Nic Wright

Reece Shearsmith to star in animated horror about Borley Rectory

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

League of Gentlemen star Reece Shearsmith is to appear in an animated short film about Borley Rectory – a building often touted as the most haunted in England.

Production on the 30-minute animated documentary, which features live action and fantasy sequences, is already in progress, however the filmmakers are now appealing for funding to finish it.

Carrion Films are looking for £3,000 to complete production, and have turned to crowdfunding website Indiegogo to raise it.

Built in Essex in 1862, Borley Rectory was damaged by fire in 1939, and eventually demolished five years later. Rumours of hauntings reached national attention in 1929 when the Daily Mirror printed an article on the Rectory by paranormal researcher Harry Price. Various paranormal events have reportedly occurred in the Rectory, with resident ghosts said to include a murdered nun, a screaming girl and a phantom coach, complete with headless coachmen.

“The project oozes as much quality as it does evil,” said Shearsmith, who plays Mirror scribe Vernon Wall. “Borley Rectory is one of the great ghost stories. I needed to be part of it.”

The film also stars Gothic horror historian Jonathan Rigby, Little Britain actor Steve Furst, and is narrated by A Room With A View’s Julian Sands.

Shearsmith first got on board with the Carrion Films team after seeing artwork from the film on Twitter.

Writer and director Ashley Thorpe told comedy website Chortle: “It’s all these Gothic ideas wrapped up into this little parcel, coinciding with this time of a new, scientific approach to ghost hunting.”

“Harry Price is such a complicated character – he was known for debunking these stories, then he gets caught up in possibly planting or inventing evidence, which makes for a great mystery. Like Jack the Ripper, it’ll probably never be solved because the evidence is so convoluted by the myth.”

Boasting a mixture of animated styles and “really weird techniques”, Thorpe describes the film’s look as “noirish” and “fantastic”.

“There are hand-drawn things in there, character capture, digital and traditional models, painted backgrounds and rotoscoping, where I’ve either drawn over the actors or contemporary photographs of the rectory. It’s perfect for this particular project, clouding what’s real and not real.”

While currently in talks with festivals about showing the film next year, Borley Rectory currently has no scheduled release date. Eventually, Carrion Films hopes to release the film on DVD, alongside cast and crew interviews, and earlier horror shorts.

You can contribute to the funding campaign by visiting the Indiegogo website.