Borley Rectory unleashed …

borley rectory reece shearsmithAfter 6 years of development and 3 solid years of animation our first feature length film ‘Borley Rectory’ – featuring the talents of Jonathan Rigby, Reece Shearsmith, Claire Louise Amias, Annabel Bates, Nicholas Vince and Julian Sands to name a few –  has been finally released and out upon the world stage to – thus far – rave reviews.

Borley rectory, ashley thorpe, reece shearsmith, simon drakeThe first screening – albeit not strictly a public event – was held at Simon Drake’s ‘House of Magic’ in London on September 23rd and was attended by the cast, crew, backers aswell as a wealth of genre scholars and enthusiasts including Paul Adams, Eddie Brazil, Stewart Evans, Peter Laws, Neil Spring, Stephen Volk and Empire magazine’s Kim Newman. The event was kindly sponsored by ‘Haunted Magazine’ and was a huge success with the film receiving a overwhelmingly positive response. The screening was followed by a lively Q & A chaired by Simon Drake.


“This film really is all down to Ashley’s perseverence and brilliant skill at creating images that you feel as if you’ve never really seen before. There’s something really ethereal about the film and it’s an immersive experience, it’s part documentary, part almost installation in a weird way, it feels very ‘ghost-like’ and by the end you do feel quite literally haunted. ” – Reece Shearsmith


borley rectory, ashley thorpe, grimmfest, reece shearsmithThe first public screening followed with a fantastic screening at GRIMMFEST, held at the Vue Printworks Manchester and sponsored by Horror Channel, wherein the full obsessive detail of the animation and incredible 5.1 surround design by Martin Pavey could truly be appreciated. Festival director Simeon Halligan: “We were proud to present the world premiere of this remarkable and utterly unique film. Over six years in the making, it’s a real labour of love for its creator, Ashley Thorpe; combining traditional filmmaking technique with an elaborate mix of rotoscoping, digital animation and compositing, using a mixture of live action, stills, paintings, and model work, to offer an immersive, atmospheric, and elegantly retro-styled exploration of the Most Haunted House in Britain. Featuring a cast including the League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith, Julian Sands and Nicolas Vince, it’s an extraordinary cinematic experience. We’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

“Thorpe’s vision of the legend is elegant, meticulously cinematic, beautifully spooky, atmospherically enveloping. The detailed and seamlessly inter-woven animation and rotoscope by multi-talented Thorpe is hypnotic, shocking, visually stunning–each shot an artwork. This is a film for film noir lovers as well as haunted house and psycho-horror fans, conjuring up echoes of classic early British horror films like The Innocents, Haunting of Hill House, Psycho. Asks important and unusual questions about what we need from ghosts as well as what they need from us. This film is very, very different. Ken Russell seal of approval.” – Lisi Russell

Borley Rectory Celluloid Screams‘Borley Rectory’ has subsequently had successful screenings at Cinemagic Belfast, Dead of Night Festival Southport (wherein the film has received nominations for ‘Best Feature’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Score’), Folk Horror Revival Edinburgh, the Telluride Horror Show in Colorado (to a packed house) and Brit genre fave Celluloid Screams in Sheffield (with Nicholas Vince also in attendance) with many more screenings to follow before the end of Nov 17 including Buffalo Dreams in New York, Night Of Horror in Sydney and HorrorRama in Toronto. Festival booking are already coming in for 2018. Celluloid Screams director Rob Nevitt: “Ashley Thorpe’s extraordinary film, which is pitched as “an ultrasound of a haunting”: a beautifully realised artifact documenting the house’s various occupants throughout its history, both living and dead. Over six years in the making, Ashley Thorpe’s visually stunning tale of “the most haunted house in England” is unlike any horror film you’ve seen in recent memory. Combining live action, rotoscoping and digital animation techniques, Borley Rectory is a fascinating and enthralling experience that is as haunting as the events it depicts.”

“Those tired of the same old same old from the lower-budgeted end of British horror will find much here to restore the faith. Richly textured, with an extraordinary attention to detail, it’s the kind of film that haunts the memory long after the end credits have rolled in much the same way as the ghosts stalked the real life Rectory.” – Kevin Lyons

unseelie court, ashley thorpe, borley rectory“Borley Rectory is not exactly an easy sell – a purposely slow, ponderous unconventionally animated film about a dense narratively convoluted haunting spanning 60 years – so I’m thrilled not only to have got to the end over great adversity, but to be receiving such overwhelmingly positive reaction is a great relief,” says Ashley. ” I’m sure that there will be many that won’t like it or respond to it but the response we’ve received so far is incredible. Due to various issues – including Steven’s health – we only finished the film a few days before that first VIP party so we’ve barely had time to catch our breath before the thing went out into the world, so for it to be so in demand and antiscipated is incredible. We’ve barely started to even push it to a wider audience but it’s already had a dozen screenings lined up. This is just the beginning and I’m excited for the projects future. A victory for everyone involved and all that had the faith to suport it from the start.”

Ashley Thorpe BBC Spotlight Borley Rectory

Director Ashley Thorpe interviewed on BBC Spotlight

On November 6th 2017 Ashley Thorpe was interviewed for BBC Spotlight and the subsequent primetime feature broadcast both insights into the projects creation and its hardships, projected festival appearances aswell as a selection of clips from the film bringing further exposure to the much antiscipated feature.

With the film now touring the festivals Carrion Film will now also be looking into sales and ditribution, and with a number of offers already received, we are quietly confident that Borley Rectory will available for wide release / retail sale in 2018.


Borley Rectory – Trident & Beyond

13732018_10209464162862469Julian Sands and Ashley Thorpe Trident StudiosThe narration for  ‘Borley Rectory’ has concluded at the world famous Trident Studios in London, home to recordings by David Bowie, Queen, Frank Zappa and The Beatles.

The recording session featured VO work for key sections of the narrative by Julian Sands, Reece Shearsmith, Jonathan Rigby and Steve Furst and featured dialogue culled from genuine newspaper articles and accounts contemporary of the haunting’s investigation. The recordings also mark the end of the cast audio recordings leaving essentially only the final animation, sound mix (by Ben Wheatley’s regular sound artist Martin Pavey) and score (composed by Seven Severin) remaining before the long delayed production will finally see the light of day.

Production update

Originally ‘Borley Rectory’ was destined for completion around February 2016. Reasons for the ongoing delays this past 12 months have been numerous (including Steven Severin’s serious illness during the first half of the year) but are explained here by Director Ashley Thorpe as posted recently via social media:

Ashley and Lily - Western Morning News“I’ve had a number of messages from various interested parties (well wishers and not so well wishers) as to the progress of Borley Rectory and the situation is essentially this:

I was initially hoping for the animation to be finished early 2016 but redundancy at the beginning of the year followed by serious family illnesses (in both my 2 year old daughter and then my Father) and subsequently a huge downturn in my income over the following months has put great pressure on me to turn my focus towards paid work of any kind just to financially survive. The project has been scuttled by circumstance and austerity. But not sunk. Life gave our family a good fucking kick in this year but we’re not beaten yet.

Steve Furst and Ashley Thorpe Trident StudioI’m still working on Borley each night (once my young daughter is asleep) but progress has sadly slowed the past few months. The situation hasn’t gotten any better so for the time being – though animation continues (in fact seeing it crawling to completion is one of the few things that maintains any semblance of morale) – I still can’t give a definite date as to when Borley will be complete. I can only apologise for the ongoing delay and hope you can sympathise with the reasons behind it. I will get there.

Jonathan Rigby Reece Shearsmith and Ashley Thorpe Trident StudiosAs Julian Sands once said to my Dad “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” – Ashley Thorpe

So for the foreseeable future the animation continues (albeit at a slightly compromised rate) so to be ready for the sound mix and scoring later in the year or early next year. All available perks have been despatched with only the production reliant perks remaining (ie the vinyl scores and links / DVD’s of finished film) remaining. All updates can be found via the Carrion Film Facebook page.

Thank you for your patience and support!

Borley Rectory Returns!

poster ALT WEBHappy Halloween…It’s time to raise a few more ghosts! Yes, deep into production, we are once again calling upon the kindness of strangers to secure the remaining budget to finish the shooting of Borley Rectory.

A great deal has happened since the previous crowdfunder in 2013. The films cast is now all but complete and what a cast it is with new members  Steve Furst, Sally Mortemore, Richard Strange and Sabrina Dickens joining Reece Shearsmith, Jonathan Rigby, Nicholas Vince and Julian Sands.

“Looks wonderful – Neil Gaiman”

10431175_10152923296958072_6510803477760730857_oWe’ve had huge support for the film from a variety of sources none perhaps more prestigious than the recent affiliation with the curators of the British Library and the ‘Terror and Wonder’ Gothic exhibition no less (look out for a number of fantastic and exclusive videos from the exhibition to be released throughout the campaign!). If you’ve ever wondered how serial killer aficionado Reece Shearsmith would react to being face to face with an original Ripper letter…stay tuned!

“Absolutely beautiful … mesmerising” Reece Shearsmith

Exclusive clips from the completed scenes have been leaked (well…mailed out like Ripper kidney parcels)  to a number of major Horror Festivals (so keep your peepers peeled folks as they won’t be announced…) and a lengthy section will be hosted online by Fangoria. International festivals are already begging for the film (or sections of it) to screen and an upcoming indie studio has been in contact with us to seriously discuss the possibility of turning Borley Rectory into a feature…

“Absolutely STUNNING!” Axelle Carolyn

But first we need to get these shoots financed and to do that we need you! Have a look at the campaign page, watch the video, drool over the phenomenal perks (be warned devoted supporters we will be rolling out a wealth of special feature rewards throughout the campaign) and have your heart melted by Carrion Film’s newest member – little Lily Wednesday.

Borley Rectory is rising…Campaign runs from Oct 31st until December 14th. Help us raise a few more ghosts! SUPPORT NOW!

Great British Horror are also printing 2 exclusive t-shirts to support the campaign. The 2 designs (both original artwork by Fangoria cover artist Ashley Thorpe) are in full colour and feature a back print!


Profits from the sale of the T-shirts will go towards the Borley Rectory Indiegogo campaign.








Terror & Wonder at the British Library

10431175_10152923296958072_6510803477760730857_oAs part of the new Borley Rectory Indiegogo campaign (launching Halloween 2014) Carrion Films were invited ‘VIP’ to explore the new fantastic ‘Terror and Wonder’ Gothic exhibition at the British Library.

In attendance were Director Ashley Thorpe, Producers Tom Atkinson and Alice Bonasio and two of the film’s stars – Reece Shearsmith and Jonathan Rigby. Within a number of interviews were conducted; a discussion with curator Tanya Kirk on the Borley Rectory exhibits and the legends influence on supernatural literature in the 20th century, a focus on the notorious ‘Dear Boss’ Ripper letter and finally an informal discussion with Reece and Jonathan on ghosts stories and their personal fascination with the genre.

The first videos will premiere on Halloween with subsequent short films rolling out throughout the Indiegogo campaign so be sure to keep an eye on the campaign for exclusive content!

First Borley Rectory Shoot complete!

Borley Rectory - Reece Shearsmith-Ashley Thorpe - Jonathan RigbyIt’s been a long time coming but thanks to everyone that supported the 2013 Indiegogo campaign cameras finally started rolling today on Carrion Films latest venture – BORLEY RECTORY!

Budget shortfalls necessitated revisions of the production plan and calls for further funding / sponsorship but shooting commenced May 23rd 2014 at the VFX Co London with  primary cast members Jonathan Rigby (who will be portraying Harry Price), Reece Shearsmith (portraying journalist Vernon Wall) and Claire Louise Amias (portraying the wife of the Reverend Smith) capturing such iconic scenes as the discovery of the skull in the library, the first ghostly stakeout and the writing of the first newspaper report that led to the Rectory’s notoriety.Borley Rectory filming Reece Shearsmith

The day was a fantastic success finishing on budget and on time and – as the on set pix are testament to – the day was a lot of fun aswell. Now the long process of animation begins!

Invest in Borley Rectory

Borley Rectory 1 sheet 2013We’re looking for local businesses to invest in the production of  ‘Borley Rectory – The Most Haunted House in England’.

We’ve raised the funds to facilitate the initial shoots – commencing on the 20th May in London – but we need further funding to carry this ambitious production  to completion.


Be part of a film starring Reece Shearsmith

Borley Rectory filming Reece ShearsmithThe film will star Reece Shearsmith (League of Gentlemen, Inside No 9, The Widower and forthcoming ITV drama Chasing Shadows), Jonathan Rigby (Kenneth Horne in BBC production ‘Round the Horne Revisited’, Horror Historian, author of English Gothic), Richard Strange (Batman, Inkheart, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Claire Louise Amias (Provoked, Telling Lies, Women of Twilight), Sally Mortemore (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, A Cake for Mabel) Steve Hurst (Little Britain, Legend of Dick and Dom, Wuthering Heights), Sabrina Dickens (Night of the Living Dead Resurrection, Silent Night Deadly Night) and many others yet to be announced.

Julian Sands Ashley Thorpe Carrion FilmsThe film will feature a narration by Julian Sands (Naked Lunch, Warlock, Smallville, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and an original soundtrack by Steven Severin (Siouxsie and the Banshees, Vampyr).

We raised enough via an Indiegogo campaign in 2013 to begin production and shoot key scenes but will still need to source further sponsorship / investment to facilitate the completion and post-production of this ambitious project. We’re reaching out to potential investors. Could you join us at the most haunted house in England and raise a few ghosts?

“When l first came across Ashley Thorpe’s work as a film maker l was struck by his originality and passion,” states Sands. “The poetry and sensitivity of his images were compelling and extremely moving. When l heard he was developing a project based on the notorious Borley Rectory l had to be involved. Working on this astonishing piece has been immensely fulfilling and l am happy to have joined his repertoire…” Julian Sands

Reach a global audience with Borley Rectory

BORLEY RECTORY rewards“You’d be investing in a film with guaranteed international exposure. Our previous animated films were screened at major events such as the Cannes Film Festival, Raindance, the National Media Museum, various horror festivals across the United States and Canada, Sydney film festival and the Animacam animation festival in Rio to name just a few. You’d receive a prominent credit; your name seen alongside such industry names as Reece Shearsmith and Julian Sands. It’s a great opportunity to support a local creative venture while reaching a global audience, and we’re welcoming contributions from both small and large companies, so if you’re interested in participating please contact either myself or my producer Tom Atkinson.” – Director Ashley Thorpe

Teaser trailer for ‘Borley Rectory’

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Carrion Films calender of terrors for 2013

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It was a year that began with a feature in development with the Film Council, a Rondo award nomination, a short in pre-production and a new radio play with Glass Eye Pix.

The summer took us to Dartmoor for  Hell Hounds and Night Hags with Radio 4 and our animations ‘Scayrecrow‘, ‘The Screaming Skull‘ and ‘The Hairy Hands‘ hosted by FEARnet. That was 2012 …but what you can expect from Carrion Films in 2013?


Let’s start with the hotly anticipated new animated short ‘Borley Rectory’. 2011 came to a close with the voiceover recording with Julian Sands in London and 2012 looked to be the year that would almost certainly deliver a new animated short. “Glass Eye Pix stepped in with development money for the piece and we were ready to go,” explains Carrion director Ashley Thorpe, “We had a number of other funding sources set up for the actual shoot including by the early summer production money from Channel 4. Then, as is so often the case our main budget source simply, well… ‘vanished’ and Channel 4 decided that although they would still be happy to be part of the production they wanted to come in at post-production stage. Which is great of course, but, we’ve got to make the bloody thing first, ha ha. So ‘Borley Rectory‘ is now going to be a crowd funded project. The fundraiser itself will be not just a breakdown of the production but something of a study of British ghosts with contributions from a variety of authorities on the subject. And what’s more we’ve been approached by someone very special to work on the soundtrack. Very exciting. So, look forward to announcements of the kickstarter scheme early in the new year, it’s going to be something really special!’

2012 also looked to be the launchpad for Carrion Films most ambitious project – the animated feature ‘Spring Heel Jack’. ‘It should have been a big announcement when our project received the attention of  Creative England but from the outset it was clear that there were problems. It would be easy to say it was ‘creative differences’ but I don’t actually think that was the root of the problem at all. They were very keen on the material. The first revision of the script – delivered at very short notice – was very dense, overly ‘Dickensian’ actually, but as the scheme was first and foremost to develop the script I wasn’t overly concerned in fact I looked forward to working with a script editor to fully maximise the potential of the material. The general consensus initially was good, but we never really saw eye to eye after that initial meeting. I was only concerned about developing the script, whilst they seemed strangely preoccupied with the technical aspects of the animation itself which I found bizarre. A lot of of time passed, messages going back and forth, nothing really being resolved. We read the small print and finally backed out. I think it was early days for the scheme and they didn’t really have the infastructure in place, but for all the dissent it caused it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. I’m at work revising the script again into something far more bold, far more expressionist and gothic, and we’ve already had some interest from a couple of good solid names in the industry. So expect lots of new conceptual art and perhaps some very exciting news by the autumn.’

2012 also looked to be the year when a horror film festival would finally come to the South West. “It was to be called ‘Devon after Dark’ or ‘DeAD‘, ha ha. It always baffled me that a region like the South West that boasts so many tales of the supernatural didn’t have a festival to celebrate it. Dartmoor alone is at least worthy of a festival. I talked to various curators of different festivals and saw that this was a very real possibilty. So, perhaps naively, I submitted a proposal to Creative England / the Arts Council again…I know, you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now…and at first it was all wow, praise and enthusiasm. I managed to get a huge list of supporters who pledged support and even hoped to attend or be involved; People from Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Tim Lucas, Alan Lee, Stephen Volk, Peter Atkins, Julian Sands, Steven Severin…I even had support from Sir Christopher Frayling who was very keen on doing a lecture of how ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ had been depicted on film. Creative England passed us over. Even though it had huge industry support and was an obvious blend of  culture and commerce the powers that be were not interested. What can I say? If you want something done in the UK these days there’s really not much point in going through official channels.”

2012 also saw Carrion Films develop its close ties with local young filmmaking initiatives, Film/Video production company Cineon Productions aswell as the renowned animation festival ‘Animated Exeter‘ and this looks set to continue into 2013. Apart from the ‘Young and Animated‘  workshops run throughout the year, Carrion Film also worked with the ‘Freefall Youth Group‘ creating the horror short ‘Nightwatch‘ and has signed up to be part of the National Heritage project ‘Our Neighbourhood’ which will run throughout the early part of the year. Ashley Thorpe will also be providing the animations for Animated Exeter 2013’s ‘Time Winders‘ interactive experience that will run throughout the festival based upon a short story by acclaimed children’s author Philip Reeve.

Director Ashley Thorpe – ‘Carrion Films is ostensibly a very small unit and our output is determined by the same ebbs and flows of any industry. Through all the setbacks we’ve managed to maintain a nice presence in the industry this year; appearing at Frightfest with Glass Eye Pix’ Glenn McQuaid, the new radio play ‘Dead Man’s Shoes‘ (due to be released on CD 2013) set visits for Fangoria magazine, work with a number of British horror festivals aswell as the increase in local filmmaking initiatives. It has been a tough old year in terms of getting projects up and running but I still look back at what we’ve achieved and think – not bad for a production unit jump-started by a few animations made on a laptop! 2013 will be the year we focus on the ‘homegrown’ projects. Our terrors have been gestating nicely in the dark…now it’s time to let them out to play.’

All at Carrion Film would like to thank you for your continued support and interest and wish you all a prosperous and peaceful new year.