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Alan Moore on his screenwriting debut: "I want to enslave the mass subconscious"

Alan Moore in The Show
(Image credit: Lex Records)

"I want to enslave the mass subconscious," Alan Moore tells SFX Magazine. "That’s my ultimate aim. I want this to be mesmeric. I want to have people dreaming about this film."

It’s the middle of a cold December night back in 2018 and Moore is in Northampton’s County Hall, the city’s old admin building, surrounded by clowns, criminals, vampires, and burlesque dancers for The Show – his first feature film as a screenwriter. Part Dennis Potter, part David Lynch, part Terry Pratchett, The Show is all Alan Moore: a dark noir comedy that fuses fantasy and reality to tell the story of a private detective who gets tangled up in a town’s collective imagination on the hunt for a missing talisman. 

"Without giving too much away, the film is basically about a small Midlands town that is actually balanced precariously over a nightmarish abyss of dream and unreality. So it’s pretty much documentary realism really," says Moore, best known for his work on Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and Batman: The Killing Joke.

However, leaving SFX so he can go and have his hair and beard gelled into two great croissant spikes for his next scene as the character Mr. Metterton, Moore overhears someone else struggling to pigeonhole The Show and steps back to offer his own take. "It’s a flatshare sitcom," he says. "It’s a gothic movie. A caper. It’s a brutal British crime drama. Basically, this whole thing is an attempt to cram too many things into two hours of film. We want all of the genres just mashed up together in a horrific car crash. Actually, here in Northampton we also invented genre..."

"Alan Moore is Alan Moore," laughs director Mitch Jenkins. "He’s the legend. He’s the genius. But I come from a commercial world. So I think for me, ultimately, I want people to be entertained. I’ll leave Alan to enslave the masses, but I want people cheering in Leicester Square."

For much more on The Show and from Moore, make sure to buy the new issue of SFX Magazine, featuring our huge Halloween preview, available from October 6. The Show is available digitally from altitude film from October 18.