Hammer Housing Estate of Horror: Furious stars bare their fangs as historic Dracula studio is turned into luxury homes
- Owner of Bray Studios says location is no longer viable for movie-making
- But big names in the movie business are backing a campaign to save it
- Protesters set up Save Bray Studios Facebook page and started petition
By Chris Hastings
PUBLISHED: 18:28 EST, 27 April 2013 | UPDATED: 18:28 EST, 27 April 2013
It's a decision that must have set Dracula spinning in his coffin. The studios that were once home to the famous Hammer Horror films are to be turned into a luxury housing development.
The owner of Bray Studios in Berkshire says the iconic location is no longer viable for movie-making – and that he wants to put up to seven executive homes on the site.
But the plan has infuriated big names in the movie business, including Terry Gilliam, director of The Fisher King, and Richard O’Brien, composer and star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show – who are backing a campaign to save the studios.
Protesters have set up a Save Bray Studios Facebook page and started an online petition.
They claim that the studios are struggling only because showbusiness agent Neville Hendricks, who owns the site near Windsor, has let it run down.
Terry Gilliam, who made use of some of Bray’s facilities for his 2009 film The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, said: ‘There is still a place for the smaller studios like Bray. There is a feeling that things have been allowed to decay.’
Hammer bought the leasehold on the 16th Century house and transformed it and the surrounding area into a studio.
Richard O’Brien, the composer and star of Rocky Horror, said: ‘I would hate to see developers turn Bray into some riverside homes.’
Bray remains best known for its 15-year connection with Hammer Horror films, which featured stars including Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Hammer – also well known for its Eighties TV series Hammer House Of Horror – bought the leasehold on the 16th Century house and transformed it and the surrounding area into a studio. It was named Bray after the nearby village.
The property provided a backdrop and location for countless Hammer ‘classics’ – including The Curse Of Frankenstein in 1957 and Dracula: Prince Of Darkness in 1966.
Simon Oakes, the current chief executive of Hammer Films, now based at Ealing Studios, said: ‘I would love Bray to survive as it was an important part of the Hammer story. But I was there a couple of years ago and the facilities were pretty dilapidated, even then.’
The development plan was approved last summer and the campaigners believe demolition work is imminent.
Mr Hendricks was last night unavailable for comment.
In other UK monster news, Anthony Hinds, one of the masterminds behind the development of the modern day monster empire of Hammer, died Monday at the age of 91.