Published May 11, 2009 by Graham


Paperhouse is a cinematic anomaly: neither purely horror nor child-oriented fantasy, it’s an unnervingly creepy late-80s British film about an artistic mono-afflicted schoolgirl whose imaginary world comes to life. Subtracting the obligatory elements of magical thinking, Paperhouse is simply a movie about a girl who draws a bunch and then falls asleep and has some weird dreams about her drawings. Which is awesome. We need more movies like that. But Paperhouse isn’t mere whimsical mindtrip—it’s an examination of complex childhood emotions, a subtle koan about the delicacy of relationships with parents, friends and figures of authority. Check out a segment from early on in the film, in which our heroine hangs out at an abandoned train station, discussing “snogging” with her classmate, and then unexpectedly enters the internal world that she’s created in her drawings:

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9 comments so far

  1. MoroccoMole says:

    The part where the dad in the photo suddenly lurches forward and is alive scared the holy crap out of me.

  2. Just discovered your blog. Great idea listing influences on WTWTA. This is one I’ve never seen nor heard of; suffice it to say that I’ll be adding it to my “to see” list.

    Looking forward to more…


  3. dmmcinnis says:

    A friend of mine told me about this movie awhile back. I searched all over hell for the DVD before finally finding a Region 2 copy in the UK, and subsequently forgot all about it. Thanks for the reminder!!

  4. I actually saw this at the local repertory cinema here in Toronto back in the late 80s and then heard nothing about it ever again. Thanks for the YouTube clip, too. Always thought this should have been more appreciated.

  5. Rachel says:

    “The part where the dad in the photo suddenly lurches forward and is alive scared the holy crap out of me.”

    Me too!!! Love that film! awesomely whimsical!

  6. Seamouse says:

    oh, wierd! I’ve never seen or heard of this this film but as soon as I saw that house it made me remember a book I read is most likely adapted from. It’s called marianne dreams and it scared the shit out of me as a 12 year old.

  7. Melanie says:

    Oh! I must see this! I had no idea it existed until right now! This film is based on one of my favourite childhood novels; Marianne Dreams. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s delightful.

    Lovely blog, btw. I’m glad I found it =)

  8. [...] various films, art, photography and-erm- skateboards that have all helped inspire the movie. If is this example is anything to go by we’re in for a [...]

  9. Testtubetheo says:

    I saw this movie, just before I stumbled upon this blog. Awesome movie (scary as heck), awesome blog.