Bray Film Studios in Berkshire, is to be closed down, and developed into a number of executive houses. 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. This has angered many films directors, including Terry Gilliam who filmed The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus at the site. Gilliam said ‘There is still a place for the smaller studios like Bray. There is a feeling that things have been allowed to decay.’
Gilliam is talking about the general feeling that the former studios, which was regularly used by the UK’s Hammer Horror company, has been left to fall apart. 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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed at Bray Studios, and star of that film, Richard O’Brien, has also joined the petition to stop this happening. He said ‘I would hate to see developers turn Bray into some riverside homes.’
Bray is best known for its connection to Hammer, who used the studios for some fifteen years and show many classics there including Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein. 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.
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.
(Source: The Guardian)