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London on screen: the house from ‘Hellraiser’

By Thomas Hobbs

In the mid-1980s, cult filmmaker Clive Barker opened a portal to hell in sleepy north-west London. Discover the story behind the ‘Hellraiser’ house…

The location: 187 Dollis Hill Lane, NW2.

The scene: Sean Chapman’s brooding Frank buys a mysterious puzzle box from a street merchant. When he takes it back to his decrepit house, the box opens a portal to a hellish dimension that’s home to leather-clad demon Pinhead, who proceeds to turn Frank into mincemeat.

Then: Horror auteur Clive Barker spotted 187 Dollis Hill Lane while scouting for a cheap area to shoot his directorial debut in 1986. He ended up filming both exteriors and interiors there – making the most out of the house’s quirky stained-glass windows – during the film’s ten-week shoot.

Now: The house has been modernised and divided into five flats, but is still instantly recognisable to the hundreds of horror fans who travel to Zone 3 to pay tribute to Barker’s cult classic. (London also has a ‘Hellraiser’ bus shelter where fans regularly leave VHS copies of the film.) Landlord Michael Fisher, whose mother owns 187 Dollis Hill Lane, says ‘It’s something fun to associate the house with’ – adding that starring as a portal to hell hasn’t had any effect on the property’s value.

For more of the city on screen, check out our list of the 30 best London movies.

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