Although the classic British horror studio Hammer Films is making a comeback of sorts (they currently have Let The Right One In remake Let Me In and erotic thriller The Resident both in post-production), it seems that the future of Bray Film Studios – Hammer’s home between 1951-1966 – is unfortunately looking rather bleak. The world famous studio near Windsor is currently under threat with the present owners having applied for permission to develop the site into residential properties, which would see the demolition of existing Bray Studios buildings and effectively bring about the end of the historic independent film studio.
Originally renting country houses in which to shoot their films, Hammer purchased the Grade II listed Down Place in 1951 to use as a location for their slate of gothic horror classics including The Quatermass Xperiment, The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Camp on Blood Island. Developing the surrounding grounds into a fully-fledged studio complex, Bray Studios went on to become one of the most prominent film and television production facilities in the country. Bray continued to serve the British film industry after it was sold by Hammer in 1960, serving a host of productions such as the likes of Alien, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Hope and Glory, Mutant Chronicles, Resident Evil, The Hole, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Velvet Goldmine).
So, you ask, what can I do about it? Well, you can start by heading over to Robert Simpson’s blog Save Bray Studios and join the campaign to save this important part of British film history. The campaign is also running on Facebook and Twitter, while the Watching Hammer blog has posted a list of things people can do to help. If you have the time, please check them out.
Save Bray Studios!