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Cannes horror movie angers former staff at Rauceby Mental Health Hospital

By Sleaford Target  |  Posted: May 25, 2012

  • Horror: A scene from The Lucifer Effect

  • FILM SET: Rauceby Mental Health Hospital was closed in 1997 as part of a planned closure programme following a change in national policy. It has since become the focus of a new film called The Lucifer Effect

  • INTERNET CLAIM: A still from the film's website which features the controversial trailer.

  • Horror: A scene from The Lucifer Effect

  • Horror: A scene from The Lucifer Effect

  • Horror: A scene from The Lucifer Effect

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WORDING on the trailer for a controversial movie filmed at the now derelict Rauceby Hospital has angered former staff.

The Lucifer Effect first hit the headlines when one of the cast was almost throttled by another leading to the confiscation of footage by Lincolnshire Police.

The footage was subsequently released and production finished ahead of the film's premier at the And no the newly-released trailer, which can be seen at www.thelucifereffectmovie.com , features the wording "Rauceby Mental Asylum was shut down in 1997 following allegations of systematic abuse of patients by staff".

But, a spokesman for Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has informed the Target the closure actually formed part of a planned closure programme following a change in policy.

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She added: "The trust strongly refutes claims that the Rauceby Mental Health Hospital was closed down amid allegations of patient abuse.

"The trust is aware that in the late 80s and early 90s there was media coverage of abusive practices in some mental health facilities in the country, however staff at Rauceby Hospital were proud that they were never included as part of these allegations or any subsequent investigations and Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has no evidence of abusive practices taking place.

"The closure of Rauceby was not a sudden reaction to claims of abuse or abusive practices as suggested by the film."

The film was produced by James Munroe who claims it had no script and was purely the result of locking eight people in the former hospital with little food and filming them 24 hours a day for three days. It has been likened to the Blair Witch project.

The trailer and publicity material sparked outrage among former staff members who have contacted the Target.

Retired mental health officer Mike McHugh, from Pointon, worked at Rauceby Hospital for 26 years.

He said: "Those people in Sleaford and surrounding villages who spent their lives caring for and treating individuals who were mentally ill will be justifiably angered by James Munroe's ill founded aspersions.

"As for his spooky film, he has obviously recruited vulnerable people ensconced them in a derelict building and as a result of sensory deprivation have experienced a hysterical reaction. To achieve some meagre recognition he has sought to create controversy at innocent people's expense."

John Lukjaniec, of Martin, added: "Making such derogatory remarks not only undermines the work they undertook but disrespects the patients treated their for a wide range of complex and debilitating mental health disorders being treated at the time."

And, John White of Sleaford said: "Whilst the film may or may not be as vacuous and facile as it purports to be, there is significant misrepresentation of Rauceby Hospital and its staff in the various items of publicity supporting it.

"Many of your readers will have worked there – it is not yet 15 years since its closure, and many will have had relatives who spent time there and may have entirely different views and experiences from those expressed by James Munroe.

"No such institution was ever perfect – mental healthcare is far from perfect today, but this was not a place to be treated with scorn or contempt by someone who is so obviously self-serving as the film's producer and whose contribution to this terrible aspect of the human condition does nothing to improve it."

Speaking on behalf of the producers of the film, Rebecca Appleton said the wording was based on information found on the internet.

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  May 25 2012, 7:49PM

    The advertising is almost certainly factually accurate. That the hospital closed in 1997 seems to be accepted by all. Any institutional setting used for decades will inevitably attract the odd allegation of abuse. If two such allegations were made, no matter how groundless they were found to be on investigation, then the hospital closed after allegations of abuse. I don't see any claim that Rauceby closed because of such claims. It's so easy to manufacture outrage from people who don't bother to think about what is actually being said.

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  • AnnNom  |  May 25 2012, 7:03PM

    This film' is desperately seeking the oxygen of publicity by trading on ignorance. I'm aware that I've probably added to that but people need to know that staff at Rauceby were not abusers and the patients there almost certainly got the best treatment available.

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  • Lincoln_born  |  May 25 2012, 5:51PM

    I love the last sentence: 'Speaking on behalf of the producers of the film, Rebecca Appleton said the wording was based on information found on the internet.' Dare I say they, probably, found it on wikipedia?!

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  • Z_Kellerman  |  May 25 2012, 4:11PM

    So what exactly is this film supposed to be? A documentary? A horror? What? It's quite frankly disrespectful to the hospital and mental health services to make a gaudy film such a short time after it has been closed. They could have, out of a minimal respect (in which it is obvious they have none!) of former patients and staff members omitted the name and details of the hospital where they filmed. Was it even legal to film this, or does it sit in the murky grey area?

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  • Roadscource  |  May 25 2012, 12:59PM

    "claims it had no script and was purely the result of locking eight people in the former hospital with little food and filming them 24 hours a day" Isnt this how Eastenders is made?

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