Scotland is set to become a major new hub for the horror film industry under plans to transform a former church in Fife.
The UK’s only dedicated studio for the production of horror and fantasy films will be based in Kirkcaldy under plans backed by veteran American producer Roger Corman.
A green screen studio, sound recording facilities and special effects workshop will all be created at the historic “gothic revival” building.
It is thought the £500,000 project, which is led by the Kirkcaldy-based production company Hex Media, will create up to 20 jobs.
Work is set to get underway on site within weeks. The new facilities are expected to be running by the summer.
The new venture, which is expected to produce three films a year, will focus on “bold, original storytelling, and nurturing diverse voices in the genre”.
Hex Media founder Lawrie Brewster, an independent director and producer whose previous work includes Lord of Tears and The Unkindness of Ravens, said: “Hex Studios is inspired by the glory days of Hammer Horror at Bray Studios. As a dedicated facility, Hex Studios will be producing, distributing and raising money for films like an old-fashioned studio would have done in the 1940s and 1950s.
“It’s more than just a physical production space or a studio company. It’s a grassroots movement that seeks to pursue a revolutionary approach to the art and business of filmmaking.
“It will be based on developing talent in Scotland rather than being a vehicle for international companies to come in and leave again.
“It will put Scotland right at the heart of horror genre filmmaking in Britain.”
Hex Media partner Sarah Daly added: “We want to foster a resurgence in the great British tradition of horror filmmaking, as well as providing opportunities for aspiring writers, actors and filmmakers in Scotland and all over the world.”
Corman, whose previous films include Little Shop of Horrors, House of Usher and Not Of This Earth, said: “Hex Studios is an ambitious new project, which aims to rekindle the spirit of classic horror cinema and gives me hope for the future of original, independent filmmaking.”
Scotland has a long history of being used as a backdrop for horror films. The best known is probably The Wicker Man in which a policeman played by Edward Woodward becomes increasingly suspicious of the behaviour of locals on a remote island where a child has been reported missing.
More recently Scarlett Johansson played an alien predator roaming the country seducing young men in Under The Skin.
British director Neil Marshall made two horrors in the Highlands – Dog Soldiers, about a group of troops trying to fend off a pack of werewolves, and The Descent, in which a group of female caving enthusiasts are hunted down by flesh-eating creatures after they become trapped.