One of my favourite film genres is the horror movies from the 1930s through to the 1970s. Today they seem rather tame but in their day audiences were really given a scare so they were X rated. So today our walk down nostalgia lane may take a detour through a graveyard or two but don't worry as I am armed with a cross and a string of garlic as I don't want to lose any of you to things that go bump in the night.

It is perhaps a strange hobby of ,mine but I like to visit the graves of famous people which includes film stars. However, it is a real challenge regarding actors who starred in horror movies for the reasons I am about to divulge. I must start by saying those stars I had the pleasure to meet on film sets over the decades always preferred the term fantasy rather than horror and off screen they were all kind, cultured gentlemen.

I guess the genre really started in the silent era with the great Lon Chaney who was a wizard of his own, often painful makeup. They say cinemagoers actually fainted when his made up face was revealed in The Phantom Of The Opera. Alas just as sound films arrived Lon died of cancer and I doubt many people view his films today. He was interred in a wall crypt in the swank Forest Lawn cemetery in 1930 but alas it remains unmarked.

His son Lon Chaney Jr became a fantasy star in the 1940s and is still remembered by fans for his portrayal of the wolf man and the mummy in several Hollywood movies. Alas Lon was an alcoholic and his career declined thereafter. When he died in the early 1970s his body was given to medical science so he has no grave.

Boris Karloff was perhaps the king of the genre and shot to fame playing the Frankenstein monster. I guess most pub quiz teams know his real name was William Pratt. I got to have a brief meeting with this legend at what is now Grim's Dyke Hotel in Harrow Weald when he was there filming The Curse Of The Crimson Altar just a year before his death. The hotel was formerly the home of the famous composer W.S Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan, who drowned in the lake on his estate whilst trying to save a young lady. I still have the signed album page by Boris but know not where. I do recall he was very unwell and confined to a wheelchair and had great trouble breathing. He was cremated at Guilford Crematorium with just a handful of people present so he also has no grave but there is a rose bush with a plaque.

John Carradine appeared in many fantasy films from the 1930s up until his death in the early 1980s. I had the pleasure to meet John at Elstree Studios along with Vincent Price nearly 40 years on a poor film called The Monster Club which they were obviously doing for the money. They were great fun to meet and such cultured gentlemen. John loved Shakespeare and sculpture and Vincent enjoyed collecting art and cooking in their off screen lives.

Alas I am unable to visit either of their graves. John was buried at sea with full USA naval honours due to his wartime service and Vincent decreed his ashes be scattered off a headland overlooking the Pacific.

When I visited Hollywood I did at least get to visit the modest grave of the classic Dracula of the 1930s Bela Lugosi. He died broke in the 1950s but at least they buried him in his Dracula costume which is the showbiz way. Just a couple of plots away Bing Crosby is interred in an equally modest lawn cemetery grave.

Finally closer to home but still no luck in searching for the last resting places of horror or fantasy stars. When Christopher Lee died a couple of years ago his ashes were scattered over the Surrey Hills. His frequent co star Peter Cushing at least has an air of mystery as to where his ashes were interred. It was never publicly announced but my bet it is in Whitstable and in the same grave as his beloved wife Helen but as he would have hated it to become a tourist 'attraction' it is unmarked.

As for myself I think I will go along with Al Jolson. Look up his grave online as it includes a full life statue and a cascading waterfall. Until next time listen for creaking floorboards at night and do not open your closet or look under the bed.