Puppeteer Philip (Sean Harris) returns to the desolate rural town of his upbringing, intending to slay his demons by destroying Possum, the bizarre, spider-shaped figurine he carries everywhere, which has a strange hold over him. But on returning, he finds his estranged stepfather (Alun Armstong) still in residence, another presence from his past who seems to be an equally domineering presence. To escape his nightmare Philip will have to confront both of them.
Writer-director Matthew Holness is best known for satirising British Gothic in his comedy series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, but humour is jettisoned here for this deeply disturbing and singular psychological horror. From Darkplace though, Holness does retain his reverence for classic British horror, shooting in the bleak Norfolk flatlands of classic ghost stories like A Warning to the Curious, and enlisting the Radiophonic Workshop to provide the eerie score. And in line with such films, Holness favours subtle, implied and ambiguous horrors over explicit shocks and gore, with the film building an atmosphere of growing dread through the interplay between Harris and veteran performer Armstrong (Get Carter, Braveheart). For the most part it's Harris' show, though, and fans of this creepily crow-like character actor will admire him in this all-too rare leading role.
Horror 2019 104 mins Director: Jim Jarmusch
Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton lead this star-studded, bonkers addition to the zombie canon from cult director Jim Jarmusch.
Comedy 1986 94 mins Director: Frank Oz
Frank Oz's vivid adaptation of the cult sci-fi musical, with Rick Moranis as a flower-shop assistant battling a 'Mean Green Mother from Outer Space'.
Drama 2018 88 mins Director: Adrian Panek
Children liberated from a Nazi concentration camp have to overcome hunger, thirst and vicious dogs in this chilling postwar thriller.
Horror 1973 88 mins Director: Robin Hardy
Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward star in the folk horror classic about a policemen investigating an island given over to paganism.
Horror 1999 81 mins Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Three student filmmakers attempt to make a documentary about a local urban legend, in this terrifying and groundbreaking pioneer of the ‘found-footage’ genre.
Horror 1980 144 mins Director: Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson revels in his terrifying performance as Jack Torrance, the would-be writer who becomes the minotaur trapped in Kubrick’s supernatural maze.
Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film
Horror 1958 82 mins Director: Terence Fisher
Hammer's 1958 version of Stoker's Gothic novel was the most exciting to date, boasting lavish costumes and sets, a vibrant score and red, red blood.
Horror 1959 88 mins Director: Terence Fisher
Classic Hammer horror of a reanimated ancient Egyptian mummy, who returns from his tomb to seek vengeance on its desecrators.
Horror 1931 70 mins Director: James Whale
The gothic horror that ushered in a wave of cinematic terror, starring Boris Karloff as the reconstructed monster with a human soul.
Horror 1945 99 mins Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
A group of guests assembled at a country house swap uncanny and supernatural stories in this classic Ealing chiller from 1945.
Thriller 2016 109 mins Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Bill Nighy plays the arch detective investigating a series of grisly murders around the music halls of Victorian London, in this pungent Gothic mystery.
Horror 2017 98 mins Director: Jeremy Dyson
Being scared has never been this much fun, as Martin Freeman, Andy Nyman and Paul Whitehouse bring the chilling London stage play to the screen.
Featuring Sean Harris
Crime 2009 103 mins Director: Daniel Barber
Michael Caine’s storming return to an action role finds him as a retired marine confronting local hoodlums on his housing estate.
Drama 2015 113 mins Director: Justin Kurzel
Fassbender is ferocious as the Scottish king in Justin Kurzel’s red-blooded and viscerally atmospheric Shakespeare adaptation.
Horror 2004 82 mins Director: Christopher Smith
The tube will never look the same again after this frenzied chiller about a woman trapped in the London Underground for the night, pursued by twisted killer.
Thriller 2014 99 mins Director: Yann Demange
A young British squaddie is caught behind enemy lines in bomb-torn Belfast, in Yann Demange’s riveting suspense thriller.
Featuring Alun Armstrong
Musical 1985 90 mins Director: Alan Clarke
Alan Clarke’s once derided feature is surely the only vampire snooker musical in cinema history and a genuine cult artefact ripe for rediscovery.
Directed by Matthew Holness
Comedy 2011 17 mins Director: Matthew Holness
Pulp author Terry Finch is determined to wreak vengeance on those who killed his brother. And to complain to Kent library services.
Comedy 2019 108 mins Director: Takashi Miike
A terminally-ill boxer, a runaway call girl, a double-crossing drugs heist and a gang war; Takashi Miike doesn’t do things by halves.
Comedy 2019 97 mins Director: Michael Schwartz
Effortlessly charming buddy movie about a young man with Downs Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) in pursuit of his dreams, with Shia LaBeouf.
Thriller 2018 112 mins Director: Gavin Hood
Gripping political thriller with Keira Knightley as the intelligence officer who discovers a plot to rig a UN vote on the eve of the Iraq war.
Historical drama 1989 114 mins Director: Michael Caton-Jones
A fictionalised account of the 1963 ‘Profumo Affair’ that rocked the government of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Starring John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda, Ian McKellen and Leslie Phillips.
Romance 2019 84 mins Director: Lucio Castro
A chance encounter reconnects two men in this heart-breaking lament on love, lust and missed opportunities.
Drama 2018 91 mins Director: Aaron Schimberg
Made by and starring disfigured people, Aaron Schimberg’s dextrous, darkly comedic film-within-a-film makes you think about cinematic representation without offering simple resolutions.