POSSUM is the debut feature film from writer/director Matthew Holness, co-creator and writer/star of the cult TV series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. Following its successful World Premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Irish Premiere at the Galway Film Festival, POSSUM will screen at Frightfest in August and will be released in UK cinemas on 26 October.
Starring Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible, Southcliffe) and Alun Armstrong (Frontier, Get Carter), POSSUM is a distinctive psychological thriller which pays homage to the British horror films of the 70s. The film’s unique and stylish exploration of a man’s isolation and abandonment is accompanied by a compelling soundtrack from the legendary electronic BBC music studio The Radiophonic Workshop.
The story follows disgraced children’s puppeteer PHILIP (Sean Harris), returning to his childhood home of Fallmarsh, Norfolk, intent on destroying Possum, a hideous puppet he keeps hidden inside a brown leather bag. When his attempts fail, Philip is forced to confront his sinister stepfather MAURICE (Alun Armstrong) in an effort to escape the dark horrors of his past.
Check out the trailer below:
Known to audiences as his alter ego ‘Garth Marenghi’, Matthew Holness wrote and starred in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (Channel 4) before moving into directing. His short films include Smutch (Sky Arts), A Gun for George (Film4) and The Snipist (Sky Arts). POSSUM is his first feature and was originally written as a short story for The New Uncanny, a 2008 Comma Press anthology themed around Freud’s essay ‘Das Unheimliche’.
“For the film” Matthew says “I chose to concentrate more fully on the story’s true ‘monster’, a real-life horror more frightening than any supernatural presence. My desire was to make a modern ‘silent’ horror, with little dialogue or connection with the outer world. This is, after all, a film about silence. Philip’s isolation and abandonment. His loneliness. His terror of speaking out.”
As an author, his short stories have also appeared in anthologies including Phobic: Modern Horror Stories, and Protest: Stories of Resistance for Comma Press. As an actor, he has appeared in The Office, Life’s Too Short, Friday Night Dinner, Toast of London and Back. Matthew is currently developing a period horror film with the BFI and The Fyzz Facility.
British actor Sean Harris gives a stand-out performance in POSSUM as Philip. He has previously starred in feature films including Tom & Thomas, Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People in which he played iconic musician Ian Curtis, Creep, Brighton Rock, Harry Brown, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and Deliver Us from Evil. In 2014 he won the BAFTA for Best Leading Actor for his performance as Stephen Morton in Channel 4’s acclaimed mini-series Southcliffe. Other television credits include the BBC’s Jamaica Inn, Showtime’s The Borgias, Five Daughters and Red Riding Trilogy. In the last few years Sean has gained further acclaim in films such as Yann Demange’s ’71, Susanne Bier’s Serena, and opposite Michael Fassbender in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth and Trespass Against Us. He can currently be seen in the latest Mission: Impossible alongside Tom Cruise, continuing his role as Solomon Lane after Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation.
Alun Armstrong became a familiar face to audiences in the 1970s, with appearances in various TV programmes, including Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, Porridge and The Sweeney. His big break came in 1971, acting alongside Michael Caine in Get Carter. Since then, he went on to star in Krull, Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire, Patriot Games, Braveheart, The Mummy Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Van Helsing and Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Oliver Twist. On stage, Alun has performed in many Shakespeare plays, spending nine years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and famously nominated for Olivier Awards for his performances in Les Misérables and The Crucible and The Winter’s Tale. Most recently, Alun can be seen in the Netflix adventure-drama, Frontier.
Founded in 1958, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop was home to a maverick group of experimental composers, sound engineers and musical innovators including the late Delia Derbyshire. In a series of small studios within the labyrinthine corridors of the BBC Maida Vale complex, the Workshop set about exploring new ways of using – and abusing – technology to create new sounds and new stories in music and drama. From their groundbreaking work on the BBC’s Living Planet to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who their signature British electronica remains as influential today as it was when it was created. Their influence on popular music has been profound. From The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Prince and Pink Floyd through to some of the most innovative contemporary electronic artists and DJs such as Aphex Twin, The Chemical Brothers, Four Tet, Orbital and Pye Corner Audio, the Workshop’s legacy continues to grow as new generations of musicians discover their catalogue of extraordinary recordings and embrace their unique and original ways of thinking about music and sound. 2017 saw the release of their critically acclaimed album – Burials in Several Earths. 2018 sees the release of their collaboration project featuring the work of the late Delia Derbyshire and a swathe of contemporary electronic artists and producers who have been influenced by her work.