Wednesday 5 June 2013

Richard Driscoll convicted of fraud, awaiting sentence

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Richard Driscoll, the most colourful character in British horror cinema, has today been found guilty of defrauding the Inland Revenue to the tune of £1.5 million.

According to this HMRC press release, Driscoll was arrested in June 2011 for fraudulent activities which took place between January 2009 and September 2011. Bear in mind that between then and his first appearance at Southwark Crown Court, shortly before Easter 2013, he:
  • Re-released Evil Calls in 3D as The Legend of Harrow Woods
  • Re-released Kannibal in 3D as Headhunter
  • Sent abusive emails to my webhost and ISP forcing the temporary removal of my reviews of his films
  • Announced a DVD release for Eldorado
  • Shot some scenes for, and announced a DVD of,  Grindhouse 2wo
  • Launched the website
  • Re-released Cold Light of Day
  • Released a trailer for Eldorado and announced a fictitious London premiere
  • Shot some green-screen footage for Death Ship: The Real Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Announced a screening and after-show party in Bournemouth featuring performers who rigorously denied they would be there
  • Falsely laimed the BBFC had rejected Eldorado as too strong for an 18 certificate
  • Finally released Eldorado!
  • Put Higher Nanpean Farm up for sale
  • Re-edited and re-released Eldorado as Highway to Hell
  • Announced a 'new' film, The Devil Rides Out (aka When the Devil Rides Out) which was actually the still unreleased Devil's Disciple.
That's all after he was arrested for fraud! Details of the case are still emerging but it seems he claimed VAT repayments on £9 million of costs even though Eldorado only cost £1 million to make.

The story is starting to appear on news sites although most of them are getting basic facts wrong, notably:

  • They think Eldorado was David Carradine's last film (to be fair, that's in the HMRC press release)
  • They think it was never released (apparently because US rights holders Fantastic Films International said they never received the film)
  • They think, for some bizarre reason, that US actress Kerry Washington is in it(?).

Driscoll will be sentenced on 1st July. Three men charged with him have been found not guilty. I'll post more details in the coming days. For now, here's some media coverage, which I'll update as it spreads:


  1. I hope you're considering writing a book about all this. It'd make a fascinating read.

  2. This is shaping up to be more entertaining than his films. Roll on July the 1st, break out the popcorn :)

  3. In 2009 I went to England to "work" for this guy...did some animation for Eldorado, and a Watchman rip-off. I have no idea if it was used. Wish I could be there for this.


    1. Most of the CGI work was not of what you would regard as Industry Standard according to two expert witnesses. The shots were virtually all from a Bulgarian studio who charged about £50k give or take a bit. The invoice from Driscoll's company to the production company, Breakdown Films was, I think, circa £970k.

      All of the Michael Madsen bits were said to be CGI as he was never in a fit or sober condition to actually do filming.

      Your role and departure were mentioned in evidence.

  4. Driscoll was convicted on one count of Conspiracy to Defraud HMRC. His 3 fellow defendants in Court were all cleared. Therefore the conviction must relate to his business dealings with the late Mr. Keith Howell who owned the Production Company, Breakdown Films. He was not convicted on a Conspiracy charge in connection with Film Tax Credit. However as he was only charged with Conspiracy and not acting on his own and he may well be releived that HMRC produced such a narrow Charge as there were clearly false invoices included in his Books.

  5. Aged 53? really?

  6. Driscoll is 53 but his hair is not all his own. Has had hair procedure for which an amended invoice was put through the Eldorado costs as 'procedure for film'.

    1. Dear anonymous,

      While I appreciate your determination and your insider knowledge on some matters, I'd really appreciate it if you didn't post quite so many comments about Driscoll on my various sites as it's starting to get a bit overwhelming. Could you perhaps redirect your enthusiasm to a more general forum, like the man's IMDB page, please?


  7. I worked on one of his films and haven't been payed, he still owes me 1k...hope he goes down

  8. What a surprise !

    The hilarity continues...

  9. I wanna be a producer ( Sing along.... )

  10. How on Earth did he manage to get all those name actors into Eldorado, anyone know?

  11. I worked for him years ago and he didn't pay me or most of the other crew. What a horrible individual. He also said to me he lived sueing people...when i asked for payment.

  12. I worked for him back in 2001 when he was in Elstree. It was only for a couple of months editing extras for Kannibal & bits for Cold Light of Day, 2001: a space journey and Harry & the Wizard haha. To be fair, he was always ok with me and actually paid me. I just thought the terrible rip offs were embarrassing

  13. And now he's back!

  14. Yo soy la responsable del make Up FX de Cold light of day. Éramos todos muy jóvenes e inexpertos. Cobrábamos poco, pero todos trabajamos por la experiencia. Los interiores se fijaron en los estudios de Bray en Windsor. Y teníamos a nuestra disposición chófer, comida, gastos pagados... Todavía no sé si me dio el crédito, porque nunca llegue a ver la película completa.

    1. Gracias!

      Google translate says: I was responsible for the Make Up FX of Cold light of Day. We were all very young and inexperienced. We were paid little, but we all worked for the experience. The interior sets were at Bray studios in Windsor. And we had at our disposal a driver, food, expenses paid ... I still don't know if he gave me a credit, because I never got to see the full movie.