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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 22:13 GMT
The horrors of Cornish movie-making
By Kevin Hay
BBC News

Rik Mayall
Richard Driscoll's first movie Evil Calls stars comic actor Rik Mayall

If you were going to pick a location for a horror film, it would be hard to beat Higher Nanpean Farm.

Even the local place-names are ominous as you drive through the wind-buffeted Cornish landscape past the villages of Blackwater, Burnthouse, and Twelveheads.

The isolated farm itself is suitably foreboding and looks almost derelict behind tall gothic spiked gates, patrolled by two muscular Dobermans called Wallace and Grommit.

This is The House Of Fear, the brain-child and grand obsession of horror film fanatic Richard Driscoll.

He has spent the past few years turning this rundown farm into a fully functioning film studio and the result is surreal.

Richard leads the way across the farmyard, pointing out some of his larger props, an armoured car and New York yellow cab.

He stops to allow two women to struggle past with a 12 foot-long python thrashing in their arms, before he disappears into a barn.

'Be darker'

He turns on the lights to reveal a hotel lobby, a crypt and a cross section of a passenger plane.

Film set
The farm's sheds have been converted into movie sets

It all starts to make some sort of sense. Standing in the middle of a gloomy candlelit reproduction of a satanist's cellar, Richard explains his philosophy.

"I wanted to copy the old Hammer Horror ethic and bring the entire film production process on to one site.

"I need to have control so I write, produce and direct my own films. When you're in control you are free to be more creative, to be darker.

"We now have everything here to create and distribute independent horror films from scratch."

Oscar hopes?

Evil Calls stars Rik Mayall, Jason Donovan and, er, Norman Wisdom.

It's been several years in the making and so far has cost Richard about 1.5 million.

It's clearly an enormous gamble and Richard doesn't expect to be scooping any Oscars for his film.

In fact a London screening could be the only time the film is seen in a movie theatre, so how does he hope to recoup his money?

Richard Driscoll
Mr Driscoll believes he can make a movie a month

The secret at the heart of the House Of Fear is advances in digital technology.

"We can edit the films right here with a piece of software that costs 1,000 and we can duplicate DVDs which we distribute through our website.

"Now that the studio is up and running, I can't see any reason why we shouldn't be able to produce a film a month. That's how the old Hollywood studios used to work, after all."

Filming on the sequel to Evil Calls will begin next month, but the farm is already buzzing with activity as builders start work on a 50-seat cinema and canteen.

The studio tour ends as Cornwall's would-be movie mogul explains he has to go to B&Q to pick up some worktops.

There is no denying that Richard Driscoll has big dreams. The viewing public will have to decide if his talent matches his determination.

Clips from horror movie 'Evil Calls'

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