A Quick List of Stonehenge Movies!!!

As winter solstice approaches, one thing and one thing only is on the mind of the modern henger: what movies should you play for our solstice movie marathon this year? One year you played every movie that had Sun in the title, but that was a mixed bag, and last year, well, one can only watch The Wicker Man so many times in a row. Someone suggested a Doctor Who marathon, but let’s face it: you know AND WE KNOW that you have been having Doctor Who marathons at least twice a week for the last month (and, frankly, he’s tired and out of breath. Hahahahaha! ha?). In fact, to be honest, we can actually see that you have Doctor Who playing in the background right now as you read this. Get a grip, srsly.

We offer this post to bring you a brilliant solution to your quandary. Here is a list, which we do not claim to be complete, of movies that have Stonehenge—or some Stonehenge-like substance—in them. We aren’t saying all of them (or, perhaps, any of them) are good movies, or that you’ll enjoy them, although you may enjoy each in its own way (except Stonehenge Apocalypse—no one does. Trust us.). All we’re saying is that at some point in each of these, Stonehenge rears its ugly head, at which point you either throw popcorn at the screen or yell “Score!” and take a strong shot of something.

Plus, you and your friends, should you have any, can do some Stonehenge analysis of your own. Which movie replicas are good? Which are lame? And which actually filmed AT Stonehenge. What’s that you say? Yes. Yes. We know. Doctor Who filmed at Stonehenge. Thank you for that.    Nerd.

STONEHENGE MOVIE LIST (replicas unless otherwise marked) no particular order

1This is Spinal Tap   (getting this one out of the way right away)

2The Black Knight —unintentionally hilarious Stonehenge sequence with dancing nymphs and murderous druids at Stonehenge

3. National Lampoon’s European Vacation —Chevy Chase represents all of America as he carelessly topples Stonehenge

4. The Mists of Avalon  —a scene at a Stonehenge-ish thing

5King Arthur  —he marries Keira Knightley there at the end. Beautiful. And the henge is nice, too. ;-)

6King Lear  —said to be filmed on a Stonehenge-like set

7Merlin: The Return  —it’s Merlin, so of course, Stonehenge has to come into it

8. Merlin of the Crystal Caves  —includes a young Merlin overseeing the erecting of the stones at Stonehenge

9Tess  —for this one, Roman Polanski built a whole Stonehenge in France. Realistic replica

10. The Colour of Magic  —movie of Pratchett’s book. A woman being sacrificed at Stonehenge is saved. Stonehenge as computer hardware

11Curse of the Demon  —devil cults, death curses, Stonehenge, REAL Stonehenge

12Shanghai Knights  —they crash into Stonehenge

13. Fiddlers Three, or While Nero Fiddled  —comedy: people sheltering under Stonehenge in a storm get transported back to Roman times. Hijinks ensue

14Stonehenge Apocalypse  —bad movie, BUT Stonehenge. Everyone say it’s terrible, but, sadly, not funny terrible

15The Pandorica Opens  —okay, yes, this is Doctor Who. REAL Stonehenge

16. Thor: The Dark World  —Thor, “dark elves”, Loki, Asgard, and of course, Stonehenge. REAL Stonehenge. Not out on DVD yet, though

Are there more movies with Stonehenges? Indubitably. Are we done here for now? Fo shizzle!

Fill the comments with your corrections and suggestions. We’re ready for you! Let us know how your solstice movie marathon goes!

And until next time, friends, happy henging!

P. S. : 17Halloween III. Have to mention it even though it doesn’t actually qualify, because Stonehenge-y-ness in plot.

[Our thanks to Aberfoyle, no, Abercrombie, no, what’s ’is name—Aber4th? for telling us about Merlin of the Crystal Caves in the comments. Our thanks to Mr. Barry Teague for the tip about Fiddlers Three.]

Mists of Avalon Henge–Our Post for Solstice!

still from the movie Mists of Avalon

It’s time for our winter solstice post and we just stumbled on the knowledge that we missed a movie that includes a lintelled stone circle, so here it is! Please note that we have not seen this movie or even, in the interest of full disclosure, taken time to watch the entire clip from which we grabbed the picture above.

The movie, The Mists of Avalon, was made for television rather than the big screen and starred Anjelica Huston and The Good Wife, Julianna Margulies, as Morgana. It has to do with the women connected with King Arthur and his not-so-very-good-friend-because-he-did-his-wife, Lancelot. It is based on a book by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and if you wish to know more, meet our friend Google and knock yourself out!

The point here is that it included a stone circle with one lintel over a pair of uprights, and that puts it in our wheelhouse. We are glad that they portray the stones as already ancient with all the paint worn off. Arthur came along long after the megaliths were erected.

Well, look, we have to get going, so here is this: we wish everyone out there a Good Yule, happy solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Festivus, Happy New Year, and/or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate! For those meeting tonight at Achill Henge or the henge at Esperance, we are with you in spirit! Oh, and those who meet at the great ruin on Salisbury Plain itself. Say hi for us!

And until next time, happy henging!

European Vacation: Toppling Stonehenge, American Style!

photos are stills from this Youtube video of the Stonehenge scene in European Vacation

We know we’ve mentioned it before, but this one seems like it should have its own post, possibly the last in our film series for a while. The movie’s title is European Vacation, but everyone knows it as National Lampoon’s European Vacation, one of a series of movies in which the Griswold/Griswald family, led by parents Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) go on disastrous holidays.

Of course they hit the big European tourist spots, and Stonehenge is not left out. As they leave, Clark Griswald makes a speech about it having stood the test of time, “a thing of glory for a million generations to see.” He then gets into the car, backs into one of the stones, and knocks the entire circle (set up almost like a spiral) down. (See video of the Stonehenge scene here.)

Okay, haha, no denying it’s funny in a broad slapstick way. But our job is to look at the replica or replicas involved. It is a peculiar one, a circle of tall thin trilithons, no attempt at making it a linteled circle like the real one, with a circle rather than a horseshoe of taller trilithons inside.

No bluestones, understandably. They would just complicate the scene and most people don’t know they’re there (or else think the sarsens are bluestones). No ditch and bank visible, but the landscape in the background looks enough like Salisbury Plain to pass.

All in all, although its peculiar proportions put us in mind of the mini-Stonehenge in the gardens at Cockington Green in Australia near Canberra, it’s not a bad replica when compared to many others. We do not know for certain whether only one replica was used to make the movie or if a miniature model was used for some shots of the monument falling down.

Score: 7½ druids for this movie replica, made to fall. A note to British and European Stonehenge fans: next time you object to the barriers that keep tourists from walking among and touching the stones at Stonehenge, remember the Griswalds and think whether it may not be better that English Heritage is keeping the Americans out! Who knows how many shocking offenses have been averted.

Of course there are even British people who take it as a challenge to somehow topple the monument, and those who claim Stonehenge as it stands was an invention of the English tourist industry of the early 1900’s and not worth knocking down. This is the internet age. People will say and do anything. There’s even a blog about Stonehenge replicas. We kid you not!

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Stonehenge Apocalypse: And We’re Back to Hollywood

photo totally nicked from Misha Collins’ Twitpics, which we’re pretty sure are meant as promotional pics

The movies–the good, the bad, the indifferent, and in this case, the never-yet-aired. This movie is Stonehenge Apocalypse. The plot on IMDB reads like this: “When a group of archaeologists dig up a human skeleton near the historical monument of STONEHENGE, an ancient piece of machinery hidden beneath the bedrock is discovered. Not knowing what it could be the workers accidentally trigger the mechanism and start a chain of events that may very well end the world as we know it.

The world as we know it? Man, it is long gone at this point. Who says that anymore? But we’re not the ad copy police. (They won’t let us carry handcuffs!) So let’s look at this Stonehenge replica. We think it’s a pretty good trilithon. You can see other shots of it here and here. Score: 7½ druids. Good lichens, but it is just a trilithon.

So you may ask, why does Doctor Who get to film at the real Stonehenge while this film didn’t? Well, people, that’s why they call him The Doctor, innit? It helps to be a beloved national institution!

Meanwhile, here’s a synopsis of Stonehenge Apocalypse from the New York Times: “Stonehenge mystically begins rearranging itself causing massive unexplained natural destruction around the world.” No one seems to know just when it will air, but when it does we doubt it will reach Doctor Who audience levels. But we would love it if it surprised us. Any movie with a Stonehenge replica is one we’d watch!

Happy henging!

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