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Paperhouse [DVD]

Charlotte Burke , Jane Bertish , Bernard Rose    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
Price: 5.83 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Paperhouse [DVD] + Escape into Night - The Complete Series + Sky - The Complete Series [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Charlotte Burke, Jane Bertish, Ben Cross, Steven O'Donnell, Glenne Headly
  • Directors: Bernard Rose
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Sarah Radclyffe
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. UK Ltd
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Sep 2007
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H8RW1K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,765 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



To define the 1988 fantasy flick Paperhouse as a mere horror film would be an injustice--although this intelligent and thought-provoking British film is certainly scary in parts. In exploring the world of dreams, director Bernard Rose (Candyman) offers a far more elegant exposition of the subject than the Nightmare on Elm Street school of horror. Based on the novel Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr, Paperhouse offers a believable cause for its intensified dreamworld: Anna (Charlotte Burke) falls ill with glandular fever--a fever which will blur her understanding of reality and dreams. It is clear from the start that Anna has an overzealous imagination, holding onto her childhood games while her best friend becomes more interested in boys. Before her descent into illness Anna draws the Paperhouse of the title, and it is this house that dominates her dream world.

Although the acting is rather hammy and the scenes set in reality are tedious, the true beauty of the film comes from Production Designer Gemma Jackson and Cinematographer Mike Southon, whose talents emerge in the dream sequences. Clearly taking inspiration from the Surrealist movement, Jackson recreates a chilling version of Anna's drawing of the house, full of dark shadows and terrifying noises, that perhaps has more in common with Jan Svankmajer's macabre adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice than the innocent childhood offerings of Disney. Ultimately Paperhouse is an exploration of the traumatic transition into adulthood of a young girl on the cusp of her teenage years: at the start of the film Anna "hates boys", but by the end she is sharing her first kiss with Mark, her playmate in the dream world.

On the DVD With a 1.66:1 ratio format and Dolby Digital sound the stylistic brilliance of this movie is much easier to see and enjoy than in its previous incarnations on television and video. The special features leave a lot to be desired, though, offering only an unexciting original trailer and four filmographies for the director and the three main adult actresses. --Nikki Disney

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmographies, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Bernard Rose's Paperhouse is one of the great unknown art house horror films of the last quarter century, just for the sheer vividness of its psychological terrorscape. Once the supernatural link between Anna's crayon and her dream world is firmly established, the film takes the viewer on a hallucinatory trip that's full of foreboding. Given how the slightest alterations of the drawing have repercussions in her dreams -- the boy in the house can't walk, because he was given no legs -- it's with terrific anxiety that the viewer watches Anna violently scratch out the likeness of her father. The nightmare that follows delivers the kind of wordless horror that can only exist in the mind of a child, fixing for the viewer an unforgettable image of the angry paternal figure that lurks in the back rooms of the mind. The scenes outside of the fantasy world are of a slower pace, but they do show the real-world manifestations of Anna's fevered mental state, and flesh out some of the themes that appear in her drawing. Following this visually masterful debut, Rose went on to explore more mainstream horror filmmaking in 1992's Candyman.-Eleven-year-old Charlotte Burke, the neglected daughter of Ben Cross and Glenne Headley, passes out on the school playground and dreams of visiting a house she'd previously drawn in her composition book. She imagines another visit to her 'paper house' while playing hide-and-seek. Experimenting, Burke draws a figure in the window of the house; the next time she dreams, she meets a young boy, as lonely as she. Convinced that she wields a large degree of power in her pencil, Burke draws a picture of her father, Cross, hoping that in doing so he will return hom...Paperhouse (UK)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-gore horror classic 28 Feb 2006
This is certainly a film that will not appeal to simple minded gore fans. If you're looking for something rather more sophisticated ie. a haunting (and creepy) psychological drama then this far too neglected classic is sure to satisfy. Everybody who watches this film seems to love it, yet the film has become so forgotten that it cannot even be categorised as the 'cult' classic it undeniably should be. Not many films make me jump out of my seat, emotionally move me and send a few shivers up the spine for good measure, all in the space of 90 minutes, but this one did, even on second viewing. Through Anna's fevered imaginations we share the anxieties of a girl on the brink of adolescence, leaving behind the innocent securities of childhood and entering a new world where suddenly identity is uncertain and a place in the world has to be discovered. Her dreams are conveyed in a surreal and chilling manner, beautifully photographed in and around an isolated stone house set in a suitably desolate and bare landscape. Watch this film and it will hang around in your mind (and dreams) for days afterwards.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Paper House Film 3 Jun 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A truly well thought up film with the essentials in it I like the film its one of the best.
Paper house is a film on its own and original .
It has an Astral theme to it and is one of a kind.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Go away, can't you understand? It's dangerous around here! Dangerous!
While suffering from glandular fever at home and confined to her bedroom, 11 year old birthday girl Anna Madden draws a house in her sketch pad. Bizarrely the house comes to be real in her dreams when she falls asleep. So upon waking she starts to draw other things to go with the house, including a boy at the window (Marc). However, things start to turn bad when another character she draws enters the Paperhouse.

Four years earlier than Paperhouse we had seen A Nightmare On Elm Street open up a can of worms for the horror movie dream aspect. By the time of Paperhouse's release, the format was already looking tired as two sequels to Freddie's jolly had been and gone and a wave of imitators had blighted our screens (anyone remember the awful Dream Demon for instance?). This may go some way to explaining why Paperhouse, a brilliant, and hauntingly poetic movie, upped and vanished from the radar. Its director is Bernard Rose, who four years later would direct Candyman and put him in the shop window of the horror faithful. Thus prompting many to seek out some of his earlier work and getting Paperhouse talked about again. Not everyone took to it, for it's not overtly horror in name. It contains genuine moments of terror, but its themes and atmosphere are more in keeping with something like Pan's Labyrinth than with Candyman, Candyman, Candyman.

Paperhouse is open to interpretation by the individual viewer, it toys with ideas such as what is the reality here? Is Anna in limbo, is it coincidence that she is sick? There's a number of issues that on the surface are not obviously addressed, but they can be if you open up to it and use a thought process.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly exceptional film. Emotional and Scary. 23 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
'Paperhouse' is the most emotionally moving film I've ever seen. The acting from both the leads (Charlotte Burke and Elliot Spears) is superb. It's such a shame both seem to have disappeared. I'd love to know what they are doing now.
The story is engaging from start to finish. The only film that has managed to made me jump and cry! This is definitely a film that you need to watch completely uninterupted, perhaps in bed or under a blanket on a comfy settee in the dark.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy DVD 8 Feb 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This product is flawed, it works perfectly well on my laptop but for whatever reason will not work on my DVD player (it starts off fine, with the film company intro and then repeats again and again, without the title menu ever coming up). All of my other DVDs work perfectly fine so the flaw seems to lie with the DVD. For the fairly low price I doubt it's worth sending back to reclaim on but none the less I'm not happy about this shoddy product, frankly I expect better from Amazon.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagination far beyond expectation 6 Jan 2002
By Gordon
Format:VHS Tape
Imagine an ordinary girl living the day to day in reality and at the same time a world of fantasy as real as real. This film seamlessly reveals to the viewer such a world. Its direction is so flawless that you forget you are watching a film as the characters play out their part so sincerely. I for one was glued from beginning to end.
This is touching and a case of 'getting rid of old demons' and worth mentioning because it is one of a kind.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unforgettable 11 Jan 2004
Format:VHS Tape
So unforgettable that even after about 10 years I've been wanting to get hold of this film. I watched it when I was younger and not seeing it since, to this day I still remeber some of the scenes in it. House in the middle of nowhere, not knowing what was about to happen, who's that person at the window......Really good. Definetly a recommendation to anyone who hasn't seen this.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Iconic films from my childhood 2 July 2007
I always remember this film (as do many people of my generation) as being the film with 'The standing stones that move' - a brilliant little film and quite creepy. This is well written, acted and directed. Not an especially long film but it draws you into the story so quickly and doesn't let up. One of the better films from my childhood that has remained with me right up until present day, oh and nice to see Ben cross in this, one of our most accomplished actors doing what he does best - brilliant; glad to see it finally out on DVD.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very entertaining
Published 17 days ago by rikki
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a great film!
Firstly, I agree with other people's opinion that it's slighty misleading to pigeonhole Paperhouse in the 'Horror' genre. Read more
Published 5 months ago by annastesia
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, subtle British horror movie.
this is a weird and subtle British horror movie that is really about a child's dreams. The acting is generally quite poor from the children (who are essentially the leads), but it... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mark Cain
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good
I was expecting a lot from this film from the reviews as I do like thrillers/ fantasy films but this was nothing like I expected! Read more
Published 13 months ago by lowri
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT PREMISE
Well worth checking out this 80's spooker about a young girl influencing real life through her drawings.SEE IT NOW please
Published 17 months ago by Vlad the emailer
3.0 out of 5 stars arguably quite bad.
a little confused by mr/ms a customer's opinion that the leads were superb. maybe i am being stupid. in which case please disregard everything i am saying. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ellie Swell
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD
Thank you for the Paper house DVD, We liked it, a bit scary and also sad in places, good film though
Published 18 months ago by Penmaenmawrkaren
1.0 out of 5 stars Not blown away.
Thought I should balance some of the reviews after watching this last night. A travesty of a film, plagued with poor production, amateurish acting, a dismal score, and incoherent,... Read more
Published on 26 Jun 2012 by Wrath of Ninian
1.0 out of 5 stars Are we talking about the same film?
I can't understand the other reviews on this film. I am still reeling from 90 minutes of wasted life. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2012 by MarianneDreams
1.0 out of 5 stars Boxing Day afternoon nap film
After being told what a wonderful and scary film this is how wrong could it be. How this drivel has got mostly four and five star ratings is a mystery to my partner and myself. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Petey
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