Judy Matheson, on her Hammer horror career and more…
Part 1 of an exclusive interview with the one time Scream Queen with her personal message to all our Second Hammer-Amicus blogathon participants.
The Beautiful Judy Matheson, LynneFrederickForever
It was lovely to get a wee good luck message for the Second Hammer Amicus blogathon, from British actress Judy Matheson. I replied to her message and she agreed to an exclusive interview. Judy generously answering all 22 questions on her career to date. This post the first of two (or three) posts on Judy’s on-screen and off-screen career. With this post focusing on all things horror with another post HERE on everything else.
Judy’s first major horror role was in an art-house film, The Exquisite Cadaver (1969). This film led to Judy’s short but sweet Hammer career, starring in two films in the Karnstein trilogy. These films were about a fabled vampire family, the Karnsteins. This film trilogy was also prolific for lesbian themes which were considered controversial at the time of release. The first of these Hammer films was The Vampire Lovers (1970) starring Ingrid Pitt as a lesbian vampire, Mircalla (an anagram of Carmilla) and based on the gothic novel Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu.
This Hammer film was followed by two films with Judy. Lust for a Vampire (1971), the sequel (and second of the trilogy) starred Judy as Amanda McBride, a young girl at a finishing school. Judy’s character and others die in tragic and horror fueled circumstances. This after Mircalla – now back from the grave thanks to her vampire family – joins her class. With suspicions turning to the Karnsteins after her classmates and others die…
Judy also had a role as a woodman’s daughter in the third of these vampire films Twins of Evil (1971) which tells of a couple of orphaned twins. One a good-natured twin and the other bad. The bad one takes a fancy to Count Karnstein, who is turned into a vampire early in the film. She too becomes a vampire.
With an additional witchcraft angle added to the plot, Judy is seen playing a woman suspected of being a witch by Peter Cushing’s as Gustav Weil. Weil is a Puritan who wants to eradicate witchcraft – and the twin’s uncle – with Judy’s character getting burnt at the stake. Judy performed her own stunts in this part of the film.
This film was set at an earlier time than the others is believed to be a prequel to the two aforementioned movies. In the former film, her co-stars included Ralph Bates, Yutte Stensgaard and Barbara Jefford and the latter movie she starred alongside Hammer luminary Peter Cushing and twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson.
Judy also appeared in more non-Hammer horror productions in the early 70s. These listed as Crucible of Terror (1971), The Flesh and Blood Show (1972), The House That Vanished (1973) and the TV horror anthology Series Dead of Night (1972). With her co-stars in these films and TV shows including James Bolam, Ray Brooks and Robin Asquith.
Much more recently Judy starred with another Hammer actress, Caroline Munro in the horror short, Frankula (2017). This short film was made by the Misty Moon Film Society, where Judy is an honorary patron. Judy has also taken part in an upcoming documentary about her one time co-star Peter Cushing in Peter Cushing: In His Own Words.
This documentary sharing a “lost” interview with this actor with contributions from his Hammer co-stars including Judy and a few Bond girls. Judy has just completed filming her contribution to the soon to be released, new Blu-Ray for Lust of a Vampire.
Now on with the interview, with my questions in bold and Judy’s answers in normal type.
Had you seen Hammer films before you joined the franchise?
When you joined the Hammer film franchise which of your films was your favourite?
What would be a typical day in the life of a Hammer actress like yourself?
The typical day was really typical of all filming. One would be picked up by car at some unearthly hour & driven to the location, coffee thrust into one’s hands, rushed into hair, makeup, & costume & then wait for the 2nd assistant director to claim you for a scene.
I understand you did your own stunt for Twins of Evil, can you tell me more about how this came about.
It was simply assumed that I would do the burning scene. It wasn’t even discussed! And I loved the drama of it.
Other Horror Films…
Can you tell me more about your project Frankula with Caroline Munro? Also tell me more on The Misty Film Moon Society.
I understand you’ve recently taken part in a documentary on Peter Cushing, Peter Cushing In His Own Words, can you tell me more about this.
The film company Rabbit & Snail have been making a brilliant documentary about Peter Cushing, with some very rare footage, & fascinating interviews with such people as Valerie Leon. Maddie Smith, Derek Fowlds, & me, of course! It should be a wonderful watch.
Anything you’d like to say to the participants of our Hammer and Amicus blogathon…
I would love to say a huge thank you for your continuing interest & knowledge. And for helping to keep these wonderful memories alive.
So remember to tune in HERE for part 2 of my interviews, as there’s so much more in Judy’s fabulous acting career. You’ll discover her links with her Horror past continue, as she appeared in a seventies sex comedy with Vincent Price.
These later interviews will also include more of her reflections on her career to date. These including her on screen appearances in television soaps like Crossroads (1977) and roles in sci-fi in Blake’s 7 (1980). Also on her stage performances in places as far apart as Bristol to Broadway.
My Second Hammer-Amicus Blogathon 2019
This post was added to my Second Hammer-Amicus Blogathon with Cinematic Catharsis. Other posts with actors mentioned in this include Peter Cushing in Asylum and James Bolam in The Likely Lads. Caroline Munro stars in my I Don’t Want to be Born and my Starcrash post.
A disclaimer and personal thank you to Judy Matheson. Financial compensation was not received for this post. I would also like to add that Judy kindly personally agreed to me using these pictures of her from her Facebook page (HERE) in my blog. The attached video found on YouTube and referenced to the owner, LynneFrederickForever. If you are involved in the entertainment industry and would like to be featured or promoted here, please drop a line to me via my Contact Me Page.