Markham – a deconstruction of horror tropes *spoilers*

Markham – a deconstruction of horror tropes *spoilers*

And finally, Markham my debut as a feature film director is complete.  It went off earlier in the week to the DVD authoring company, and next week we’ll upload it to Vimeo so people can pay to stream the film too, when its released at the end of this month.

Earlier this week I spoke to Cardy O’ Donnell my good friend who acted as ‘Story Editor’ on the film, a vital role in a film that is pretty much all improvisation.  That’s right, every line of dialogue came from the actors, and the storyline was then later assembled as we put the film together – a crazy way of working, but, in this instance, it gave pretty unique results.

Cardy’s expertise with story and storylines was vital in the films progress and his understanding of the classic narrative forms helped the film in many key ways.

The finished product, now that is has been screened, is described by one cinephile below: *spoiler alert*

“Markham is a creepy, tense, mysterious and unnerving film. It’s also a discourse on the creative battle in making a horror film that avoids genre tropes. The film deconstructs itself and the genre as it plays out, sending up horror clichés, and taking them apart piece by piece.

The first half of the film ends with the main character caught in a spider’s web of narrative false ends, fake scares, and artificial threat, without an ending in site for the film and without a genre plot to follow and with any sense of narrative cohesion having been broken into pieces in the first part of the film.

In the second half of the film, the character caught in the web turns on the predator and, becomes owner of the plot, empowered as he takes control of the fractured, deconstructed storyline and the creative process itself.

The narrative then reconstructs itself as the film plays out and rebuilds into the classic ‘psycho with knife’ horror staple (Psycho, The Shinning, Halloween), only this time, the staple isn’t played as a trope/cliché. And the person sent to kill is also actually sent to complete and unite the fractured narrative of the film, pulling the many strands of horror cliché into something bigger more believable and genuinely scary.

The loop is closed on the first half of the film as the main character gives the film an ending, using brutal murder and the mad man on the prowl cliché as a cover for the character completing and owning the creative process and ending the film while reconstructing and reaffirming the horror inherent in the obvious tropes of the genre which were lampooned by the first part of the film.

Markham is an entertaining, and at times stylish horror film. It’s also an exercise in semiotics, and a platonic discourse on the creative processes within the horror genre.”

The above sums up Markham pretty well. So, if that wets your appetite keep checking back as the film will go on sale on this website from the end of August. 

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor  and UK script consultant for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. His UK script coverage service, Script reading service and script development service are highly sought after.

You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb.

You can contact Matthew directly to purchase his ebook The UK Soap Opera Script Writers Handbook.

His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020. You can find out more about Matthew’s work as a director here.

You can get in touch with Matthew on