2018 Theatre of Blood London Locations Walking Tour

This year’s Theatre of Blood Locations Walking Tour, which took place on Saturday 28 July, was a resounding success (again), and I thank everyone for coming and enjoying the very long trek around London (which was greatly helped by some perfect summer weather).

Kensal Green Cemetery
Group shot by Andy Ellis
Kensal Green Cemetery
Photo by Mike Grant

This year, we started off at Kensal Green Cemetery, one of London’s Magnificient Seven –  where I conducted a tour around the Anglican chapel. It was here that the entire cast of Theatre of Blood assembled for the funeral of the first critic to meet their demise, George Maxwell (Michael Hordern), while Dennis Price’s Hector Snipe turned up as as corpse tied to the back of a horse. It is also the location of Lionheart’s memorial, and where Vincent Price’s Edward Lionheart disguises himself as gravedigger.

Kensal Green Cemetery
Photo by MIke Grant

Loudon RoadNext up was the site of the fencing school where Lionheart reveals himself to his nemesis, Peregrine Devlin (Ian Hendry), located in St John’s Wood, just a short stroll from Abbey Road Studios; then we had lunch on the banks of the river Thames in Hammersmith, where George Maxwell’s apartment lies in the shadow of the iconic Hammersmith Bridge.

Digby Mansions Hammersmith

Photo by Martin Skipper

Following lunch, we all took a bus ride to Dock Road in Brentford, where the site of Lionheart’s resurrection can still be viewed today above a working shipyard. Unfortunately, a couple of boats moored on the spot obscured the location  – but during my reccie a couple of weeks beforehand, I was lucky to photograph the area. However, a few of us did paid homage to the scene by downing some ‘Meths’.

Dock Road Brentford
You can see the bridge that our group is standing on can be glimpse in the top right hand corner of the film screen grab.
Dock Road Brentford
photo by Martin Skipper

Meths drinkersAfter a well-earned pint at a pub nearby (whose patrons were rather suprised by 30 people – many in our special Tour tees – descending on the place), we all headed to Putney – another key location as three key scenes where all shot in the area.

First up were the sites of the abandoned warehouse where Maxwell is butchered in a gory reenactment of the death of Julius Caesar and the Putney Hippodrome (which stood in for Lionheart’s lair, the Burbage Theatre). While both these buildings were demolished and replaced with a housing estate in 1975, our group had a lot of fun picking out the correct angles from some of the shots in the film.

Putney Hippodrome
inset photos by Mike Grant and Stuart Carroll
Weimar St Warehouse
This shot was taken last year, as I’d forgotten to get a shot this time round. But even after all these years, the black metal gate is still standing
Walker Place Shylock
Here’s me attempting to recreate Vincent’s Shylock pose on the same spot

And, a couple of streets away, we visited the exterior of the house that stood in for the home of Meredith Merridew (Robert Morley), where he is forced to eat his pet poodles baked in a pie, and where a comical police chase was staged.

Charlwood Road
Group shot by Andy Ellis

Next up, it was short bus ride to Wandsworth Town to visit The Causeway – the site of Devlin’s abduction and where Eric Sykes’ Sergeant Dogge has a deadly date with a speeding train.

The Causeway, Wandsworth
Group shot by Mike Grant

Our final destination was Vauxhall, where we took a close-up view of Devlin’s riverside apartment, Peninsula Heights (now the home of author and former politician Jeffrey Archer), were Lionheart takes his swan dive into the Thames. After one last group photo, we all said our goodbyes before some of us went for a well-earned dinner…

Peninsula HeightsVisiting all of the locations used in the film would really take two days, so each year we try to mix them up a bit, so it’s always an adventure and a great way to see parts of London even Londoners rarely visit. If you’d like to join us next year, then do sign up to the Vincent Price Legacy UK newsletter (click here to sign up) and join the Theatre of Blood Facebook Group (click here join).

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Oakley Court Hotel | A Theatre of Blood tour of the spiritual home of classic British Horror in Windsor

Vincent Price Legacy UK at Oakley CourtFor the past three years, I have been conducting tours of the many London locations used in Theatre of Blood with the assistance of Mike Grant, who hosts the Theatre of Blood Facebook group page, and it has become a fantastic day out criss-crossing London with fans of the black comedy starring Vincent Price and some of Britain’s finest thespians.

From Kensal Green Cemetery to the banks of the Thames in Putney, we have uncovered nearly ever single location used, but two have eluded us – the infamous decapitation scene in which Arthur Lowe loses his head, and a scene in which one of the meths drinkers is interrogated.

Thanks to some expert sleuthing from Rick Squires, who curates the Vincent Price Exhibit, we learned that Lowe’s scenes were shot in Room 103 at Oakley Court in Windsor: a suitably evocative gothic mansion that has been used in many a classic British horror (and non-horror) film, with quite a few by Hammer (whose Bray Film Studios were situated just down the road), as well as Richard O’Brien’s cult hit, Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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With that knowledge, I decided to organise a day out to Oakley Court, with the added attraction of hiring boats to view what is left of Bray Film Studios which is currently lying derelict, awaiting planning permission to be turned into luxury apartments. But the big surprise for those attending was that they would be able to view the infamous Room 103.

Thanks to Andy Ellis, a dedicated film location expert who had booked the room for the night, our group were able to access the room, where much of the furniture has not changed for over 40 years.

The group also got a further surprise when Andy donned scrubs to give his rendition of Vincent Price’s Dr Hypo – aka Edward Lionheart doing Shakespeare’s Cymberline as it had never been played before. And it also gave me a chance to play dead…

Oakley Court Hotel

Dr HypoIt turned out to be a great day – despite the typical British summer weather (yes, it was wet) – where we got to explore a place that has a deep connection with British film in general. The namecheck of the stars who have filmed at Oakley Court is endless – with those kings of horror Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff being the icing on the gothic horror cake.

The outpouring of thank you’s on the Theatre of Blood and Vincent Price Legacy UK Facebook pages following the day has been really touching and the pictures that were taken are a real hoot (check them out by clicking on the photos, and also here).

Below are a handful of comments which I am hugely thankful for as they really make organising these events so worthwhile. Thank you everyone!

THANK YOU’S…
‘A mind blowing day thanks for organising it Peter!’ Merlyn Roberts

‘The best Saturday this year!!!’ Jason D. Brawn

‘An amazing day spent with the most awesome friends’ Alan Hoare 

‘It was a fantastic day! Thanks Pete and Andy’ Roni Romero 

‘Wow!!! We had such a fantastic day yesterday!!! Thank you so much to all the amazing people there, who made it very special. Most of all Peter Fuller for organising everything for us! you are a complete gent!!!’ Selene Paxton-Brooks

‘Many, many thanks to Peter and Andy for a splendid day and everyone else for being so very friendly and sporting on my first legacy jaunt. Oakley Court well surpassed my expectations – it’s really stunning and still has a powerfully magic effect. The interior wasn’t too messed around with either – it still has a grand gothic style & ambience, while Room 103 is truly to die for! Great to see Bray – dog-eared as it is – and explore film locations via Windsor alleyways.’ Paul Houghton

Thank you so much Andy, a great day and your film knowledge is inspirational. Room 103 was an absolute hoot.’ Stuart Carroll

AND A WORD FROM ANDY…
‘I’d like to say a huge thank-you to all the people involved in making last Saturday so special. I had an awesome time, and have masses of very happy memories (and photos!). It was great to meet old and new friends, and to finally see some people who have only been Facebook Friends up till now, and to capture yet more location shots (particularly in rooms that are not always accessible). I loved the boat trip to Bray Studios and really enjoyed showing fellow fans around, especially inside room 103. The biggest thanks have to go to Peter – if you hadn’t found the publicity shot of VP outside the hotel, we’d never have discovered the Oakley Court bedroom (via Rick Squires’ detective work), and your planning the whole event and organisation of the itinerary, the transport, boat hire and room rota were so efficient.’ Andy Ellis

If you’d like to join us on any future Vincent Price Legacy UK tours, then do sign up to the mailing list here: http://bit.ly/2uWRtp0

 

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Catch Theatre of Blood on the big screen at Curzon Canterbury this Halloween

Curzon CanterburyThe Curzon Canterbury is proud to bring you a Vincent Price evening, screening Theatre of Blood, with a special Q&A with poster artist extraordinaire Graham Humphreys (who designed the original UK quads for pretty much every iconic horror film of the 80s and also created the fab label on the Vincent Price Ale, Black Cat), and Peter Fuller, curator of the Vincent Price Legacy UK!

Join us for a classic horror, unique competition prizes, a great panel discussion and an unforgettable evening – and let’s not forget some Vincent Price Ale.

Tickets ON SALE NOW

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