Horror in the Happiest place

Harrogate, the pretty spa town nestled between York and Leeds in North Yorkshire isn’t the first place that comes to mind when thinking about horror, or horror film festivals for that matter. Whilst the town may be better known for tea, flowers and the happy folk that live here it’s not all about quintessentially English pastimes. A quote from Charles Dickens illustrates Harrogate best.

‘Harrogate is the queerest place with the strangest people in it, leading the oddest lives of dancing, newspaper reading and dining.’

Charles Dickens

It’s his observation of Harrogate’s extraordinary explains why the town is the perfect place to host a horror film festival like Dead Northern.

Perhaps it’s the spring water but the town was full of oddities o long before Charles Dickens made these observations. Back in the 1600’s Mother Shipton was predicting the future. The 1700’s Blind Jack was building roads and in the 1800’s Samson Fox was lighting the town from his hidden laboratory.

When Agatha Christie disappeared from her home back in 1926 she was found at the Crown hotel, the same Crown Hotel that Dead Northern held our 2020 Horror Film Festival (one of the few live horror film festivals on the planet in 2020)

Strange folk and oddities aside, Harrogate towns history is one of eating, drinking and entertainment. For hundreds of years, the town has been attracting tourists from all over the world. Visitors came to indulge in spa water, fresh air, beautiful hotels, fine dining and cosy pubs. Moving into modern times the convention centre has been hosting concerts, events and exhibitions since the early 1980’s. Harrogate also hosts a plethora of smaller, unique venues, surrounded by fantastic places to eat, drink and sleep, and make ideal venues for Dead Northern to host our unique brand of popup events, both large and small.

Harrogate and the surrounding area also have a long history of film. With TV soaps such as Emmerdale filmed just outside of the Town. The music video for the Sex Pistols hit Madame Butterfly was filmed in the Turkish Baths. All the way to Hollywood blockbusters such a Hunters Prayer and Paddington 2. Even the critically acclaimed horror movie Ghost Stories had scenes filmed in the town.

The combination for an affinity of the strange, well-established facilities and rich history of film & entertainment is why Harrogate is the perfect location for Dead Northern to host our horror film festival and other pop up events. Remember Dead Northern is about more than the films, our USP is putting the festival in the film festival, And we’ve already hosted a banquette in a Church, had Valentine’s day in a Brewery and held a Film Festival in a haunted hotel. Going forward we don’t just plan on hosting unique events, like the odd townsfolk before us we plan on leaving our own strange mark on the town.

At the end of the day, if Harrogate can host the Eurovision song contest then a Horror Film festival should feel right at home!

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