Exciting piece of horror film history discovered at London Film Memorabilia Convention
I’m not a big collector any more. In my younger years I would have spent half my pay buying up posters, books and DVDs (then videos) of all sorts of horror films.
But now I am just as happy wandering around film conventions having a browse.
The only real attraction of film conventions is seeing stuff you couldn’t normally see anywhere else and maybe eye-balling some movies stars.
That is why I was particularly chuffed recently coming across a rare 1922 original photograph of Max Shreck in Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror and having a chat with movie legend David Warner at a recent London Film Memorabilia Convention.
I am also not much for going up to veteran celebrities. I never know what to ask. But I had caught up with Rick Gladman (Cyberschzoid of the Classic Horror Campaign) for the morning and he had no problems going up for a chat.
This worked out well because we spoke to actresses Vera Day (who worked with Boris Karloff in Grip of the Strangler) and Sylvia Sims, who had a lovely story about her charity helping inner city London kids – which you can visit here.
Best of all, we met David Warner, who has appeared in heaps of great films, including The Omen, Time Bandits, Time After Time and Planet of the Apes. David was clearly just kicking back enjoying talking about his films and meeting some fans. We had a lovely chat about his films – which included him saying The Omen wasn’t a horror film – which most would disagree with but I guess we were only arguing semantics. And he told us he had just finished filming a role in a new television production of James Herbert’s novel, The Secret of Crickley Hall, for the BBC – to be screened this Halloween, which was exciting news.
Afterwards, we had a coffee with Thomas Bowinger, the organiser of the London Film Memorabilia Convention, to find out more about the event.
Thomas was a “humble” memorabilia dealer for years but in November last year took over the running of the convention.
He says: “This is probably one of the longest running film conventions in the world, it started in 1970. It is certainly the oldest in the UK. It started as a movie jumble in Wimbledon and then moved to central London and it’s now in Central Hall – more central you don’t get.”
There was plenty to see at the convention, with an amazing array of stalls selling all sorts of movie memorabilia.
But there was one word that caught my attention when speaking to Thomas – he mentioned one of the dealer was selling original Nosferatu (1922) pics!
So I went to hunt down this photograph (there was no way I was going to be able to buy them but I wanted to check them out.)
I spoke to Brighton-based dealer Peter Fawn, who was selling the original photograph of the FW Murnau-directed classic (which was the first, albeit unauthorised film version of Dracula). Peter has six Nosferatu photographs – the other five are reasonably plain screenshots from the film.
Peter said, “I bought (the Nosferatu photos) as part of 100,000 photographs, through a friend, from the estate of a Czech film director about 20 years. There were some really nice photos … Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr Caligari, Faust … ”
This is the first time Peter has sought to sell the photographs, having just set up his website to sell film memorabilia www.movieartarchives.com
The Nosferatu photograph, while iconic that you will recognise straight away, is extremely rare according to Peter: ”Outside of a German film museum you won’t see one. I’ve checked the archives and auction houses and I can’t find anything like it.”
Not surprisingly, he has put a £4750 price tag on the Nosferatu Photograph – “Everyone wants the Schrek pic,” he says.
Holding the photograph and seeing the quality of an extremely rare piece of horror film history was extraordinary and well worth the price of £4 to attend the London Film Memorabilia Convention. I also got to talk to some celebrities too, which was nice.
You can check out the Nosferatu photograph on the website here.
The next London Film Memorabilia Convention will be held on Saturday, 14th July, 2012, with guests Valerie Leon, Fenella Fielding and Anita Harris. Yes, it is a Carry On Theme Day, if you were wondering. But obviously those actresses have horror connections too! More information at www.londonfilmemorabiliaconvention.co.uk