Paperhouse is a kids horror movie about a young girl by the name of Anna who draws a fictitious creepy house which she visits in very vivid dreams while she is sick. She quickly discovers that anytime she adds anything to the drawing, it appears in her dream. In these dreams she meets a sick boy named Marc, who she has also drawn, and the two start to bond and develop a friendship. Trouble arrises when Anna draws her absentee-father with a frown on his face. In the dream her father is a deformed creature and the two have to help each other to stay alive.
Paperhouse is essential a fantasy-horror coming-of-age movie for kids, and I think that may be why the film hasn't received its DVD release yet. The film, while extremely well done, raises many red-flags in the marketing department. The film doesn't quite know what it is. At times it feels more like a coming-of-age children's drama than a horror film. If I were a distributor I wouldn't know who to market this film for. In the end I think it is best suited for adults as they would get much more out of it than any kid. It has very complex themes and symbolism that would fly right over a child's head. I think most kids would actually find this movie quite boring, except for the dream sequences - which are just oozing in coolness and style.
Charlotte Burke who plays Anna is amazing in the role. It's amazing she never acted in another movie again after this one. It's also crazy that Bernard Rose has made two horror masterpieces, but still hasn't broken into the mainstream.
If you're a fan of Pan's Labyrinth or Let the Right One In, this movie is for you. It fits nicely into those group of horror-coming-of-age films. Unfortunately, you can't watch it unless you own a VCR and can find a VHS copy of it. If the distributor just markets it as a film by the director of Candyman, I definitely think this will attract some buyers.
Here's some cover options, if the opportunity for a release were ever to arise:
US VHS Cover artwork
Definitely doesn't represent the film very well and makes it look very menacing, but pretty cool. I remember this cover art very well, but never even thought twice about renting it. Probably a good reason not to use this artwork.
Probably the best and most recognizable.
UK DVD Release
I think I like it better with Anna on the right.
This is the cover for the book the movie is based on. This would be good artwork if Criterion released the movie.
Bootlegs of Paperhouse are readily available on the web for those of you curious about the movie. Let's hope you won't have to and somebody will release it soon enough.