6. Barbara Steele
A British born actress who in her prime possessed a mysterious and hypnotic beauty that was chiefly down to her amazing eyes. Steele's eyes could eloquently express all of the terror and madness that was inherent in her movies. Chiefly celebrated for her work in Euro horror, Barbara Steele was well suited to the gothic films she frequented - including her break out movie, The Mask of Satan (directed by gothic horror movie genius - Mario Bava) and The Horrible Dr Hichcock (directed by another widely respected Italian gothic horror maestro - Riccardo Freda). Barbara Steele was the Scream Queen of the 1960s, making a splash not just in Europe but also across the continent in America where Roger Corman cast her in one of his many Edgar Allen Poe adaptations - The Pit and The Pendulum. Perhaps the highlight of her career was a part in Fellini's 8 1/2 - a rare non-genre entry in her filmography. With the decline in the popularity of gothic horror movies in the late 1960s/ early 1970s, Barbara's career began to wind down. She did manage to make a couple of further cult film appearances with roles in infamous women in prison film - Caged Heat - where she played a sadistic warden, Cronenberg's Shivers and Louis Malle's Pretty Baby. Her last major role was in Piranha. Steele will always be remembered for the wonderfully unhinged sexuality she bought to the movies she starred in. If I were to recommend a Barbara Steele film that showcased her talents to the max, it would be the afore mentioned Mask of Satan. Her performance as Aja the sorceress is both chilling and erotic. A feat that a lesser actress would not have been able to achieve.
5. Barbara Bouchet
Barbara Bouchet, a German actress, is an extremely beautiful and talented blonde bombshell. Due to the vicissitudes of post World War II Germany, her family emigrated to America. Naturally, when she was 18, she moved to Hollywood to become an actress and model and she did have some success there - she played Miss Moneypenny in the original Casino Royale. Bouchet grew tired of Hollywood because she was continually being typecast. Thus began her glorious career in Euro Cult cinema. She starred in several key Gialli. The one that sticks out in my head is her performance in Don't Torture a Duckling, as the disgraced socialite sent to rural Italy to lie low. Along with a hunky journalist, she works to find out who is murdering the little boys in the town. Bouchet also worked on Black Belly of the Tarantula, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and French Sex Murders. Barbara was also a regular presence in erotic Italian comedies of the era. After her Giallo glory days, Bouchet became a popular face on Italian television. She got into the fitness business - producing several books. Bouchet returned to America to retire.