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In Heaven She Walks video shoot

To coincide with the new DVD compilation ‘Never To Look Back-The Video Collection 1983-2012’, we bring you the behind the scenes story of the making of one of the band’s videos from that period…

During discussions relating to tracks to include on the DVD, the topic of the seldom seen video for In Heaven She Walks came up. I was lucky enough to have been at the shoot for it in ’96 and some searching through my hoard revealed both an itinerary for the filming and my set of unseen photographs recording the events that day…

In autumn 1996, the track In Heaven She Walks had been selected for release as a single to promote the forthcoming Written In Red album and a video shoot was arranged. Through links with SIS, and under the pretence of providing memorabilia to use in the shoot, we managed to blag our way into the studios on the day…

The shoot was due to start at the crack of dawn (7am!) and was to be filmed in the legendary Bray Studios near Windsor which, as any horror film fan will know, was home to famous Hammer studios. There is a grand country hotel next to the studios whose castlelated frontage featured on the title sequence to the Hammer House of Horror TV series. Aptly, considering the location, the shoot took place on Halloween, the 31st October 1996.

On arrival, at an ungodly hour, the band were already in attendance along with a huge crew and, for some artistic reason, a gaggle of scantily dressed ladies. The day’s filming was planned to feature numerous run throughs of the band miming to the track, a series of grisly ends for each band member and, finally, a representation of each band member’s own ‘heaven’. It seemed fairly straightforward and the shoot would wrap as late as necessary to finish…  

The set up and initial run throughs were used to get camera angles right whilst the crew did their jobs, although quite what the 20 plus people were all doing is a bit of a mystery. The band dutifully mimed singing and playing their way through each track run on a basic set consisting of two raised podiums, a few decorative pillars and display boards covered in repro newspaper cuttings of the band’s career.

With the band only shots completed, they were then joined by the girls, in various states of undress, who strutted around the set.  Apparently they all came from an ‘agency’ and were well known on the London fetish scene. Every few minutes, they would disappear to their communal dressing room and then would return in a different set of rubber, leather or see through ‘clothes’ for the next take. It seemed more like a shoot for a lingerie catalogue rather than a music video although none of the males in attendance seemed to mind!

There was one rather striking girl, with long, blonde hair, who wasn’t part of the fetish girls’ troupe. It transpired that she was actually the girlfriend of the director and, coincidentally, she seemed to be used for any close ups required. (If you watch the finished video, she features in almost every shot!)

The director instructed the band to just carry on playing and ignore the girls as they paraded about the set. It must have been quite difficult as there was a lot of  flesh on show (see photo below!) and eyes were wandering…  

Bring on the nubiles!

After lunch, having got numerous repetitive playback takes in the can, it was time to move on to filming the grisly death of each band member. This part took hours as each shot had to be set up carefully, especially as some were a one-chance take and couldn’t be redone.

Firstly it was Dave’s turn and he was hit over the head with a bottle made of sugar by one of the girls, which clearly wasn’t painless (see photo). This shot took about three attempts, and three bottles, to get right and (even) Dave was getting slightly flustered by the end. 

Paul’s demise was next. He was due to be shot by a cowboy-hatted girl who was dressed in a thong and chaps! The pyrotechnics expert fitted Paul with a ‘squib’, a small explosive pouch, which was hidden under his shirt. For some strange reason, the squib contained blue blood rather than red and it was triggered to explode at the correct moment as the cowgirl fired the gun. The camera panned back and forth along a small track, focussing in on Paul as he was shot and fell down. The blue ‘blood’ made it look more like a biro had leaked on his shirt rather than being a gunshot wound.

Sadly no flash was allowed

It was Jet’s turn and his fate was to be sealed by an exploding drumkit! He sat on his drumstool and various mock up drums, all loaded with small explosive charges, were placed around him. As he happily played away, the explosion was triggered and his drums blew up. There was quite a bang although it looked pretty unimpressive. Apparently, we were told, it would look great on the finished video.

JJ & the flour cannon...

As John Ellis’ end was the most dangerous to film, he was left until last so JJ was next in line to be bumped off. He stood in front of a small cannon(!) and a crash mat was placed behind him. The cannon was pretty harmless and only fired a puff of what looked like flour. It was set off as JJ played and he fell backwards on to the mat in a cloud of white powder. Amusingly, its only real effect was that it aged him by about 30 years in a minute and left a JJ shaped silhouette on the crash mat! Luckily, the moment was caught for posterity…

The atmosphere on set started to get serious now as JE’s death involved him being set on fire! In came the stunt co-ordinator who helped John into his flame retardant suit and covered his back in a flammable paste. There was a feeling of trepidation and, understandably,  John didn’t look particularly comfortable with this dangerous demand for a band video. As various crew members stood around poised with fire extinguishers, camera angles were carefully set as, unsurprisingly, this would only be a one take shot…

JE on fire!

The studio fell silent as the pyro-specialist set fire to JE who went up like a torch! The flaming John then moved around playing his guitar for what felt like an age before dropping to the floor where he was promptly extinguished. The crew were all visibly relieved that nothing had gone wrong and everyone started to applaud.

It was getting late now and things started to get rushed. The final scenes to be filmed were representations of what each member considered to be their heaven. JE’s  was reading a copy of the Fortean Times, Paul’s involved being showered with lots of sweets and Dave’s featured rats, candles and a copy of the Necromicon.

A bright red Ferrari was brought in for Jet to sit in, with the director’s girlfriend who then fed him oysters, as a crew member held a large globe behind (for some reason!). Lastly, and rather unsurprisingly, a brand new Triumph motorcycle was wheeled in. JJ had recently switched back to Triumphs after his early 90s flirtation with Harleys.  He sat astride the bike, accompanied on his pillion by, yet again, the same blonde girl.

That's a wrap!

With that, the last shot needed was in the can and the shoot finished. It was 8pm!  Sadly, there was no time left to use any memorabilia! Oh well! It had been a very long, but memorable, day which always comes into my mind whenever I hear In Heaven…  as they must’ve played the track 50 times during the course of the shoot! 

Despite the efforts of the band, crew and girls, and the costs involved, the video was scarcely ever shown on TV. Until now, over 15 years later, with its release on the ‘Never To Look Back’ DVD, it seemed destined to remain on some dusty rack in a vault somewhere…

You can watch the finished video here or on the new DVD…

Don't worry JJ, no one will ever see the photo...

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