It all began in Sheffield, in 1962, in a pram. The pram was being pushed by my mum and somehow she lost control of it and the pram rolled down a slope. I flew out – I was fairly light for a projectile, being only a few months old, and landed in a pile of bricks. Hospital ensued, and operations, and even baptism in the hospital, and I came out fine – except, it turned out, for blurred and cloudy vision in my right eye.
Time passed, and I began to write short stories. I thought about eyes: there are some great stories about eyes, and sight, and most of them are scary. I had read about the Victorian belief in mind over matter, in exercise, and in remedies that required will power to work. What if someone had eye issues like mine, and believe they could simply train themselves to see properly? And what if it all went horribly wrong?
In our family, we called the bits of detritus and clag that end up in the eye “sleepymen”. It seemed like a good name to me: and so I wrote a story with that name, about a man with eyesight like mine, who believed in good old Victorian self-improvement, and who was doomed by it. I liked the story and so did John Panton, the filmmaker who I’ve done several short films with. He filmed it, with an amazing cast and a real Victorian ghost story atmosphere.
Sleepyman is one of my favourite Meat Bingo films: I can see it as part of one of those old portmanteau horror films, where men sit in over-stuffed armchairs in their club, trading tales of darkness and terror. I think it works well, and John has conveyed the clamminess and paranoia of the original story, while adding his own unique – what’s the word? – vision.
- The Girl on the Moon | landing an award-winning video - February 21, 2024
- Screams By The Seas |“a welcoming place to meet people and celebrate cinema” - February 19, 2024
- Cornish/Kernewek language feature development fund launched by Screen Cornwall - February 17, 2024