Heroes of Cult

Heroes of Cult: Veronica Carlson

Born on 18th September 1944 in Yorkshire, England, Veronica Mary Glazer spent the majority of her childhood with her Military father who was stationed in Germany. In later years she attended High Wycombe College of Art and Technology where she studied art and participated in college amateur productions. By 1967, now known as Veronica Carlson, she made brief appearances in Casino Royale, The Magnificent Two, and Smashing Time.

Roles followed in ITV Playhouse and Hammerhead the a big opportunity came her way in 1968 when the head of Hammer Films, Sir James Carreras, spotted her photographs in a newspaper. Carlson was offered a role of Maria opposite Christopher Lee in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. The film became Hammer Films’ most profitable film.

Carlson would go on to appear in a further two Hammer Horror films including the controversial in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) where she played Anna. The reason for the controversy came from a rape scene that was added at the last minute, after shooting was nearly complete, because Hammer studio head Sir James Carreras thought the film lacked “sex”. Peter Cushing deplored the inclusion of the rape scene and even apologised to Carlson afterwards. Cushing said that it was the hardest thing he had ever done in his career, because he didn’t want people thinking of himself and Frankenstein as a sex fiend.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed was also significant because it marked the return of director Terence Fisher after an extended absence from Hammer productions, as his films were considered too slow and emotional by this point by the higher ups of Hammer. Fisher has mentioned in multiple interviews (and by his daughter’s admittance), that this film was his personal favourite to make, along with the original Dracula (1958). After directing this film and The Devil Rides Out, Fisher would once again be out of the picture for a while due to several car accidents. His last hurrah at Hammer was to be Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell in 1974.

In 1970, Carlson made her final Hammer film when she played Elizabeth Heiss in The Horror of Frankenstein. This was the first Hammer production to be entirely financed with British funds. When reflecting back on the movie writer Jeremy Burnham assumes he got away with giving the story a comic edge because none of the producers actually read the script. Further roles included Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Saint, Department S,  Spyder’s Web, Vampira, Public Eye, The Ghoul, Black Easter, and Freak Show. 

Carlson now lives in semi-retirement and has since married and moved to the United States. She is now a successful painter with many commissions. She appears regularly at horror film conventions and memorabilia shows, where her portraits of her horror film co-stars have commanded thousands of dollars. She has recently completed work on The Rectory and House of the Gorgon, both of which will be released later this year.

 

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