Veronica Carlson: Frankenstein & Dracula Damsel, Then And Now
Peter Cushing and Veronica Carlson in a publicity portrait issued for the film, 'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed', United Kingdom, 1969. Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
In the late '60s and early '70s, Veronica Carlson rose to fame as a Hammer horror screeen siren. In her three Hammer movies, Carlson had the chance to act alongside both Peter Cushing (playing Frankenstein) and Christopher Lee (Dracula), Hammer's go-to creepy guys.
If you went to see a Hammer horror film, you may have had certain expectations: gothic horror with a certain shock factor, and of course, beautiful actresses. Hammer used its actresses' looks and cleavage as an asset as they faced monsters in settings that drew on classic gothic motifs. Hammer Films was a small production company that worked on small budgets, released series of films based on classic monsters, including Frankenstein and Dracula.
Veronica Carlson, British Beauty
Veronica Carlson, who was born in Yorkshire England on September 18, 1944, began her brief acting career with minor film and television roles. When James Carreras, the boss of Hammer Films, spotted her picture in a newspaper, he cast her to star opposite Christopher Lee, who terrorized her as Dracula in Dracula Has Risen From the Dead (1968).
Dracula Steals Her Away
In the film, as one of Dracula’s victims, Carlson plays Maria, the daughter of a Monsignor. Her character Maria is engaged to an atheist, Paul, who tries to kill Dracula. Things go wrong though because of his atheism, and Paul is unable to pray after he drives a stake through Dracula’s heart. This leads to Maria’s abduction by Dracula, who terrorizes her until Dracula falls and is impaled on a cross. Dracula then dies when the priest says the Lord’s Prayer.
She Dies At The Hands Of Frankenstein
After being Dracula’s victim, Carlson then played opposite Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. In this film, she played the role of Anna, whose fiancé was stealing narcotics to help Anna’s sick mother. Frankenstein then blackmailed the couple, forcing them to help him with his brain transplanting experiment. In a controversial scene in the film, which both Carlson and Cushing were opposed to, Baron Frankenstein rapes Anna. After the creature escapes, the enraged Victor Frankenstein kills Anna.
One Last Grapple With Frankenstein
Carlson was featured in one more Hammer horror film, The Horror Of Frankenstein. in 1970. In her role as Elizabeth Heiss, she acted opposite Ralph Bates, who played a young Victor Frankenstein gradually emerging as the crazed monster-maker. One of the notable scenes with Carlson featured her wearing an eye-popping, low cut red gown. Eventually, her character is reunited with Victor Frankenstein, and through a turn of events, he hires her as his housekeeper. The monster attacks her, but Victor claims his innocence, continuing to try to hide his crimes.
This would be the last Hammer film that Carlson acted in. After the film, she had minor television roles in the 1970s. By 1975, she had, in effect, retired. While some, like Christopher Lee, continued their acting careers, Veronica Carlson left acting. While she was in college, she had studied art and so she returned to art and took up painting in Florida.
However, her acting career refused to stay dead, and she returned to the screen in Freakshow in 1995. In 2018, she appeared alongside other Hammer stars in House Of The Gorgon. Additionally, she is being credited as Lady Whitehouse in The Rectory, a film that is currently in pre-production.
Tags: Christopher Lee | Hammer Horror | Horror | Ladies | Peter Cushing | Then And Now | Veronica Carlson
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