A few years ago a friend, lets just call him Mavo, showed me an old VHS tape and insisted that there was an interesting programme on it that I should see. He then marched out of the house and got very drunk in the local boozer. This may or may not have been a result of watching this video, but I was intrigued. I took him up on his semi-challenge and gave it a watch. Surprisingly it didn’t have anything illegal on it, or anything that could land me in prison for being in the same room as it. I have since recommended this programme to as many people as I can, it was disturbingly good. It was called Home.
This BBC adaptation by Richard Curson-Smith of the J.G. Ballard short story “The Enormous Space” was first aired in 2003. Starring a brilliantly normal and likeable Antony Sher as the protagonist Gerald Ballantyne, it documents the strange breakdown of Gerald’s middleclass life in leafy suburbia and the determination of his bizarre aim.
His marriage has broken down, his wife now with a new man and we are told that he is recovering from some kind of serious car accident. All of these things bring about the momentous decision to turn his back on the outside world and stay within the confines of his house. He decides to film this new experiment which is how we see the unfolding events. He gleefully begins the rationing of his remaining food products (not accepting any food from the outside world now) and begins the bizarre scientific examination of changes happening on the upper floors of his house. These strange geometrical shifts seem to involve the stretching of space and time itself, and Gerald takes it upon himself to investigate it with videos, maps and mathematical equations, scrawled onto pieces of paper on his wall.
There is a similar theme in The Navidson Project, a documentary found in The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, involving impossible spaces and dimensions hidden inside a normal suburban house.
As he becomes more isolated from reality and consumes his last tin of cat food, the real horror of his situation sinks in. He realises that if he is to survive in his self-imposed prison he must discover new ways of keeping himself alive.
This drama really made an impression on me when I saw it. Being a fan of innovative and interesting horror and sci-fi, I was fascinated by the prospect of a simple, boring house having extra, unknowable dimensions just under the surface.
Home can be found on Youtube in several parts. Worth seeing.