There is a number of seriously unique burial grounds in Estonia, and between the unique scenery and inexpensive costs, filmmakers have every reason to take their horror flick (or any other production) there.
Even though she’s covered in blood and missing an eye, Rachel seems happy: after all, she’s just managed to somehow escape death.
Her husband — who has just finished burying her body — sits on the floor of the kitchen, exhausted and desperate, playing a game of solitaire. We see cuts on his face, and an ominous bell sounds in the background.
The camera cuts to a bloody hand pushing open the kitchen door, then back to his face, then back to bloody legs walking slowly across the floor…Rachel.
He gazes up at her in hopeful disbelief, a shaky smile spreading across his face, and reaches for her. They gaze at each other, then kiss…a kiss that will live on as one of the creepiest in cinematic history.
Rachel grabs a knife, the camera cuts to black, a male voice screams.
“Sometimes dead is better,” goes the famous line from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. And when it comes to creating the perfect horror atmosphere, there’s almost nothing better than a spooky graveyard.
Cemeteries are the blood and bones scenes of so many classic horror flicks, and many classics just wouldn’t be the same without a truly creepy backdrop of crosses and tombstones.
If you’ve ever scouted for a cemetery — or simply travelled through Europe — you know that cemeteries aren’t hard to come across.
The even better news is there is a number of seriously unique burial grounds in Estonia, and between the unique scenery and inexpensive costs, filmmakers have every reason to take their horror flick (or any other production) there.
One of the most unique sets is Ämari’s Pilots’ Cemetery, a graveyard dedicated to Soviet pilots. It’s a memorial of sorts — which may not sound that interesting in and of itself — but what makes this place noteworthy is the fact that the dead airmen rest beneath the fins of the very aircraft they crashed in.
Ämari’s Pilots’ Cemetery is an eerie sight indeed, and it’s just waiting to come alive with a little help from a lens and some innovative directing.
If there’s no scene for such a location in your script, why not write one in? How about a horror script based on these ghostly graves, lined up like a fleet of sharks ready to ambush an innocent victim?
Another cool graveyard is Madise’s Lost Cemetery. Situated in a village in Lääne-Harju Parish, a 50-minute drive from Tallinn Airport, this cemetery would make any horror freak grin with excitement.
Its tombstones are buried in overgrown grass, hence the “lost” reference in its moniker. Amongst the semi-hidden crosses and tombstones, the grounds are home to the ruins of an old chapel, a feature to complete any creepy scene.
If just looking at images of this god forbidden place provokes goosebumps, a great art director could surely elevate it to something physically disturbing for a screen audience.
These are only two of many examples of Estonian cemeteries which would make great backdrops, but these two are definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for inspiration.
If you do decide to shoot here, though, you can save a ton of money! A Film Estonia cash rebate is a cash incentive meant to support the production of feature films, feature documentaries, animation films, animation series, high-end TV-drama and the post-production of all beforementioned works.
An application can be made for international production service or co-production to receive a cash rebate up to 30% on eligible production costs.
If your main character is already dead, an Estonian cemetery could just be the perfect backdrop for your next film!
Photos: Location Unit – Tairo Lutter, Rein Pärtel, Eda Meresmaa