Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cult siren Sybil Danning - bullets and bikinis

Since I mentioned austrian cult siren Sybil Danning in the last few post and seeing that she´s having a comeback in recent years I thought I should use the opportunity of her 64th birthday - or maybe her 67th - and do a full post on one of the biggest b - movie queens of the 1980s. 

Most often when doing cult siren posts I can use something I previously wrote in my old boob blog but as such was not the case with Sybil Danning I had to rely on the posts on the CULT SIRENS blog and ALCHERON as my main sources. I have mashed both posts into one, cutting parts here and there to eliminate any redundancies or fit it better into the layout of the blog. So if I have take a few liberties here and there bear with me.

This is it ! Time to recruit our 50th guest ! Who is worthy enough to slip on our Official Jubilee Cloak ? How about a danish actress ? How about Sybil Danning ? Yes, just think about it : if ever our 50 cult sirens, dead and living alike, would reunite for a dinner celebration, who would best preside at the head of the table ? I can only picture Sybil standing there, wearing her costume from Battle Beyond the Stars and lording it all over the rest. The time is right to discuss her career, as she seems to be making a comeback with new projects, particularly Grindhouse.

For the youngsters among you, let’s note that Sybil became a very big deal during the eighties, enjoying tremendous popularity and cult fame in Europe and America for many roles in b - movies. The outrageous costumes that she wore for many of these low - budget projects are still legendary and were probably already considered campy the day these movies opened. Like some of our guests here, it also wasn’t a big problem for Sybil to disrobe, which resulted in even more fan adulation.

Early life - born under a wandering star and pulling teeth

I love it when during research on a potential siren, I find conflicting dates of birth. So she was born on May 24, maybe in 1949, maybe in 1952, in Wels, Upper Austria, Austria ( some sources claim Ried im Innkreis, Austria ) as Sybille Johanna Danninger. Danning was the love child of a german - dutch - american father, who left for the United States before Danning's birth. Her austrian mother raised her, and later married a United States Army major; the family relocated to the United States.

A sister was born, as Sybil began living a nomadic early life on various army bases in Sacramento, Maryland, and New Jersey where Sybil Danning attended Eatontown's Star of the Sea Catholic School. Another move to Germany resulted in a kid brother and a perfect bilingual in german and english. All this moving around took its toll on Sybil’s mom, who at some point refused to live in Japan. She divorced and moved back to Austria.

Fourteen years old Sybil left school to help the family gain some needed money and she became her uncle’s dental assistant. After two years of this glamorous life, she left for Vienna due to the strictness of the household's regulations to pursue her own goals. Oddly, she remained in the oral surgery business, assisting some of Europe’s finest doctors. She finally studied cosmetology in Salzburg, with the ultimate goal of opening her own beauty salon. Since there were too many of them around, she began work as a cosmetician for fashion shows and became a model.

After one year, she relocated to Salzburg, where she was hired to assist one of Europe's top oral surgeons, Dr. Franz Clementschitz. She gave up her dental career and enrolled in the very renowned Buchner School of Cosmetology in Salzburg receiving diplomas in facial treatment, pedicure, decorative make - up, manicure, and body massage. Danning planned to open her own beauty salon, but the state denied her an operating license because there were already five salons in the city. She was asked by the owner to work at the Buchner Institute as cosmetician, to book models and groom them. Soon Danning was much sought after for fashion shows and photo layouts full - time because of her classic nordic beauty.

1968 – 1977 : Early work from Lorelei to Kriemhild to the Musketeers

Danning entered the realm of cinema when a German film director insisted she play the beautiful legendary figure, Lorelei, in his movie, Come, My Dear Little Bird. Her photograph posing on the infamous Lorelei Rock on the Rhine River in nothing but her long blonde tresses while luring sailors to their doom through song made her a sensation in the European press. Now committed to acting, Danning trained for three years with noted Munich drama coach, Annemarie Hantschke, yet the only roles she was offered were those exploiting her beauty and sex appeal.

Her involvement in international co - productions was more rewarding. Another personal triumph was the brilliantly titled The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried, an fantasy adventure ( or rather soft porn adventure ) which saw her portray another legendary beauty, Kriemhild. More or less clothed. Well, not very often clothed would be more precise. The next year, she had a role in one of Robert De Niro’s first films, Sam's Song. Fifteen films later, Danning finally was given a more challenging role as the bareback riding African farm girl in Whispering Death with Christopher Lee in 1976.

She would go on to make five films with Lee in Europe over the span of a decade. In 1972, she was in the cast of Bluebeard, along with Raquel Welch and Richard Burton, playing a high - class prostitute. The same year, she appeared in Eye of the Labyrinth, a giallo thriller worth checking out alongside The Red Queen Kills 7 Times. Also noteworthy were her films The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers, again acting with Raquel Welch; both films were produced by Ilya and Alexander Salkind and received critical and popular success. Things were looking good for Sybil as she took a part in a Claude Chabrol movie, Folies Bourgeoises, in 76.

In 1977, she was praised for her role as a sadistic terrorist headed for Entebbe in the Best Foreign Film Oscar nominated Operation Thunderbolt with Klaus Kinski. As producer, Danning provided full financing out of Germany and distribution as well as casting her friend Klaus. Crossed Swords was her fourth appearance besides Raquel Welch. At ease with languages, Sybil was in no way lost in all these european co - productions.

1978 – 1989 : Sybil´s big breakthrough or It´s a Sybil Danning World

But Hollywood was calling ! And why not ? Famed movie critic Roger Ebert admitted to being a fan, so… Sybil’s agressive sex - appeal was welcome in many action adventures with sexy situations. In 1978, Danning moved to Hollywood, California, to further her career in american films. She left behind all her friends and family in Europe and pursued her career with no contract, no agent, and no idea what the future would bring. In 1980 Battle Beyond the Stars saw her portray an extra - terrestrial amazon who got her breasts fogged out during the movie prime - time tv premiere !

Named Saint - Exmin, this remains one of her best performances and earned her The Golden Scroll Award of Merit from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. This science fiction movie was sort of a remake of the cult western The Magnificent Seven, itself a remake of the best picture of all time, Seven Samurai directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Sybil took part in another variation of this same premise for The Seven Magnificent Gladiators, alongside tv´s Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.

Jungle Warriors, Panther Squad or S.A.S. San Salvador saw Sybil kicking butt, more often than not while wearing stiletto high heels and a bikini.

Her incredible nude scenes in They’re Playing with Fire got her a lot of attention, as was her presence in the heavenly sleazy Chained Heat as a chaingang mama, alongside potential future sexplotation sirens Linda Blair, Stella Stevens and Tamara Dobson. A bit like Sigourney Weaver, Sybil was now considered to be a female Stallone or Schwarzenegger!

In 1983, Danning graced the cover of the August issue of Playboy which included a pictorial naming her Queen of the Action Flicks. Next, Danning co - starred again with Christopher Lee in Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, playing Stirba, an evil werewolf queen. I have recently re - watched it and have to conclude that the movie lives through Sybil´s presence and would be long forgotten if she didn´t take her clothes off.

The producers also were aware of how much the movie owes to her which is why the scene with Sybil Danning revealing her substantial bare breasts was repeated seventeen times ( ! ) during the end credits screen crawl.

She began to guest - star in many american television series, notably A Man Called Sloane, Vega$, Simon & Simon, Masquerade and The Fall Guy.

She even got her own comic book ! Sybil had her first tailor - made action comic book SYBIL DANNING is BLACK DIAMOND, a cross between James Bond and Modesty Blaise, published by AC COMICS which spawned a quartet of comic books featuring her character's further adventures.

She also had the dubious honor of being awarded a couple of Razzie Awards for Worst Actress, though some people can dare anything ! Around that time, Sybil lost out on the lead female role in the new 007 adventure, Octopussy, to less aggressive Maud Adams which was a big loss for Bond fans. In 1986, Danning was seen with the troubled rocker Wendy O. Williams in Reform School Girls, a campy " women in prison " film.

As it could not be otherwise she also appeared in Malibu Express, the second Andy Sidaris movie as Andy assembled any available sexbomb, playmate centerfold and erotic actress of reknown from that time.

Since it was one of the earliest movies there were a lot of kinks in it and you can see that it´s already going in the direction the later movies would follow although the patented Andy Sidaris formula is not in full effect. This is also the movie with the most sex scenes which are the most explicit from the entire Bullets, Bombs and Babes series. For which we can only be thankful because we get to see much more of Sybil Danning.

She plays dragon lady Contessa Luciana in the movie, who enlists the hero to investigate. If I remember correctly - it´s hard to keep the various Andy Sidaris movies apart - she turns out to be a cold blooded killer or special agent which is a crying shame because she´s so stunningly sexy.

Andy Sidaris must have felt the same way because in the movie´s final fifteen minutes he goes to the trouble of redeeming her character.

Malibu Express is an action film that possesses that one element that is sorely lacking from many action films : gregariousness. The hero is a lovable, joking hayseed who never feels like he's in danger ( except when he's fending off fellatio from topless women during a helicopter chase ), and always has a casual attitude toward the intrigue around him. Indeed, when he solves the mystery at the end, he gets excited to have done so.

As is par for the course, this Andy Sidaris production is all over the place in terms of story. With so many sub - plots in Andy’s scripts I often wonder how he doesn’t over - look things. Yet at the end of every film, every single sub - plot gets tied up and resolved. This is one of the things I love about Andy’s films. No matter how complex or questionable they first appear, everything gets resolved, even if the resolve is silly or even unbelievable. Malibu Express is no different in terms of plot twists and turns. The story at times is complex but it all comes together in the end.

The other thing I love about Andy Sidaris is, he has no issues whatsoever exploiting the women in his films. He does so with grace and style never making his performers feel less than what they are. Besides, if you’re a former playmate and sign on to an Andy Sidaris production, then you likely knew you were going to get naked at some point or another.

As far as the film goes, I really enjoyed Malibu Express. The script is believable ( well, to a point ) and it throws a lot less one - liners at you if compared to his later productions. And while you can’t take the story too seriously, there are a few very funny moments throughout the film ( scenes or one - liners if you will ) that should have you laughing at Cody.

Malibu Express was written, produced and directed by Andy Sidaris. The film was shot in and around Beverly Hills, Willow Springs Raceway in Los Angeles and parts of the Mojave Desert. It was distributed by Universal Studios and released in March of 1985. The leading man, Darby Hinton, was no stranger to the business as he appeared in 110 episodes in the popular tv series Daniel Boone ( 1964 - 1970 as a child actor ). Along with his stunning good looks, his performance in Malibu Express is more then serviceable. Hinton also appeared in several different tv series throughout 70s and 80s and in Greydon Clark’s Wacko ( 1982 ).

Malibu Express also features a variety of beautiful girls, most of which were Playboy Playmates. It stars Kimberly McArthur ( January 1982 ), Barbara Edwards ( September 1983 ), Lorraine Michaels ( April 1981 ), and Lynda Wiesmeier ( July 1982 ). Needless to say, they all get naked ( or at least go topless ) at one point or another presenting the viewer with an orgy of perfectly shaped boobs throughout the entire run of the film.

After the sketch parody Amazon Women on the Moon she founded her own production company, Adventuress Productions, Inc., and put out L.A. Bounty, in which she starred and helped with the script. In the vein of Mamie van Doren and Elvira, she also became the official host for a collection of 26 action adventure movies, Sybil Danning’s Adventure Video, for USA Home Video. She appeared at the beginning, with campy one - liners, introduced the video, and returned at the end to wrap it up.

In 1989, Danning re - teamed with the producers of Bluebeard, The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, to play a succubus in tv´s Superboy.

1990 - 2002 : Hiatus

In 1990, Danning's acting career was delayed by an accident in a gymn while rehearsing a film stunt, consisting of flipping a girl on her back !

For the next two months, she rested, while working with writers from her film L.A. Bounty, but the pain worsened. The doctors misdiagnosed her condition as either a strained muscle or a damaged nerve, and they just prescribed some painkillers and massages. Finally, a surgeon, who had been recommended by Jack Nicholson, discovered she had two severely herniated discs, and put Sybil into the hospital that same afternoon.

Sybil Danning underwent a series of painful epidurals, followed by traction. At that point she could not walk and was bed - ridden or in a wheelchair. At first she was determined to overcome her orthopedic problem without surgery, but the pain became too overwhelming. Danning finally consented to a new microdiscectomy technique on the day after Thanksgiving 1990. She spent the entire following year recovering and watched the duration of the Persian Gulf War from her hospital bed.

More happily, Sybil married German businessman, Horst Lasse, who actually consented to be called Horst Danning! He was the owner of a hockey team in Germany and his new spouse became a rabid fan.

2003 - present : The triumphant return of Queen Bee Sybil Danning

In 2003, Sybil Danning returned to public performances. She started by appearing in the fan memorabilia convention circuit, with appearances in California, Chicago, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, among others. The Chiller Theater in New Jersey included footage of Danning in her first appearance in its 2004 documentary, UnConventional. It’s with great delight to note that the year 2007 marked Danning's return to the big screen, most notably in the film Grindhouse, where she pays homage to the great Dyanne Thorne in her Ilsa character, in a faux trailer titled Werewolf Women of the SS. This was followed by her appearance in Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween. How could we ask for more? But more we want and more we got. In 2008, Danning returned to Europe to film Patrick Swayze's last film Jump!, an Austrian/UK production set in 1928.

She then appeared in the third season of cable series The Lair as Frau von Hess, a sinister vampiress out to kill the vampire whose influence over her son caused her transformation. In 2010, she played the maniacal Danita Herrington in independent horror film Virus X. In 2011, she starred in and produced a music video for hard rock band The Last Vegas.

I read that Danning was in pre - production for a new vampire film The Last Revenants but apparently it was canned. I have the fastest readers on the net. What is still true is that the character she created and played in L.A. Bounty, Ruger, is in development as a videogame and comic book.

Sports - what, really ? Yes, really. Just go with it, we´re almost finished

From 2002 to 2003, Sybil Danning was a shareholder of the german ice hockey club SC Riessersee. As the first ever female co - owner of a german hockey team, Danning brought in three american players to the team, and saw the team return to the Vice Championship. Danning is currently looking to buy and turn around an english football club.

So that is all about cult siren Sybil Danning. Again I want to say thanks to CULT SIRENS and ALCHERON and I hope this brought back some pleasant memories for all the readers from my generation and helped the younger people to get some edchumacation or how that is called. As usual you find the best and most useful things last and I probably should have gone to Sybil Dannings website first where you´ll find a more detailed biography .

Since I have already covered the rest of Today´s birthdays in the Carmine Infantino post ( which was written before this but appears on the blog after this - confusing I know ) we can go right into the videos with Elvira. Since I wrote that Sybil Danning played the host like Elvira I thought let´s see how she does it. I have found quite a few of these Yesterday and while Halloween is still a few months away I might post more of these. 

This video is for my german readers since they can actually understand it as well as the other readers because they might not have seen it. It´s the episode of Derrick Zeichen der Gewalt where Sybil Danning is guest stars.

Now I would have preferred to put the Herkules movie with Lou Ferringo in the post but since you can´t find that on YouTube here´s The Seven Magnificient Gladiators, another Lou Ferrigno vehicle starring Sybil.

I could not find the right place to include it in the text, nevertheless I wanted to post this clip from Phantom Empire with Sybil wearing thigh boots a cleavage of Power Girl level proportions. Sybil as Power Girl...

Last but not least since they were in so many movies together and I don´t have enough occassions to post Raquel Welch videos here she is in a bikini from the movie FATHOM. Which doesn´t have anything to do with any of the comic books by the late Michael Turner of the same name. 

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best


Steven Millan said...

THE LAST RELEVANTS is unfortunately canned,for Sybil is currently working on getting RUGER(L.A. BOUNTY 2) made into a film(with a recently released comic book miniseries),as well as appearing at various conventions.

SUBZERO said...

Thanks for the info. And just in time before I finish the post.