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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


MR James – Ghost Stories
I was just looking at all the stories that are in that very first collection and there cannot be a finer collection of ghost stories. That is the 'how to' for writing ghost stories. Understatement, not showing too much, careful pacing. It's sheer perfection and you can never go wrong with him. It has to be on the list!

He's very responsible for this figure that I think has been very influential on your comedy in particular: the antiquary, the dream weaver pulling you into his world through the power of tale.

Interestingly though that's one of the elements where I think... for example, what you don't get with Le Fanu is that safe introduction, which is actually why I prefer Le Fanu to James. Le Fanu has none of that “Let's sit by the fire and have a drink...”. There's none of that and his stuff is actually far more frightening psychologically speaking because there's no safety net preparing you for what's to come. It comes in when you least expect it. I love all that with James, but it is an element that I think is ripe for parody to a certain extent.