A Sacred Demon Of Ungovernableness: Penda’s Fen (1974) and Folk Horror

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

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Doomwatch, J.G. Ballard and High-Rise

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

Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange (January, 2017)

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)

The Ghost In The Grain – Folk Horror Revival @ The British Museum (16/10/2016).

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).

Trailer – No Diggin’ Here.

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.

Wire and Grass: Landscape Binaries in Television and Reality.

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.

Bergson’s Duration in Sapphire And Steel (Assignment One, 1979).

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).