B-Movie Queens – Caroline Munro

In this weeks edition of B-Movie Queens we focus on Caroline Munro.  The Brown eyed beauty from England is best known for roles in James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Slaughter High and Maniac.  She might not be quite as well known as some others, but she’s been in some classics over the years and is one of our B-Movie Queens.

Caroline never intended to be an actress, in fact she wanted to be an actress and would be placed on the path to acting quite unintentionally.  She was attending art school in Brighton and struggling with it, when a friend of hers who was studying photography needed a subject.  He approached her and asked her if he could photograph her.  She agreed but what she didn’t know was that he would send the photos to a magazine, who at the time was having a contest and her photos won.

These events led to her starting a modeling career for Vogue magazine, she moved to London and became an important covergirl for fashion magazines.  She would also become the spokesperson for Lambs Navy Rum, a job she would have for then years. During this time she also started to get roles in TV ads.   this was the first taste of acting she would get.

Her first acting role’s weren’t much, she was credited as “Beautiful Brunette” in Smoke Over London and wasn’t even credited in her next three films, G.G. Passion, Casino Royale and Joanna.  She would finally get somewhat of a break when one of her photos made it to Paramount.  She signed a one year contract and was awarded a role in the movie A Talent for Loving, where she played the daughter of Richard Widmarks character.

She would enter the realm of horror, where she is most well known, for the first time appearing alongside Vincent Price in the 1971 movie, The Abominable Dr Phibes.  She also has said this was her hardest role, while she had no lines, since she was playing the dead wife of Vincent Prices character, she had to lay still in a coffin wearing an outfit covered in feathers.  Normally this wouldn’t present a problem, but she was allergic to feathers and would try not to sneeze or cough, if she did they had to shoot another take.

Because of her performance she would then sign a contract with Hammer Films, she would eventually become the only actor to sign a long term contract with Hammer.

Munro would then return for a larger part in the sequel, Dr Phibes Rides Again and then Dracula AD 1972.  With this role she would then concentrate on acting.  She would then go onto to star in such B-Movie classics such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, At the Earths Core and Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter.  After At the Earths Core, she was offered the role of Ursa in the Superman movie to play the part of Naomi, in the James Bond classic, The Spy Who Loved Me, one of my all time favorite Bond movies.

After the Spy Who Loved Me, she would continue to act in various science fiction and horror B-Movies, in 1978 she would star with a pre Knight Rider David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer in the sci-fi classic Starcrash.  While not a big budget movie, it would go on to be nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Foreign Film.  After Starcrash she would go on to star in the William Lustig classic horror movie Maniac, as a side bit of trivia, Michael Sembello recorded a song “Maniac” for the title track of the movies soundtrack, the lyrics matched the movie but the soundtrack was never releases.  Eventually Sembello would get a call from the producers of Flashdance and be asked to redo the track to fit their movie.

Shortly after Maniac she would star as Jana in the David Winters cult classic The Last Horror Film, the name David Winters may ring a bell to some of you, he also was credited with directing the movie Space Mutiny, although supposedly he had been called away and someone else actually directed that one.  The Last Horror Film would be nominated for two Saturn Awards, Best International Film and Best Supporting Actress, while it would not win either of those, it would win Best Cinematography at the Stiges Catalonian International Film Festival.

Next up was yet another cult classic, Slaughter High, a movie about a former high school student who was disfigured by a prank inviting the eight people he holds responsible back for a reunion, to seek his revenge on them.  Caroline was actually 36 while filming Slaughter High but no one was the wiser as she played the teen heroine Carol, in the move.   While not an award winning film, or even nominated for any, the film is a cult classic and worth checking out as it is the influence for many horror films to follow, plus Caroline Munro is in it.

I could keep going on about Munro but really, who wants to read that much of my rambling?  While she hasn’t had a starring role since the late 80’s, she does continue to work and is a blast to meet at a convention.  While many says she could have been more popular if not for passing on roles in movies such as The World is Full of Married Men, Force 10 from Navarone and Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde because she didn’t want to do any nude scenes, I don’t think too many people would care and I can admire someone that sticks to what they want to do.  Now stop reading and start watching! I would start with Starcrash, but hey I’m a sci-fi geek!  Thanks for reading and if you liked it please share!

 

-Johnny

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