Folk Horror

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The Dig: This film deserves to be seen as Folk Horror due to how a Fairy Tree in a circle of stones influence the progression of its narrative. Ronan (Moe Dunford) returns to a dilapidated farmhouse which is adjacent to bogland. A man is digging on the bog, sections staked out with flags. Seán (Lorcan Cranitch) is searching for his lost daughter, Ronan recently released from prison was convicted of her murder. At first the two clash violently but Ronan joins in the dig as he has no memory of the night of the murder due to being drunk. Seán's daughter Roberta (Emily Taafe) also reluctantly accepts Ronan's presence, they had once been friends and perhaps more. But the relationship between the three is an ongoing rollercoaster of emotions. There is also violence from locals and the local police chief Murphy (Francis Magee).

This film seems to be set in the border counties of Ireland, yet it is a not-Ireland, neither North or South. Murphy, heavily bearded, always in rough plain clothes, a pistol at his hip, is more like a Sheriff. Maintaining the law with his boots, fists and a gun when necessary. A Beckettian Bog Western where the participants wallow in the mud searching for something which might not even be there. Seán makes a drink with berries picked from the Fairy Tree in the belief that it will restore his memory. Ronan accepts the elixir, sharing Seán's faith in the old ways. The Fairy Trr and the surrounding land is very much hallowed ground in this peasant society. Dark secrets in many senses are uncovered as the film progresses.

Directors: Andy and Ryan Tohill, working from a screenplay by Stuart Drennan have delivered a dark gem, The Field for the 21st Century. 8.5/10.
 

skinny

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The Dig: This film deserves to be seen as Folk Horror due to how a Fairy Tree in a circle of stones influence the progression of its narrative. Ronan (Moe Dunford) returns to a dilapidated farmhouse which is adjacent to bogland. A man is digging on the bog, sections staked out with flags. Seán (Lorcan Cranitch) is searching for his lost daughter, Ronan recently released from prison was convicted of her murder. At first the two clash violently but Ronan joins in the dig as he has no memory of the night of the murder due to being drunk. Seán's daughter Roberta (Emily Taafe) also reluctantly accepts Ronan's presence, they had once been friends and perhaps more. But the relationship between the three is an ongoing rollercoaster of emotions. There is also violence from locals and the local police chief Murphy (Francis Magee).

This film seems to be set in the border counties of Ireland, yet it is a not-Ireland, neither North or South. Murphy, heavily bearded, always in rough plain clothes, a pistol at his hip, is more like a Sheriff. Maintaining the law with his boots, fists and a gun when necessary. A Beckettian Bog Western where the participants wallow in the mud searching for something which might not even be there. Seán makes a drink with berries picked from the Fairy Tree in the belief that it will restore his memory. Ronan accepts the elixir, sharing Seán's faith in the old ways. The Fairy Trr and the surrounding land is very much hallowed ground in this peasant society. Dark secrets in many senses are uncovered as the film progresses.

Directors: Andy and Ryan Tohill, working from a screenplay by Stuart Drennan have delivered a dark gem, The Field for the 21st Century. 8.5/10.
Love that. The ghosts of the original ra stand ready. Cheers, mate.
 
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Midsommar: The Paganism in this film is very much of a Shamanistic type, differing in many aspects from the Celtic varieties. The ingestion of magic mushrooms is central to the rituals portrayed in the film and how the mushroom tea is filtered is made clear in a banner panel. A "May Queen" is chosen at the Midsommar, the winner of a dance around a pole, you dance until there is one woman left standing. In the old days The Dark One forced the young to dance till they died, now the young women dance in defiance of Him. These practises are carried out by a Cult in Northern Sweden at Midsommar when the Sun never sets.

The contrast between the dark and snow of the U.S, as the film opens and the eternal sunshine of Sweden is vividly conveyed. Another darkness clouds Dani's (Florence Pugh) life as her sister kills their parents and commits suicide. Her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) wants to break up with Dani and is encouraged to do so by his friends Mark (Will Poulter) and Josh (William Harper) but Christian feels a responsibility towards her. When classmate Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) invites Mark, Christian and Josh to join him at a midsummer celebration that occurs once every ninety years at his family commune, the Hårga, in Hälsingland, Christian cannot exclude Dani from the trip. When they arrive, they are all welcomed as if they were family themselves. But there are warning signals which should have screamed "Get Out Of Here" to them, especially to Christian and Josh who are Anthropology postgrads.

The Midsommar Ritual begins placidly enough but soon takes on an aura of strangeness. By the time the first scenes of violence occur they are perhaps not so shocking because of the developing eerie mood but they are quite gory. There are episodes of savagery and sadism throughout the second part of Midsommar but they are all related to The Ritual. Far more import to the the narrative's development is the uncanny feeling which permeates the entire the film. What happens to the characters after they arrive at the commune is perhaps preordained, every action they take is in some way related to The Ritual, In this manner, ritual development, Midsommar resembles Kill List and The Wickerman though the storylines and outcomes differ.

Midsommar is not a film you will easily forget, several viewings may be necessary though for you to catch every fine detail. Director and writer Ari Aster has delivered another Folk Horror masterpiece. 9/10.
 
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Ulalume

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Teen son and his friends went to see it last night. They said it was a great film, but "seriously messed up" (which I take to mean "disturbing.")
 
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I watched an old Taggart episode last weekend, Season 24, Ep 6, "Island". A body is found butchered on old ceremonial stones on a remote Scottish Island. As the team make their way over by ferry, DCI Burke warns them to avoid Wickerman jokes. The island even has a Wiccan Commune and other strange characters. Well worth a watch. I saw it on Drama Channel.
 

Lizard King

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Midsommar: The Paganism in this film is very much of a Shamanistic type, differing in many aspects from the Celtic varieties. The ingestion of magic mushrooms is central to the rituals portrayed in the film and how the mushroom tea is filtered is made clear in a banner panel. A "May Queen" is chosen at the Midsommar, the winner of a dance around a pole, you dance until there is one woman left standing. In the old days The Dark One forced the young to dance till they died, now the young women dance in defiance of Him. These practises are carried out by a Cult in Northern Sweden at Midsommar when the Sun never sets.

The contrast between the dark and snow of the U.S, as the film opens and the eternal sunshine of Sweden is vividly conveyed. Another darkness clouds Dani's (Florence Pugh) life as her sister kills their parents and commits suicide. Her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) wants to break up with Dani and is encouraged to do so by his friends Mark (Will Poulter) and Josh (William Harper) but Christian feels a responsibility towards her. When classmate Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) invites Mark, Christian and Josh to join him at a midsummer celebration that occurs once every ninety years at his family commune, the Hårga, in Hälsingland, Christian cannot exclude Dani from the trip. When they arrive, they are all welcomed as if they were family themselves. But there are warning signals which should have screamed "Get Out Of Here" to them, especially to Christian and Josh who are Anthropology postgrads.

The Midsommar Ritual begins placidly enough but soon takes on an aura of strangeness. By the time the first scenes of violence occur they are perhaps not so shocking because of the developing eerie mood but they are quite gory. There are episodes of savagery and sadism throughout the second part of Midsommar but they are all related to The Ritual. Far more import to the the narrative's development is the uncanny feeling which permeates the entire the film. What happens to the characters after they arrive at the commune is perhaps preordained, every action they take is in some way related to The Ritual, In this manner, ritual development, Midsommar resembles Kill List and The Wickerman though the storylines and outcomes differ.

Midsommar is not a film you will easily forget, several viewings may be necessary though for you to catch every fine detail. Director and writer Ari Aster has delivered another Folk Horror masterpiece. 9/10.
I can't wait to see it. Planning it this week. I love the films you listed so look forward to it. I love the reviews by the way!
 

Zeke Newbold

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Folk horror seems to be all the rage at the moment - what with `Midsommer` and the latest `Fortean Times`.

Russia seems to be reflecting this zeitgeist too with the film Lost Island (Potteryanniy Ostrov) which came out last April.

A young economics journalist based in Moscow is offered the option to taking time out in a randomly chosen destination - with the proviso that he must write something about it. With his back turned to an electtronic map - his finger lands on Rikotu Island in the Sakhalin Province on the border of Japanese waters in the Pacific. (The Sakhalin islands are for real, but Rikotu island is fictional).

So he turns up there only to find it inhabited by ethnic Russians who live a spartan fishing based quasi-pagan lifestyle - and who do not believe in the existence of Moscow. Nor can they recall how they ended up to be on the island. The leader of the community is a mysterious beautiful young woman. The trouble now is - will he be able to leave?

The film has an excellent eerie atmosphere and some great location shots (it was in fact filmed in Sakhalin somewhere). there are obvious paralells with `The Wicker Man` - although the material is handled in a much more subtle way. (Anyway, I am not so sure if there is any debt as this film is based on a stage play from 2007, and `The Wicker Man` is not well known in Russia).


No subtitles - but it's the sort of art house film that could end up as a World cinema release with subtitles, so it's one to look out for. For those interested, here's a more indepth review:

http://alternativerussianculture.sp...trov-you-can-check-in-but-you-cant-check-out/
 
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Folk horror seems to be all the rage at the moment - what with `Midsommer` and the latest `Fortean Times`.

Russia seems to be reflecting this zeitgeist too with the film Lost Island (Potteryanniy Ostrov) which came out last April.

A young economics journalist based in Moscow is offered the option to taking time out in a randomly chosen destination - with the proviso that he must write something about it. With his back turned to an electtronic map - his finger lands on Rikotu Island in the Sakhalin Province on the border of Japanese waters in the Pacific. (The Sakhalin islands are for real, but Rikotu island is fictional).

So he turns up there only to find it inhabited by ethnic Russians who live a spartan fishing based quasi-pagan lifestyle - and who do not believe in the existence of Moscow. Nor can they recall how they ended up to be on the island. The leader of the community is a mysterious beautiful young woman. The trouble now is - will he be able to leave?

The film has an excellent eerie atmosphere and some great location shots (it was in fact filmed in Sakhalin somewhere). there are obvious paralells with `The Wicker Man` - although the material is handled in a much more subtle way. (Anyway, I am not so sure if there is any debt as this film is based on a stage play from 2007, and `The Wicker Man` is not well known in Russia).


No subtitles - but it's the sort of art house film that could end up as a World cinema release with subtitles, so it's one to look out for. For those interested, here's a more indepth review:

http://alternativerussianculture.sp...trov-you-can-check-in-but-you-cant-check-out/
Sounds good. I've shared your review on the Horrorthon and Dublin Horror Society FB pages.
 

FrKadash

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Recent article from The Irish Times,

Beyond Midsommar: ‘folk horror’ in popular fiction
From The Lottery to The Loney, a look at a genre that explores the eerie power and sinister possibilities of nature and country life
Bernice M Murphy
about 13 hours ago

The release of Ari Aster’s film Midsommar has brought renewed attention to a sub-genre which has gained considerable critical attention in recent years: so-called “folk horror”.
Three British films are generally considered key cinematic touchstones: Witchfinder General (1968), The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), and The Wicker Man (1973). Common folk horror characteristics include a rural setting, an emphasis on the eerie power of the natural landscape and a preoccupation with the sinister possibilities of the agrarian way of life. The primary narrative focus is often upon naïve, doomed outsiders. Ritualised human sacrifice is a common climactic trope, and is often connected to arcane rites intended to ensure the fertility of the crops.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/beyond-midsommar-folk-horror-in-popular-fiction-1.3963971
 

MissViolet

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I was delighted that some of my A level film students were discussing a new and disturbing series they'd found online...Children of the Stones. I've taught them well.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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Just bought this from Wyrd Harvest Press.

product_thumbnail.jpeg

Welcome to the Urban Wyrd. Discover Hauntology, Weird Technology & Transport, Hauntings and much much more in the realms of TV, Film, Literature, Art, Culture , Lore and Life. Travel in time and spaces with Adam Scovell, Stephen Volk, Scarfolk, Julianne Regan, Sebastian Backziewicz, Sara Hannant, The Black Meadow and many other contributors.
 

GNC

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I was delighted that some of my A level film students were discussing a new and disturbing series they'd found online...Children of the Stones. I've taught them well.
That's excellent to hear - you must be a great teacher! Funny thing about Children of the Stones, it's very complex and obscure, especially for kids' TV, but the sheer, sinister mystery makes it compelling.
 

Lizard King

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The last scene of the last episode is excellent. I never watched this at the time but on youtube. Brilliant, can't believe it aired at teatime. I also loved Sapphire and Steel. Tremendous back in the day.I didn't have clue what was going on, but so compelling.
 
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Gwen: A dark film set in even darker Welsh valleys and stoney mountain fields. The people are non-conformists, plain, unadorned crosses in their homes. But at the chapel it is clear that this is not a radical form of dissent, the minister praises the bounty of the bleak mountains and quarries. Things go bad for Gwen (Eleanor Worthington Cox) and her family, her father is away at war. blight strikes the potato crops, an animal heart is nailed to their door, their sheep are slaughtered. it rains even more incessantly than in Angela's Ashes. The quarry owner is intent on buying their land. An eerie atmosphere of dread builds up as the cinematography of Adam Etherington makes good use of dark and shadows, figures emerge from the mist, both the living and the dead. Gwen's mother (Maxine Peak) uses folk rites to combat the perceived curse on her family.

A tale of folk horror related in a gothic style reminiscent of Wuthering Heights yet also incorporating elements of The Witch. Evil is abroad but the real malevolence may be the quotidian horror of an impoverished people being manipulated into mob violence by their exploiter, A slow moving film which won't be to everyone's taste and the bleakness may even put Folk Horror aficionados off. But both Cox and Peak put in powerful performances. Writer/Director William McGregor has delivered an interesting addition to the British Folk Horror Canon. 8/10.
 

sherbetbizarre

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Upcoming book from Strange Attractor on Penda's Fen...


Of Mud & Flame includes insightful essays by scholars across a range of disciplines including television history, literature, theatre, and medieval studies. It also contains a wealth of creative contributions from contemporary writers and poets inspired by this unique cornerstone of Britain’s uncanny archive, as well as recollections from actors Spencer Banks and Christopher Douglas, and reflections from Rudkin himself. Together with this breadth of commentary, Of Mud & Flame also includes the full revised screenplay of Penda’s Fen, its first time in print since 1975.
http://strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/of-mud-flame/
 

skinny

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I'm 'avin' that ^.

I'm off to see Midsommar on the big screen tonight. I saw a shit copy on a laptop and loved it. Projecting large to having my mind totally pushed. Taking my sunglasses just in case. I think we'll be the only people there as its season ends tomorrow.
 
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