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British Horror Film Locations by Derek Pykett

01/04/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy British Horror Film Locations in the USA - or Buy British Horror Film Locations in the UK

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pub: McFarland. 206 page illustrated indexed small softcover. Price: GBP34.95 (UK), $39.95 (US). ISBN: 978-0-7864-3329-2.

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‘British Horror Film Locations’ is an important book. It is the first book to provide only the details of outside location filming on one hundred and forty-seven horror films that were made in the UK under one cover. As author Derek Pykett points out, many of these places are private residences now so you have to respect their privacy but if you’ve ever wondered where certain scenes were filmed, then this book is a positive goldmine. I just wish there was an equivalent book for British Science Film Locations. At the back of the book, there are details of particular locations and many of these are actually hotels now so you can stay there should you choose.

Going through the film section, the earlier film is ‘The Mystery Of The Mary Celeste’ in 1935 and the latest film is ‘Half Light’ in 2006. There are about five or six SF films noted, including the first two ‘Quatermass’ films. I can understand the inclusion of ‘The Elephant Man’ (especially as the late Freddie Francis also wrote one of the introductions) but not so sure about ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (hence the unsure number of SF films included) and ’10 Rillington Place’ (cos it was based on a real event). I was puzzled occasionally why some studio-bound films were included but presumably because they filmed outside of the stage. Of course, many British films were studio bound so any absences in this list can easily be explained by that knowledge.

It’s interesting to discover how many of the places still survive in some form or other. The famous building used in ‘The Legend Of Hell House’ (1973) is still there for instance and just as spooky in the wrong light or mist. Some places, like the Winchester Cavern, seen in ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ (2004) have cropped up elsewhere on television, including much earlier in ‘The Paradise Club’ and, I think, ‘The Sweeney’ over the years. There is also a lot of cross-referencing and places used in ‘Harry Potter’ and the first Tim Burton ‘Batman’ film turn up.

What you would think would be a dry read is actually a bit of a page-turner and I found myself sneaking in pages throughout the day because there are not only details as to what scenes were filmed where but the history of the buildings themselves. Britain has a wealth of old gothic buildings and castles that makes it ideal for period dramas. If you have an inkling to discover them or just to see where particular films were made, then you will treat this book as your bible. I can see many of you booking your holidays already.

GF Willmetts

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