Horror Hospital, 1973


Antony Balch


visit the film locations

Knebworth House near Stevenage in Hertfordshire


See more of the bizarre world of William S Burroughs in David Cronenberg’s film of Naked Lunch.

See Knebworth in a range of films from Anastasia, with Ingrid Bergman, to Ken Russell’s The Lair of the White Worm and Tim Burton’s Batman.

Horror Hospital location: Knebworth House, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Horror Hospital location: Nasty goings-on at ‘Brittlehurst Manor’: Knebworth House, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Trash horror at its enjoyably trashiest. There’s a warm welcome at health retreat ‘Brittlehurst Manor’ for stressed-out young folk. Providing you can ignore the recently vacated room awash with blood.

Camp old Mr Pollack (Dennis Price – long past the glory days of Kind Hearts and Coronets) ogles young rock star Jason Jones (Robin Askwith, stalwart of 70s Brit softcore Confessions of... series) before sending him off on a relaxing break: ‘Hairy Holidays – fun and sun for the under-thirties’.

It just gets better. Especially as the country hotel is a Gothic pile presided over by sinister Dr Christian Storm, who bears a striking resemblance to Michael Gough.

‘Brittlehurst Manor’ turns out to be none other than Knebworth House near Stevenage in Hertfordshire. Some years later, Michael Gough mellowed somewhat and returned to Knebworth as Alfred in Tim Burton’s Batman.

Long before it became fashionable to do so, director Antony Balch straddled the worlds of arthouse and exploitation, distributing foreign-language movies in the UK, albeit with suitably exploitative titles. He was also an associate of writer William S Burroughs, with whom he co-directed the bizarre underground short Towers Open Fire.

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