TV

Philip Glenister: "Enjoying scares is inherent in our psyche"

As Outcast returns for its second series, its star Philip Glenister talks about why we are drawn to the dark side

Preaching, exorcisms and making people want to hide behind the sofa – it’s all in a day’s work for Philip Glenister. The Outcast star has spoken to The Big Issue about the “unsettling and disturbing” nature of the series and why we enjoy being scared.

“It’s something inherent in the human psyche,” he says. “From the moment we’re brought into this world as children we get stories read to us. Often these stories are fairy tales and they’re quite heavy going, things like Red Riding Hood, where granny gets eaten by a wolf.”

From the makers of The Walking Dead, Outcast is set in the fictional town of Rome in the American South. Glenister plays Reverend Anderson, a West Virginia evangelist who believes he is a soldier of God battling the forces of evil on Earth. And right from the start of Outcast it was clear that the forces of evil were rising, with a rather dramatic rise in the number of demonic possessions.

But Glenister points out that Outcast is not scary for the sake of being scary. “I don’t think Outcast is the sort of show that is just out there to scare people,” he says. “It’s a bit cleverer and deeper than that. It’s not schlock horror. It’s very much a character driven piece. All the characters are very layered and quite complex. Yes, there are some things that happen in the show that are quite out there, but rather than being gratuitous they’re well earned by the standard and the skill of the writing and storytelling. The scares are a by-product of the story, not the story.”

Explaining what possessed him to take the role, Glenister explains it was the journey his character goes on. “During the course of the series we start seeing the Reverend beginning to question his own faith and what he’s been doing his whole life. He’s a complex human being in many respects in denial about his own life, really a rather broken man. That’s what attracted me to the role.”

Outcast airs on Fox

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