Folk Horror

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Just felt the urge to itemise my 10 favourite folk horror movies:

1. Witchfinder General
2. The Wicker Man (1973)
3. Blood on Satan's Claw
4. Kill List
5. A Field in England
6. Night of the Demon
7. Wake Wood
8. Rawhead Rex
9. Hex
10. The Wicker Tree
I thought The wicker Tree was dire but I'd agree with you on the rest and include The Witch.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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What I liked about The Wicker Tree were the cheeky hat-tips to the original but, with hindsight, I would probably swap my 10th slot for Lair of the White Worm.

I did consider The Witch, but wanted to restrict my list to British movies, or at least movies set in the British Isles.
 

gordonrutter

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What I liked about The Wicker Tree were the cheeky hat-tips to the original but, with hindsight, I would probably swap my 10th slot for Lair of the White Worm.

I did consider The Witch, but wanted to restrict my list to British movies, or at least movies set in the British Isles.
Am I alone in thinking The VVitch so far up itself as to be trash? I’d rather watch The Wicker Tree to be honest.
 

gordonrutter

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I really enjoyed it, A Field In England from the list above I did find to be pretentious however.
I saw all of the rave reviews about it and was really lookign forward to it and then when I watched it... Never seen A Field in England either so can't comment on that. Did however watch The Lair of the White Worm on Monday (for the umpteenth time) still fun apart from some strange accents.
 

MrRING

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(partially cribbing my own post at another forum)
Just saw Spider aka Zirneklis, a Latvian erotic horror film with a giant magician spider/god thing released through the Mondo Macabre label in the US, and it's one tremendously weird film:
https://mondomacabro.bigcartel.com/prod ... il-edition

Vita, a beautiful teenage girl, is asked by a controversial artist to pose as the Virgin Mary for a painting. She visits his studio and finds herself swept up into the bizarre world of the artist and his bohemian friends. She seems to see his paintings come to life and is pursued by strange shadow figures. Later she has nightmarish visions of the artist visiting her at night in the form of a huge spider. The next morning she finds marks on her body that look like the bites of a giant insect.

Vita's mother becomes worried about her and sends the girl off to stay with relatives in the countryside, believing the change in environment will help her to recover. However, it seems the dark forces that threatened Vita in the city have followed her and an ancient evil is being re-awakened that feeds off Vita's burgeoning sexuality.
It has some similarities with Valerie and her Week of Wonders, but what makes it folk horror? The spider/painter seems like an ancient creature who everybody around her knows of, but they are semi-powerless to stop. He acts like Vita is owed to him, and her family and priest act like they want to let the usual nature take it's course, but the priest has doubts.

Here is a trailer - NSFW dude to some nudity:
 

brownmane

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Am I alone in thinking The VVitch so far up itself as to be trash? I’d rather watch The Wicker Tree to be honest.
I've never seen The Wicker Tree. I liked Witch because it didn't make a conclusion for you. I also liked the historical setting showing how puritan beliefs and isolation contributed to the family's experiences.
A Field in England, I found online. I found it slow and aimless.
 
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I liked Witch because it didn't make a conclusion for you. I also liked the historical setting showing how puritan beliefs and isolation contributed to the family's experiences.
Same here. A lot of what happened could have been imagination, psychosis or mania due to ingestion of ergot fungi. Or maybe the events occurred. The historical research was obviously meticulous, even using the sort of English which would have been spoken at the time and the diction as best as could be reconstructed.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I've never seen The Wicker Tree. I liked Witch because it didn't make a conclusion for you. I also liked the historical setting showing how puritan beliefs and isolation contributed to the family's experiences.
A Field in England, I found online. I found it slow and aimless.
Oh you should watch it!
It's not a bad film, but the problem is the impossibly high bar set by the original Wicker Man.
There's even a brief, but very welcome cameo by Lord Summerisle himself!
 

Zeke Newbold

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I would say that the most enduring and best known specimen of folk horror from the U.K can only be:

Macbeth by William...oh, whatisiname?

For maximun effect go for the Kenneth Tynan film version from the seventies which knows it's dealing with folk horror and give the 2015 screen version (with Fassbender) a miss as this one downplays the intrinsic occult elements clearly there in the script.

But whatsname? William Shawcross...no. William Shadrack, no. William Shackelton, no. Going senile! William Shalesteam, no. William Shampagne..no. William....... macbeth.jpg
 

gordonrutter

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I would say that the most enduring and best known specimen of folk horror from the U.K can only be:

Macbeth by William...oh, whatisiname?

For maximun effect go for the Kenneth Tynan film version from the seventies which knows it's dealing with folk horror and give the 2015 screen version (with Fassbender) a miss as this one downplays the intrinsic occult elements clearly there in the script.

But whatsname? William Shawcross...no. William Shadrack, no. William Shackelton, no. Going senile! William Shalesteam, no. William Shampagne..no. William....... View attachment 15023
William Shatner?
 

Ulalume

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We don't do a lot of folk horror in the US - not much known (or widespread) tradition to draw from - but I thought The Witch was a darn good film. Bleak, though. I especially liked the subtle yet ever-present way the threat of the coming Massachusetts winter loomed over them.
 

James_H

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We don't do a lot of folk horror in the US - not much known (or widespread) tradition to draw from - but I thought The Witch was a darn good film. Bleak, though. I especially liked the subtle yet ever-present way the threat of the coming Massachusetts winter loomed over them.
One could make the argument that as British and American folk music is very different, but both are still folk music, the same applies in stories. There's plenty of movies based on the folk traditions of the US that don't fit the European folk horror mold.
 

Ulalume

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One could make the argument that as British and American folk music is very different, but both are still folk music, the same applies in stories. There's plenty of movies based on the folk traditions of the US that don't fit the European folk horror mold.
Examples? I haven't found too much on my own. My definition of folk horror is "horror arising from the landscape itself" so besides Children of the Corn, we appear to be sorely lacking in such things. (I have my theories as to why, but they are neither here nor there.)
 
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Examples? I haven't found too much on my own. My definition of folk horror is "horror arising from the landscape itself" so besides Children of the Corn, we appear to be sorely lacking in such things. (I have my theories as to why, but they are neither here nor there.)
Shirley Jackson, maybe? Michael McDowell's, The Elementals? Some of Joe R Lansdale's work? If not Folk Horror as such, I think they might only be a couple of nudges away - and the right scriptwriter and director could certainly push them further in that direction. Also, I wonder if a dig into the culture and folklore of the Blues might turn up some examples of things that might fit the folk horror bill; it's over twenty years since I read Alan Lomax and Paul Oliver - but I have an inkling there might be clues there.

As to movies, I'm not really sure it fits at all, but the first name that popped into my head was Grim Prairie Tales. However this might simply be an unconscious acknowledgement that if there was such a thing as American Folk Horror, then Brad Dourif could probably carry the entire genre on his back.
 
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Ulalume

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Shirley Jackson, maybe? Michael MacDowell's, The Elementals? Some of Joe R Lansdale's work? If not Folk Horror as such, I think they might only be a couple of nudges away - and the right scriptwriter and director could certainly push them further in that direction. Also, I wonder if a dig into the culture and folklore of the Blues might turn up some examples of things that might fit the folk horror bill; it's over twenty years since I read Alan Lomax and Paul Oliver - but I have an inkling there might be clues there.

As to movies, I'm not really sure it fits at all, but the first name that popped into my head was Grim Prairie Tales. However this might simply be an unconscious acknowledgement that if there was such a thing as American Folk Horror, then Brad Dourif could probably carry the entire genre on his back.
Interesting ideas, Spookdaddy, I will look into that. So much is based around horrors arising from a (non-place related) spiritual cause, or from a flaw in the people themselves that it's tough to find anything that parallels the British version. For example, you'd think the American south would be ripe for such things, the land certainly has that aura, which comes across well in films like Angel Heart, but there again the baddie is the devil himself, not anything intrinsic to the land.

There are certainly tales from native lore, but these vary widely and aren't universally relatable, IMO. The UK has an advantage there in being a smaller, more close-knit place.

I have a half-formed notion that our various cryptids are our cultural version of landscape horrors.
 

James_H

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Examples? I haven't found too much on my own. My definition of folk horror is "horror arising from the landscape itself" so besides Children of the Corn, we appear to be sorely lacking in such things. (I have my theories as to why, but they are neither here nor there.)
Does Steven King have a bit of that stuff?
 
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Examples? I haven't found too much on my own. My definition of folk horror is "horror arising from the landscape itself" so besides Children of the Corn, we appear to be sorely lacking in such things. (I have my theories as to why, but they are neither here nor there.)
The Guardian: Lesser known William Friedkin film which he co-wrote and directed, he was none too happy with the result but I would classify it as good Folk Horror. There are references to Druidic Tree Worship and human sacrifices A nanny who is really a Hamadryad has a penchant for sacrificing infants to her Mother Tree seeing as there are no druids around to do the job.
https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4284669/?ref_=ur_urv

Shelter (6 Souls): Forensic Psychiatrist Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) doesn't believe in Multiple Personality Disorder but her father (Jeffrey Munn), also a psychiatrist, tries to shake up her thinking by introducing her to Adam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who is also David and Wesley. Apparently some of his physical abilities and characteristics change with his personalities.

Not just a tale of a disturbed patient, this film also brings in serial killing, Appalachian Folk Magic and a curse. Good Folk Horror but with perhaps a few too many forced shocks. At 112 minutes it would have benefited from a 15 minutes cut in it's running time. Convincing acting by Moore and Meyers. 6.5/10.
https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4202320/?ref_=ur_urv
 
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...I have a half-formed notion that our various cryptids are our cultural version of landscape horrors.
Interesting you say that - I was only just thinking about Linda S Godfrey, and whether the stories she has collected had some sort of relevance here.
 

Ulalume

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The Guardian: Lesser known William Friedkin film which he co-wrote and directed, he was none too happy with the result but I would classify it as good Folk Horror. There are references to Druidic Tree Worship and human sacrifices A nanny who is really a Hamadryad has a penchant for sacrificing infants to her Mother Tree seeing as there are no druids around to do the job.
https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4284669/?ref_=ur_urv

Shelter (6 Souls): Forensic Psychiatrist Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) doesn't believe in Multiple Personality Disorder but her father (Jeffrey Munn), also a psychiatrist, tries to shake up her thinking by introducing her to Adam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who is also David and Wesley. Apparently some of his physical abilities and characteristics change with his personalities.

Not just a tale of a disturbed patient, this film also brings in serial killing, Appalachian Folk Magic and a curse. Good Folk Horror but with perhaps a few too many forced shocks. At 112 minutes it would have benefited from a 15 minutes cut in it's running time. Convincing acting by Moore and Meyers. 6.5/10.
https://www.imdb.com/review/rw4202320/?ref_=ur_urv
Ooh, thanks! I'd never even heard of these.
 
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