Last year we learned the terrifying true story of the Borley Rectory, known as “the most haunted house in England”, when incredible artist Ashley Thorpe first set out to create a new animated documentary about the story. From the early 1900s, strange occurrences have plagued the people and haunted the grounds around what was initially the home of a series of Reverends and their families. Hauntings and strange sightings were reported there for decades, even investigated by an early ghost hunter, and the grounds on which the Borley Rectory once stood have created their own history as one of the most haunted places on earth. Please read last year’s post about The Borley Rectory for all of the details.
Since then, the team behind the Borley Rectory animated film has achieved many of their goals, beginning with a
successful indiegogo campaign that secured funding for the ambitious passion project. I caught up with artist and director Ashley Thorpe to find out what is new with the project and when we can expect to see the finished film. He had some interesting things to tell us, and some new and exciting incentives for anyone that wants to help get this film made!
According to the director :
It’s a subject that seized my imagination as a child after stumbling across the legend in the Usbourne Book of Ghosts at the local Library as a kid. I think it was that moniker ‘The Most Haunted House in England’ that really struck a chord. This wasn’t just ‘a’ haunting, it was ‘THE’ haunting. And being a visualist first and foremost it was a story that was full of these wonderful gothic archetypal ghosts; the phantom Nun, the ghostly carriage and all of that wonderful material.
It was initially pitched as a very short modest local piece, kind of a found footage thing wherein the film was just going to be a collection of lost reels shot within the house during the Price occupancy. But when the Art council lost interest in that I took it away and made it something far more involved and personal. Obsessional actually. I realized that here was a complex genuine story – as much about the human need to believe in ghosts and duplicity as the supernatural – that had never really been told before, certainly on film.
Borley Rectory is essentially an animated documentary, inspired by the haunting that caught the worlds imagination during the late 1920’s. It’s going to be something quite old fashioned, black and white, very textural and stylised, with a house very much a projection of the personalities within it – and the ghosts manifestations of what may be missing from their lives. It’ll definitely be something a little different. I keep calling it an ‘ultrasound of a haunting’.
Since the initial success of the first crowd-funding campaign, several new formidable allies have joined up to help bring Mr. Thorpe’s vision to the screen. Including Reece Shearsmith, Jonathan Rigby, Nicholas Vince, Richard Strange and Sabrina Dickens among many others. They also have a great narration by Julian Sands already recorded and an original score by Steven Severin awaiting us once it is finished!
After the campaign ended last year we had a few initial delays; one due to clashing schedules – Reece was a man in demand and pretty much shot I think 3 TV series back to back so we had to wait for him to be available. But also my baby daughter was born in February so we stepped down a gear while I spent time with my family and focused on getting everything ready.
The first shoots took place at the end of May in London and were very successful. We shot a lot of key scenes, so now while I work on the captured footage we’ve gone back on the fundraising trail to raise additional budget for the remaining shoots. It’s all going towards the facilities, equipment and costumes. Everything else we pretty much do in house. The facilities we used were fantastic but even at a great rate they’re a professional studio so cost proper money. The benefit however of using a dedicated green screen set-up is the sheer amount of time it saves me when I’m doing all the compositing; it’s clean and I don’t have to muck around too much on corrections. It’s all there, looks great and I can get on with the fun stuff.
Incredibly we made our first budget target in a week so we’ve put up a number of stretch goals the first of which being £6000. The more we raise the more time we’ll have in that studio. You’ll literally be buying us more time to sculpt this into something unique and wonderful.
The new rewards are outstanding, and should be able to entice anyone interested in helping this film move forward with some of these one-of-a-kind items.
– A limited edition illustration from artist Richard Wells.
– Nicholas Vince, who will be portraying the Reverend Smith has offered a number of great rewards including signed Nightbreed and Hellraiser photos and two very rare Hellraiser Chatterer figures from his personal collection!
– Director and artist Ashley Thorpe is also going to be breaking open the paintbox this time and offering a few paintings. One will be a painting of Nicholas Vince as The Chatterer Cenobite (or Kinski if the supporter prefers) which Nicholas will sign.
Artwork by Ashley Thorpe.
– Reece fans may want to look out for the prop perk wherein they can own the glasses his character wore as journalist V C Wall. They’re genuine 1920 era spectacles.
– A hand made doll of the Phantom Nun by
Debz Demented Dolls.
– A phone call from the Warlock himself, Julian Sands!
– A signed and numbered Clive Barker print ‘Death’s Womb’ from Century Guild that was donated to the campaign by Seraphim productions.
According to director Ashley Thorpe :
I’ve long been a huge fan of Clive Barker. His work and encouragement over the years not only gave me the belief in myself to even attempt to be a film maker / artist but almost certainly led to me to write for Fangoria. So this support means a great deal to me personally. I discovered actually this week via Mark at Seraphim that Clive has a number of my animations in his DVD collection which is insane quite frankly!
It’s very exciting. The horror community has really come out and supported us. We’ve had kind words from Neil Gaiman, Mick Garris and the fantastic Soska twins. There seems to be a whirlwind of excitement now about this project and I’m sat in the middle of it wondering if it’s all real. I’m definitely not in Kansas anymore.
To learn more about how you can get your hands on one of these great perks, be sure and check out the
indiegogo campaign for the Borley Rectory and show your support for this very creative and exciting project!