Paperhouse (1988)

35mm film, Technicolor, 1.66:1
Dolby Stereo SR, English

An American/British horror film directed by Bernard Rose.

Plot Summary

11-year-old Anna is alienated from her peers at school, prone to fits of aggression, lying and rebellion and bed-ridden with glandular fever. She finds herself drawn into a strange dream world where an old house sits alone in a desolate landscape. The dream world bears an uncanny resemblance to a drawing that Anna has made and soon it becomes clear that she's manipulating this world in her doodles and scribbles. Learning from her doctor about a little boy in a similar condition to herself, Anna ‘places' Marc in her dream world simply by drawing him there. She also includes a crudely drawn sketch of her ever-absent father who, because of the poor quality of the artwork, manifests as a blind, homicidal maniac. When it further becomes clear that Anna's are seeping into and affecting reality, she begins to fear for the safety of the real Marc and a panicky search ensues when the drawing is inadvertently thrown away by mum.


Director: Bernard Rose
© MCMLXXXVIII [1988] Vestron Pictures Inc
Vestron Pictures Inc present a Working Title production. Developed by Working Title (Developments) Ltd in association with Tilby Rose Enterprises Ltd. Filmed by Working Title-Paperhouse Ltd
Executive Producer: M.J.Peckos and Dan Ireland
Producers: Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe
Associate Producer: Jane Frazer
Screenplay by: Mathew Jacobs
Based on the Novel “Marianne Dreams” by Catherine Storr
Director of Photography: Mike Southon
Film Editor: Dan Rae
Music: Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers
Sound Recordist: Peter Glossop
Costume Designer: Nic Ede
Make-up Chief: Jenny Shircore
Hairdresser: Sarah Grundy
Special Effects Supervisor: Alan Whibley
Special Effects: Ace Effects
Production Designer: Gemma Jackson

Charlotte Burke (Anna)
Ben Cross (dad)
Glenne Headly (Kate)
Elliott Spiers (Marc)
Gemma Jones (Dr Sarah Nicols)
Jane Bertish (Miss Vanstone)
Samantha Cahill (Sharon)
Sarah Newbold (Karen)
Gary Bleasdale (policeman)
Steve O'Donnell (dustman)
Karen Gledhill (nurse)
Barbara Keogh (hotel receptionist)

Alternative Titles

La casa ai confini della realtà – Italy
La casa de papel – Spain
A Casa dos Sonhos
– Brazil
Dom na papierze
– Poland
Kuća od papira
– Serbia
Maison de papier – Canada (France)
Nas Trevas da Noite
– Portugal
Paperhouse – Alpträume werden wahr
– Austria, West Germany
Rémálmok háza
– Hungary
Sueños alterados – Argentina
Бумажный дом – Russia
Хартиената къща – Bulgaria
紙屋惡魔 – Taiwan

See also
Escape Into Night (1972)



  • Cinema 15 June 1989 – reprinted reviews (by Michael Ranze)
  • Interzone no.31 (September/October 89) p.35 – review (by Nick Lowe)
  • Samhain no.19 p.34 – illustrated review


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.438
  • Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again by John Stanley p.292 – credits, short review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.284, 334, 360,
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.424
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.377-378
  • Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer's Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay p.82