Who was… Krista Nell

Krista Nell
Krista Nell
Giacomo Rossi Stuart and Krista Nell
Giacomo Rossi Stuart and Krista Nell

Considering that she appeared in over 35 films between 1965 and 1975 – many of which have gone on to become firm cult favourites over the years – it’s amazing that so little is known about Austrian actress Krista Nell. Born as Doris Kristanell in 1946, she started her film career in France with an uncredited role in Pierrot le Fou (65) and used the pseudonym Christa Nelli in a handful of low budget productions like Massacre pour une orgie (66). It didn’t take long, though, for her to make her way to Rome, where there was a constant appetite for attractive actresses to appear in low budget b-movies; and she fitted into the milieu with some vigour. Flitting between Italy and Spain she often made four or five films a year, ranging from westerns to spy films, from jungle adventures to horror movies. She wasn’t usually the main star, but often had important secondary roles.

Most of the productions she appeared in were low budget and ignored by the mainstream critics, but with time they’ve found a second life on video and DVD. Among her most notable appearances were: The Million Eyes of Su-Muru (67), Blindman (71), Feast for the Devil (71) and So Sweet So Dead (72). She was probably more active in the decameroticon genre than any other, appearing in Decameroticus, Decameron II, Sexy Sinners, Le calde notti del Decameron (all in 1972) and Roman Scandals ’73 and Le amorose notti di Ali Baba (in 1973).

Tragically she died at the age of 29 in 1975, a victim of leukemia, and she was forced to switch to a supporting role in her last film, The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance, because of her illness. Prior to that she had been the long term companion of Italian actor Ettore Manni, who had forged a similarly busy career in B-Movies of the time and later committed suicide, partially because he wasn’t able to overcome his grief (they appeared together in the unforgettable Jungle Master (72), Arrivano Django e Sartana… è la fine and Les belles au bois dormantes (both 70)). Unfortunately because of her early death there’s very little existing interview or biographical information about her. If I can find anything more about her, I will post it here… in the meantime, if you have anything to add, please comment below!


About Matt Blake 890 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.


  1. Doris Kristanell, geboren1946 in Naturns, Burggrafamt bei Meran. Dort zur Schule gegangen.
    Also ital. Staatsangehörige. Das Grab befindet sich auf dem städtischen Friedhof, Meran.

  2. I first became aware of Krista Nelli in 1975 as she was known then, in the London TV Rediffusion first episode production of “Riviera Police” when she appeared on the cover of TV TIMES for 30/7/65.I visited in later years the magazine library at Colindale, North West London to obtain a copy of this magazine and a comment by the tv critic of Riviera Police.Much later I bought as many of her films on DVD as I could such as her best one “Tanz Des Satans”(1971), “The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance” (1975),”The Becket Affair”, and “Massacre for an Orgy”.I wish “Riviera Police” could be shown again!

    • I’d never heard of this – bit before my time… Here’s a description from Cherished TV (http://www.cherishedtelevision.co.uk/rivierapolice.html):

      Riviera Police is an action-drama series set in the South of France. The series ran for one season only in 1965. A total of 13 x 60 minute episodes were made by Rediffusion Television and Guest-Starred several well known actors, including Roy Marsden, June Thorburn, Patrick Mower, Wanda Ventham, Anthony Valentine and John Le Mesurier.

      The writers of the show included Brian Clemens and future sexploitation specialist Derek Ford

  3. My comment above dated 3rd August 2015 should have stated “I first became aware of Krista Nelli in 1965 (not 1975)….”.I was immediately attracted to her long dark brunette hair and sensuous figure and was my idea of a continental glamour starlet at a time when my hormones were in overdrive!This 71 year old still yearns for her after 52 years!

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