Tuesday, November 6, 2018

...A Horror-Mood Horror Book Review... “Inside Bray Studios”

Your "Horridly Absent" "As In Late" "Horrifically Horrendous Host" is back with another “Horror-Mood Horror Book Review”

By way of introduction, readers of horror film books about the legendary Hammer Films Studios are no doubt familiar with the name of author and acclaimed Hammer Film expert Wayne Kinsey… Kinsey, who made his debut with a 24 issue series of prozines which chronicled the history of the fabled British film outfit under the title of “The House That Hammer Built” along with an additional “Dracula Special”, went on to write two of the most sought after tomes about the UK film house, “Hammer Films - The Bray Studios Years” and its follow up volume, “Hammer Films - The Elstree Studios Years” for Tomahawk Press… After the success of these initial efforts, Kinsey would go on to script two additional volumes for Tomahawk, “Hammer Films - A Life In Pictures” and Hammer Films - The Unsung Heroes”… For his next effort, “Hammer Films On Location”, Kinsey (along with Steve Kirkham) made the decision to set up his own publishing house under the banner, Peveril Publishing… Besides “On Location”, Peveril’s catalogue has grown to include “The Peter Cushing Scrapbook”, “Hammer’s Film Legacy”, “Running Scared”, the “Fantastic Films Series”, The Hammer Film Scrapbook Series” and “A Portrait Of She”…

Which brings us to Peveril Publishing and Kinsey’s current release, “Inside Bray Studios: The Complete Story Of Hammer’s House Studio”…


If you are a fan of Hammer Films Bray Studios output of films (from 1951’s Cloudburst to 1966’s The Mummy’s Shroud) then you will find this history of Bray Studios to be the most thoroughly researched tome to see publication to date.

Instead of breaking the book down for you after having read it cover to cover, I decided to post Peveril’s description of the contents of the book here for your perusal and approval…

“Hammer films took Down Place, a dilapidated mansion on the Thames outside Windsor, and turned it into the most unique film studio in England. Here we trace its history from Hammer and beyond to its closure with plans to develop the site into housing. We take you on a virtual tour of the studio, outside and inside, showing how Hammer developed it into a working studio. We’ll show how Hammer developed cramped space at the front of the studio into a back lot building set complexes which seemed huge on film. Hammer left the studio in 1966 to produce films in the larger studios but we show how they continued to use the studio for special effects on Moon Zero Two and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
Then we explore the incredible amount of film, TV and music work that went on in the studio after Hammer. We show how Hammer’s old stage 2 that housed their first Frankenstein set became the home for the model effects on Alien. Gerry Anderson made it a home for work on Space 1999, Terrahawks and Dick Spanner; the team on Terrahawks share their memories of working at Bray.
We have 3 separate chapters on the 1998, 1999 and 2007 Bray open days organised by Donald Fearney and Simon Greetham with loads of photos, many sent in by fellow fans showing the assembled guests and fans enjoying three incredible days at the studio.
We end with the sad demise of the studio showing evidence of the chronic damp damage that destroyed the interior of Down Place and the redevelopment plans to save it by converting into housing. At the moment the doors have been opened again temporarily to some productions as the redevelopment plans are finalised, but the photos will show that already the interior of the house has been gutted to its bare timbers to follow the extent of the dry rot damage and part of the studio has already had to be demolished because it was beyond repair and risking the integrity of the rest of the core house. A fascinating story that still continues.
This beautiful hardcover book clocks in at 344 pages in length with an excellent introduction by Wayne Kinsey followed by Kinsey’s main copy of the book, which is enjoyable, informative and thoroughly researched”…
Visually the book is stunning, with Steve Kirkham’s Tree Frog Communications design and layout work as always exemplary (coming from one graphic designer to another) and I’ve peppered this review • overview with a plethora of numerous examples of his outstanding work which one must surely hold a physical copy of in their hands in order to truly appreciate Mr. Kirkham’s craftsmanship…





I can only give this tome my highest recommendation and it is a must have for the Hammer Films completist and film purist…





Please note that this book is only available as a numbered limited edition of 800 copies and is available only direct from the publisher (it is not available in book stores or other online markets)… I’ve included the link in this review below as well as in the links section…

In closing, your “Repulsive Reviewer” can only say that these will go fast so… …Miss It Not…



To order “Inside Bray Studios”…

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