The following is a transcript of the paper delivered at the Child Be Strange Conference at the British Film Institute, 10/06/2017 I want discuss Penda’s Fen today in a context which, for many, is now taken for granted but which is also not entirely agreed upon: the genre that the play sits within. That genre context … Continue reading A Sacred Demon Of Ungovernableness: Penda’s Fen (1974) and Folk Horror
As typical when finishing a book that attempts to build a canon, as I have tried to do with Folk Horror, the signalling of its publishing means a whole host of new potential examples surface and come to light. Though there were things in the Folk Horror book that I simply left out by sheer … Continue reading Folk Horror Curios
At the time of writing this, my book on Folk Horror is a few weeks away from being printed. By the time you read this, however, it should be available to buy. I've written about the detail of the book earlier when it was due to be published late last year. However, I wanted to … Continue reading Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange
Having recently finished all of the remaining episodes of the early 1970s BBC series, Doomwatch, I had the strange feeling that I had slipped into a parallel world; one where the BBC had worked closely with the writer, J.G. Ballard, to make a series that addressed his themes. Though the series largely resembles Ballard's earlier … Continue reading Doomwatch, J.G. Ballard and High-Rise
“Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.” - Kurt Vonnegut. Rather like J.G. Ballard, Nigel Kneale had a certain knack of preempting future social, technological and cultural trends. Kneale's work is perhaps less appreciated than Ballard's because … Continue reading Nigel Kneale and Fascism
As recently announced, I have a book being released in January all about Folk Horror and its many related areas of interest. The book has been in the works for the last year or so though many of the arguments within have been growing now for several years. Though I'll undoubtedly being doing the usual … Continue reading Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange (January, 2017)
This presentation was originally given at the Folk Horror Revival day at The British Museum (16/02/2016). My thanks to the fellow admins of the Folk Horror Revival, especially Jim Peters and Andy Paciorek. There's an overt connection between analogue technology and the narratives surrounding paranormal activity in British horror, especially when made during the 1970s. … Continue reading The Ghost In The Grain – Folk Horror Revival @ The British Museum (16/10/2016).
There are few writers that figure more prominently in everything I do than the teller of beautiful Edwardian ghost stories, M.R. James. Alongside W.G. Sebald, J.G. Ballard, Alan Garner and Virginia Woolf, his writing holds a great power over me with its familiar yet unfamiliar worlds. His writing preys upon my mind at regular intervals, … Continue reading Trailer – No Diggin’ Here.
At the recent Alchemical Landscape conference in Cambridge, there was some interesting analysis of the portrayal of landscape in the opening sequence of Alan Clarke's Play For Today episode, Penda's Fen (1974). The point in the analysis was to show the subversive nature of the opening in regards to its melding of two potentially differing realities … Continue reading Wire and Grass: Landscape Binaries in Television and Reality.
With time being at the core of the series, Sapphire and Steel is perhaps one of the few cult television programs whose narratives can convey astutely some questioning of the philosophy of temporal concepts. Rather than being a framing device for journey and travel, as in series like Doctor Who (1963-1989), time becomes a force … Continue reading Bergson’s Duration in Sapphire And Steel (Assignment One, 1979).