Twitter Fever

Stills from "Fever" - 8mm film by Graham Edwards and Phil Tuppin, broadcast on BBC Screen Test in 1981

Article updated September 2021 with revised Twitter account details

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Twitter. I’ve had some wonderful experiences with it, engaging with amazing people I’d never otherwise have come across. I’ve also despaired at the barrage of nonsense that spews inevitably from a full timeline. If you’re talking signal-to-noise ratio, Twitter descends all too readily into cacophony.

Earlier this year I decided to take a break, and boldly deleted my account. Ridding myself of the compulsion to scroll through my timeline at inappropriate hours of the day has been, frankly, liberating. However, having purged that urge – not to mention all the followers I’d accrued up to that point – I decided last week to set up a new Twitter account and cautiously re-enter the fray.

Imagine my astonishment when, shortly afterwards, I encountered a surge of online enthusiasm for Fever, a short 8mm horror film I made with my classmate Phil Tuppin when we were teenagers back in 1981. We entered it into the BBC Screen Test Young Film-Makers of the Year contest, and got a Highly Commended certificate for our efforts.

There is, it seems, a whole community of traumatised people who not only remember the fateful day when Fever was broadcast by the BBC, but still lie awake at night haunted by its story of a schoolboy getting throttled by a demonic dressing gown. Here are a few choice comments from the Twitter followers of Stephen Brotherstone, co-author of the Scarred for Life series of books, and the man who whipped up this frenzy of nostalgia in the first place:

“If a modern horror movie could scare me today like “Fever” scared me back in 1981, it would be unbearable” – Martin O’Gorman

“It was buried in the half remembered creepy bit of the vault but now it’s loose! That dressing gown really creeped me out.” – Sentient Cake Bin

“This has reminded me why I was petrified of Screen Test!” Vicky the Labrat

If that’s not a reminder of what a great place Twitter can be, I don’t know what is.

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