About The Film

Paperhouse is a British dark fantasy film directed by Bernard Rose. It is based on the novel Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr. The film stars Ben Cross as the heroine’s father and also features Glenne Headly and Gemma Jones.

While suffering from glandular fever, 11-year-old Anna Madden draws a house. When she falls asleep, she has disturbing dreams in which she finds herself inside the house she has drawn. After she draws a face at the window, in her next dream she finds a disabled boy named Marc living in the house. She learns from her doctor that Marc is a real person.

Anna sketches her father into the drawing so that he can help carry Marc away, but she inadvertently gives him an angry expression which she then crosses out, and the father (who has been away a lot and has a drinking problem, putting a strain on his marriage) appears in the dream as a furious, blinded ogre. Anna and Marc defeat the monster and shortly afterward Anna recovers, although the doctor reveals that Marc’s condition is deteriorating.

Anna’s father returns home and both parents seem determined to get over their marital difficulties. The family goes on holiday by the sea, where Anna finds an epilogue to her dream.


Charlotte Burke, Elliott Spiers, Jane Bertish, Samantha Cahill, Glenne Headly and Sarah Newbold


Directed by Bernard Rose
Produced by Tim Bevan, Sarah Radclyffe
Screenplay by Matthew Jacobs
Based on Catherine Storr’s novel “Marianne Dreams”
Cinematography by Mike Southon
Editing by Dan Rae
Music by Stanley Myers and Hans Zimmer
Production Company: Working Title Films
Distributed by Vestron
Running Time: 92 minutes
Release Date: September 10, 1988
Country: UK

Film Trailer