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Playing Possum: Matthew Holness's Other Dark Places
Mat Colegate , October 26th, 2018 09:46

Mat Colegate interviews Matthew Holness about his film debut Possum, out this weekend. Learn about how Holness was introduced to the world of horror fiction, the funniness of failure, and then click through to hear Holness talk about his favourite examples of the genre


Arthur Machen – The White People
It's a great story and I think what's so brilliant about it is technically how it's constructed. I think it's a real insight into how you can create more by showing less. You only get glimpses of what this child has experienced through her childish writing and there's something very frightening about trying to picture what she has experienced, and the creeping sense of absolute horror that she's witnessed something and is being used by these very dark forces that you’re only getting an outsider's glimpse into. So I think that technically it's one of the most brilliant horror short stories ever written. It's also very frightening simply because of the menace shown towards a young child. It fed into Possum as well, the idea of how a child will depict dark adult forces and that whole world of threat; how they would process that if they wrote it down.

It's a story that has a real connection to the landscape and I got the same feeling from Possum.

For Philip, the whole universe is against him. For him it is a cosmic horror, essentially. That's why there's things in the film like the black rain. He cannot process what's gone on, so he just feels he's in a place that has been designed to do this to him. He's got no friends at all. That's why the landscape is very important. There’s a great tradition in British weird fiction of using the landscape and feeding it into modern concerns.