Penny Dreadful 3: Screaming Skull launches into production….
“Horror is the badge of humanity, it is who we are. We are led to believe that the crimes and deeds of wicked men are inhuman. This is falsehood. Atrocity is as human as art or prayer…Between the pen and the page…as night follows day….like the dark face of the upturned stone…Ghosts…are to be expected.” – Ashley Thorpe
Spencer Penraddon returns from the 1st World War to his ancestral home. His sister has succumbed to the blight that has cursed the family since the hall was erected in the 17th century…and symbol of the family curse is the mysterious ‘Screaming Skull’.
Legend has it that the skull belonged to the loyal slave of 18th century Magistrate Azariah Penraddon. Upon his death the slave wished his remains to be returned to the West Indies. But for reasons unknown Azariah did not grant the slave’s final wish and his remains were interred on the edge of the family plot. It was soon after that the disturbances began…
If moved the skull was believed to emit terrifying screams and terrible commotions would sound through the house. As a consequence few have dared to disturb it for fear of the terrors it will unleash.
Spencer however, already reeling from the horrors of the Western front, wishes to be free of the house and its ghosts.
But the ghosts of Penraddon hall are not ready to be put to rest.
As Spencer walks the halls labyrinthine corridors, he is assaulted by horrors; spectres of the past…and a grim epiphany. that perhaps the deepest parts of our hearts really are inherited…
The Penny Dreadful project has won another bursary award: this time the Digital Animation bursary scheme 2008, funded by Animated Exeter / Exeter city council. The completed film will be premiered at ‘Two short nights’ 2008 and screened as part of Animated Exeter 2009.
The film itself tells the story of Spencer Penraddon, who returns from the trenches of the First World war to confront a family curse, symbolised by a macabre heirloom known as ‘The screaming skull’…
The film is due for completion Halloween 2008…
Project Greenlight Bursary open category award winner ‘Scayrecrow‘, gets top billing tonight as it receives its first screening.
Venue is the Exeter Phoenix arts centre (at the end of Gandy street, Exeter). Screening commences at 8pm. Tickets are £3 (with £2.50 concessions). There is a licensed bar and limited parking facilities.
Box office: 01392-667080
“For anyone who can make it, I would personally love to see you there.” – Ashley Thorpe
Penny Dreadful number 2: The Scayrecrow is now complete (in a festival length edit just under 12 minutes)… and has been handed over to Exeter Phoenix and Devon County council. Screening dates will be posted shortly.
Huge thanks to everyone who has aided its completion; especially Mick Grierson and James Harrod.
Following initial costume shoots and preliminary background work, the following images are available to provide an idea of the finished short. Also included is the first poster design.
From here on in its nose to the grindstone…with November dates set for preliminary edit and sound work with Mick Grierson.
Ed Berry & Jacqueline Thorpe
Artwork by Ashley Thorpe (C)
Short teaser trailer now available online (see trailers via film clips). The trailer was created as publicity for the Project Greenlight project and features footage that will not appear in the finished short.
Performers from the Dymchurch ‘Day of Syn’ re-enactment society help out in redcoat and pub tavern cronies duties for ‘Scayrecrow‘. Many thanks to all the people who kindly consented to be photographed in period costume to be used as extras in the animated short. Thanks especially to Heather (who featured on horseback as Dr Syn / Scayrecrow) and whose willingness to gallop up and down the beachfront will aid towards the dramatic chase finale.
‘Scayrecrow‘, second short animated film in the Penny Dreadful project, wins the Project Greenlight bursary award.
Co-funded by Exeter Phoenix arts centre and Devon County council, the award aims to allow South West based film makers to develop and produce a short film which will subsequently be screened at the Exeter Phoenix during 2008.
As with the series first entry ‘The Vampire‘, ‘Scayrecrow’ will be a blend of photographed / roto-scoped images and hand painted cells and backgrounds. Location shooting will be based in Devon and also around Dymchurch, Kent (home of the Thorndike character ‘Dr Syn’). The film itself is a tragic love story, stylistically inspired by Hammer’s output in the early 60’s.
The Penny Dreadful or the Penny bloods were sensational stories published in weekly parts. Usually with an emphasis on the terrible and the fantastic and often inspired by gothic melodramas of the time, the bloods were an important feature of Victorian sub culture.
Though once prolific, these items and the stories within are now scarce. The subjects once familiar, are now (bar Sweeney Todd and Dick Turpin perhaps) all but forgotten. Characters like ‘Spring heel Jack’, once a household name, are now esoteric.
Cultures may change in time and place, but the roots of culture remain the same. Like any story they exist through their telling and the bloods are not the only legacy that has passed with a generation. Many folk stories and communal legends once integral to the fabric of a regional, and perhaps national, identity are being lost because they are simply not being passed from one generation to the next.
Carrion film seeks to redress that.
Each film will draw from neglected local legends and aspects of the early Penny Dreadful’s. Some, like the phantom coach of Okehampton castle, have been drawn from folk songs. Some were once part of a shared English mythology, such as ‘the Lambton worm’, but have since slipped into obscurity outside the region that spawned them.
The diversity of these tales lies testament to the richness of our folklore’s heritage.
These then are simply new ways to tell old tales… but they are tales worth telling.
‘Once upon a time…there were local legends and folk songs about monsters. There were execution chapbooks and there were penny dreadfuls…
For a century these stories have been all but forgotten….until now.’