London’s Secret Cemetery

In Southwark, not far from the resurrected Globe Theatre, the BFI and many of London’s arts establishments, lies Cross Bones cemetery. The graveyard is set aside for “outcasts” – prostitutes and paupers – and was in use for hundreds of years from Medieval times.

It was original the burial place for the Winchester Geese, the London prostitutes licenced by the Bishop of Winchester mentioned in The Sword of Albion.

Every Halloween, there’s a ceremony at Cross Bones to remember all outcasts, living and dead. You can find an account, photos, music and recordings here.

Nightmares For Halloween # 3 – Three Movie Choices

…or three horror films I really love, but which rarely get a nod in all the lists of Scary Movies circulating at this time of year.

NIght of the Demon
My favourite horror film, and in my list of favourite films of any genre. No other movie captures such an atmosphere of dread, from the very first scenes and then growing in intensity across the entire story. Based on M R James’ short story, Casting the Runes, Night of the Demon looks luminous, with director Jacques Tourneur contrasting the deepest blacks with unsettling bursts of light.

Re-Animator
Black comedy that also manages to be truly horrific. Based on H P Lovecraft’s story, Herbert West – Reanimator, the core of the film is a hypnotic, barking mad performance by actor Jeffrey Coombs.

Quatermass and the Pit
One of the few Hammer films that still stands up well, this film about the British scientist hero’s encounter with primal fears really unsettled me as a kid. A remake of a TV serial, the success of the movie lies more with original creator Nigel Kneale’s ideas – the true source of supernatural horror – than any acting or directing here.