Couple’s Muswell Hill home becomes movie house of horrors

LOOKING at the peaceful, pale interior of this Muswell Hill home, you would never guess that just last year it was full of blood spatter, fear and dread.

LOOKING at the peaceful, pale interior of this Muswell Hill home, you would never guess that just last year it was full of blood spatter, fear and dread.

But for more than two weeks last July, the Spinks’ quiet family home was converted into a scene of terror as British horror film Cherry Tree Lane was produced inside their home.

The house was hand-picked by the production team behind the film and director Paul Andrew Williams – best known for his gritty debut London to Brighton – who also lives locally, to be the scene of urban terror where most of the film is based.

The movie – released at cinemas at the beginning of this month and on DVD on Monday – tells the story of a Muswell Hill couple terrorised by a gang of three youths in their home.

While the film’s couple find nothing but fear inside the home, the Spinks family say they thoroughly enjoyed the whole movie-making process.

“From our point of view it was more about the making of the film and watching the crew working together, that was the really interesting thing, such as the amount of detail they go into,” says homeowner Ros Spinks, who shares the house with her husband Brian.

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The couple responded to a flyer posted through their letterbox in spring last year and the film was later shot over two and a half weeks in July.

“When it came through the door we just thought how interesting it would be – why not? Let’s go for it.

“Paul the director came around and he said straight away that he wanted to use the house,” said Mrs Spinks.

Despite the home being picked from thousands of possibles, prior to filming, crews set about totally redecorating the house, converting it from pale and airy to dark and claustrophobic when viewed through the lens.

“We wondered what it was about the house that made them choose it because they then set about making it look completely different,” said Mrs Spinks.

“I think they wanted a house bigger than the home looks on screen because as well as the shot you’ve got to also fit in the whole film crew.

“They painted all the rooms in which they filmed, even if they are only in the film for the briefest moment – we had a very pale house and they painted it very dark.”

After several weeks staying elsewhere, the couple were relieved to return to their home which – almost – appeared as if nothing had happened.

“You do end up owning one or two things that you didn’t before and losing one or two things, not deliberately, it just happens – if you are silly enough to let a movie be filmed in your house, then you have to take some of the consequences,” said Mrs Spinks.

With such violent and unnerving content in the film, some homeowners might find it quite eerie watching the plot play out inside their home, but Mrs Spinks insists this was not the case.

“Watching the film was not weird at all because in the film it doesn’t really look like our house,” she said.

“Having said that, we sat together and smiled at some bits, for instance when something’s going on in your bedroom, it can be quite weird. But mainly we felt quite detached because it just doesn’t look like our house.

“You know it’s a film – it’s like watching any sort of violence on television, you know things happen in the world, but I’ve never felt nervous about going into my house or anything.”

The film is still on show at cinemas and now available on DVD.