Talent associated with studio moved on and Hollywood started making bigger budget horror films, most notably at the time, Rosemary’s Baby.
Michael Carreras, head of Hammer Films, was desperate. He was putting a lot of money into Nessie, a large-scale take on the Loch Ness monster, and had decided to double down. He ran an ad in Warren magazines asking readers what Hammer should do next and the readers answered: Vampirella. He struck a deal with James Warren and they were off and running. Jimmy Sangster wrote the outline, which was embellished by John Starr, Lew Davidson and Christopher Wicking.
Caroline Munro, former bond girl and possibly Hammer’s only beauty ever to have a contract, was offered the part. She was flown to Italy for a photo shoot, more of a test shoot than anything, and Michael began pre-production. However, when the script was given to her, she declined the part due to the nudity in the film. Many years later Munro would take part in a live reading of the Vampirella script with a few other actors but that was as close as she got to portraying the raven-haired vampire alien from Drakulon. And it’s a shame to because she looked like the character come to life. The live script reading revealed a wild and wacky plot featuring Hell’s Angels, ghouls, aliens, and vampire killers as our bloodthirsty heroine battles to save the Earth.
Now let’s do a little alternate history. It’s 1976 and Vampirella has been filmed with Caroline Munro in the starring role. And through the magic of the app Doublicat we can see what Munro would have looked like as Vampirella! This is Role Call #9 RETRO FAN CAST: Hammer Films ”Vampirella 1976!”
Caroline Munro as Vampirella
Munro looks like one of Warren Publishing/Vampirella artist Jose Gonzalez’s sketches come to life. She has the alluring eyes; the raven hair; and the can’t really place it accent. She will forever be the best Vampirella we never got on screen.
Peter Cushing as Pendragon
Horst Janson as Adam Van Helsing
Janson played a kick-ass vampire killer in 1974’s Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter. He would be perfect as Van Helsing. It also helps that Caroline Munro also starred alongside Janson in Captain Kronos so they would already have established chemistry
Christopher Lee as Dracula
Look I know Vampi fights other creatures and villains like Lilith, the Blind Priestess, Cult of Choas, and even Pantha from time to time, but the best Vampirella stories include Dracula. And at the time there was only one man who defined the character and that was Christopher Lee. The savagery mixed with regalness Lee brought to the role was unmatched then and now. Plus, he also starred alongside Munro in Dracula A.D. 1972.
I hope you love the excellent mock poster for the 1976 Vampirella/Caroline Munro film above (that was used for the live script reading) because it’s the closest we will ever get to the best Vampirella film that was never made. A film like this was meant for the late 70s and might not work in any other decade. Especially in today’s climate. This film would never fly, even with a female lead.
Do you agree/disagree with the casting? Let us know in the comments. What film would you like to see us fan cast next? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to future Role Calls only on HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience!