From Zombie actress to barrister…”You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again”

By Finchley Atticus

Whenever I review movies I sometimes wonder whatever happened to that particular actor who played such-and-such character, or the actress who played the damsel in the stress suffering at the hands of the villain. Especially if I’ve never heard of that performer before. Did they end up pursuing an acting career, or did they lead regular lives and move to the suburbs to raise a family? Or did they end up becoming say, a lawyer for instance?

Back in the late 90s I saw my first ever Zombie movie at the Australian National University film club. Despite Zombi 2 (aka Zombie)  being campy and predictable at times (what did I expect, a dramatic political thriller featuring zombies fighting contemplating the meaning of existentialism?), this Italian production had one incredibly gruesome zombie killer scene that really stuck in my mind. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but when I tell friends that it’s one of the most horrific scenes in cinematic history (okay, maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but still), they scoff incredulously and insist I dare to describe the scene. Minutes later my friends are regretting I ever recounted the scene because it really is gruesome with a capital G. All I can say is it involves a zombie, one of the eyeballs of the hapless victim, and a small yet lethal splinter in a very painstaking yet very effective scene. I remember the audience at the film club collectively grossing and squeaming out. Just in case you’re wondering, the clip is on YouTube.

Zombi 2 was made in 1979 and I couldn’t help wonder whatever happened to the actress, Olga Karlatos, who played was in her early 30s when she played that victim in that most memorable scene. Did Olga end up continuing with her acting career or did she end up moving to the suburbs and lead a regular and fulfilling life? I’m pleased to say Olga, now approaching 70, led a remarkable life who pursued her passion for learning and career development. After her memorable turn in Zombie 2, Olga moved to Bermuda with her husband Arthur Rankin (no slouch himself in the entertainment industry – he was a movie mogul responsible for amongst other things, the stop motion animation Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) and resumed her university studies to complete a bachelors and masters degree at New York University. Then after attending an information session at Bermuda College, Olga enrolled – with the encouragement of her husband –at the University of Kent Law School. It was a major period of adjustment for Olga, especially being the oldest student in her class, but she persevered with her desire to learn, matched with her enthusiasm and idealism. I wonder if Olga’s fellow students at Kent ever realised she was a movie actress in one of the most gruesome scenes in a zombie movie?

At the age of 65, Olga became the oldest person to be called to the Bermuda Bar – no mean feat that’s for sure. Olga’s outlook in her changing career path serves as an inspiration to all, young and old…”You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again”.

Image: Rotten Tomatoes