Euro Cult cinema probably wouldn’t be all that interesting had it not been populated by the genre queens I have listed below in what I hope is a rather comprehensive overview of the best actresses renowned for their work in this particular area of filmmaking. Each and every one of the actresses gathered here are deliriously beautiful – but beyond that, they all have a strong presence and natural charisma that makes it easy for them to light up the screen.
Of course, mainstream cinema is populated with fine-looking women, but Euro Cult babes have a certain je ne sais quoi. Maybe it is their ready willingness to shed all of their clothes and get down to it at a moment’s notice. Or maybe it’s because they always appear to be entwined in a web of sleaze and depravity. Whatever it is, give me Dagmar Lassander in her prime over a generic Hollywood babe any day. Dagmar Lassander: now there’s a sexy woman…
24. Joëlle Coeur
Joëlle is a French actress most often associated with the canon of Jean Rollin. She started off her career as a model, but her stunning beauty caught the eyes of many key Euro Cult directors – Max Pécas, the afore mentioned Jean Rollin, Jean-François Davy and José Bénazéraf. These four directors are Titans in the world of French erotica.
Under Jean Rollin’s direction, Joëlle starred in Fly Me the French Way (aka Bacchanales sexuelles). She took the lead role of Valerie, who manages to get down and dirty in several lesbian sex sequences. She would later collaborate with Rollin again in Les Démonaiques. Her work with Max Pécas led to a role in softcore classic I Am Frigid… Why? and she starred in many risqué softcore titles for José Bénazéraf, including Black Love in 1974.
Joëlle unfortunately retired in 1976. Hardcore porn had been legalised, leading to the demise of the French softcore porn sector. Joëlle didn’t want to do hardcore films, so she quit filmmaking altogether. It was sad to see her go because she was extremely beautiful and possessed considerable talent.
23. Femi Benussi
Femi Benussi starred in oodles of Italian movies in the 1960s and 1970s. She was particularly active in Italian sex comedies of the 70s with titles such as Decameron’s Sexy Kittens and Confessions of a Frustrated Housewife. Panned by critics, these films were nevertheless extremely popular in their native Italy and launched many a Euro Babe’s career.
These films were not widely available outside of Italy, so it is mainly for her work in Giallo and horror that Benussi is well known. She had an early part in camp Spaghetti horror classic – The Bloody Pit of Horror – starring alongside Mickey ‘Husband of Jayne Mansfield’ Hargitay. In the late 1970s, Femi starred in three seminal Gialli – The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance, The Killer Must Kill Again and Strip Nude For Your Killer. In the latter movie she starred with Edwige Fenech as a model who is having a lesbian affair with the fashion house owner. She is killed pretty early in the movie, but it is probably one of the best performance of her career.
This article was first posted on October 4, 2013