In a dark and secluded corner of London there lies a secret few know exists. For on occasion a haunted mansion opens its unassuming doors to the brave in search of a frightful evening. Those who dare enter immediately find themselves in an enchanted courtyard that leads to the house itself. Once inside, be careful of the ghosts and ghouls who inhabit this place!.....
Early this year I found myself invited to an evening of spooky fun at The Haunted Picture House. Its location I cannot divulge save for it being a secret London location (you find out where on purchase of the tickets). This is to ensure some mystery and exclusivity of the evening and because the house itself is in a residential area and is very ordinary looking from the outside (something the owners wish to keep!)
The idea behind The Haunted Picture House is an evening of themed fun around a central horror film, but that is just the beginning.
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Once inside, the most appropriate response is wow. This venue is truly incredible, and how they have created it is a marvel. It is simply fantastic. As you walk in there is a bar directly onto your right (which got heavy use from me throughout the evening.) Straight in front of you there are steps down to the performance area of the venue which is stunning. There is a large stage and generous seating and tables, which perplexes you as to the dimensions of the house you have entered. The whole room and indeed house is stuffed with strange objects, horror memorabilia and curiosities that the owner has collected from a lifetime fascination with horror and his own career in entertainment (you will find out who the owner is when you attend!)
When I arrived at the venue earlier in the summer, I wasn't entirely sure I had got the right place. The House, although very large looks very ordinary from the outside. There is no advertising whatsoever to tell you, you are in the right place. It wasn't until I saw a cat lady (yes cat lady) poking her head through a small door to the left of the house, that I realised this must be it. Once I was confirmed on the guest list I was invited to explore and enjoy the house and grounds before the film begins. Before getting in to the actual house there is a wonderfully spooky courtyard to explore. There are lots of tables and chairs and secret alcoves for outside refreshments and socialising later in the evening. Guests are very much encouraged to use the venue to its full extent. The courtyard is full of swirling mists and horror artefacts leading up to the entrance to the house itself.
There is much to see and do around the house. Among the hologram ghosts and moving pictures, the whispering chair tells your future and a trip to the haunted cellar is a must. I enjoyed it so much I went down twice to hear the creepy stories and get a couple of scares from the vampire hostesses.
Before the film commenced there was a small stage show of monsters and demons coming out of the stage and moving among the guests (something that happens all evening.) as well as bangs and scares of special effects. There was also a creepy child walking around which I found particularly disturbing!
The film I saw was rather special as it was a tribute to the recently departed Christopher Lee. It was wonderful to see the original Hammer Dracula in such a venue with so many other appreciative horror fans.
As a strange twist, The League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith turned up supposedly making an escape from the cellar he had been locked up in! It was another example of a really funny and scary moment of the evening.
Once the film was over, the haunted cellar tours recommenced and the tables were cleared for late night dancing.
This is a truly incredible evening in a really unique and fascinating venue. The owner and hostesses really make you welcome into the home and I have rarely had as much fun as I did here. This is an evening that is highly recommended. Horror fans do not miss out!
The Haunted Picture House is playing The Unfolding this Friday 30th October. And as its Halloween, scary fancy dress is recommended. Please see here for tickets and further info including a detailed breakdown of the evening's fun and games.
If you can't get tickets, never fear as the Haunted Picture House will be back with a new film, just keep your eye on the website or sign up to their mailing list. Follow on twitter @HauntedPicHouse
If you really can't wait...you can always check out Simon Drakes House of Magic.....!!
I will leave you with one final picture of the evening. Here is me bottom right being extremely brave and not looking scared at all...promise!!...