Responses: John Dee’s Obsidian Mirror

Late last year, I became obsessed with visiting a certain item in the British Museum.  Deliberately choosing to work in or near Bloomsbury, I would often wander into the building in between working, making my way straight to one of the room’s (on the right of the building) with a confidence and determination that clearly unnerved my various tourist companions.  I would stride into the … Continue reading Responses: John Dee’s Obsidian Mirror

Short Film – No Diggin’ Here.

I have been lucky enough to have this year’s Halloween film, No Diggin’ Here – a film about M.R. James, Aldeburgh and A Warning To The Curious – premiered on the BFI’s website.  It was a Halloween treat that, until I saw it happen in full, I didn’t quite believe, but I count myself incredibly lucky for such an opportunity.  A few weeks back, the … Continue reading Short Film – No Diggin’ Here.

Rurality In Folk Horror And The Films of David Gladwell.

This paper was originally given at The Alchemical Landscape conference at Girton College Cambridge, 07/07/2016. Though more well known for work as a film editor associated with the Free Cinema Movement of the late 1950s, and for cutting work on several films by Lindsay Anderson including If…. (1968) and O’ Lucky Man! (1973), David Gladwell is a director in his own right; a cinematic outsider … Continue reading Rurality In Folk Horror And The Films of David Gladwell.

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 of English landscape; on the one hand, the typical pastoral … Continue reading Wire and Grass: Landscape Binaries in Television and Reality.

“Wyrd” Wirral – Spirits Of Place (02/04/2016)

This is an edited version of the paper given at Spirits Of Place in Calderstones Park, Liverpool 02/04/2016.  My thanks to John Reppion and Leah Moore for organising the event and for to the other excellent speakers (Gill Hoffs, David Southwell, Gary Budden, Kenneth Brophy, Richard Macdonald, Ian “Cat” Vincent and Ramsey Campbell).  Here’s to the next one. There is strange landmass on the opposite … Continue reading “Wyrd” Wirral – Spirits Of Place (02/04/2016)

Short Film – Salthouse Marshes

Salthouse Marshes began life in a strange way.  Having chatted about adapting Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows with Robert Macfarlane (who had wanted to re-set it in England), there was always to be a “haunted waterway” film on the cards.  But, after constant reading of the narrative of The Willows, the thought of organising the filming on two boats and on celluloid simply proved too intimidating.  … Continue reading Short Film – Salthouse Marshes

Walking “A Warning To The Curious” (M.R. James).

A few years back, whilst on holiday in Norfolk, I began exploring some of locations used for the BBC’s famous M.R. James adaptations, specifically for Lawrence Gordon Clark’s adaptation of A Warning To The Curious (1972).  Though I had been far from thorough in this escapade (I completely missed the film’s most iconic structure in the church at Happisburgh), on finding myself in Suffolk, I … Continue reading Walking “A Warning To The Curious” (M.R. James).

Demise Of The Rural in Requiem For A Village (1976) And “Going, Going” (Philip Larkin).

I thought it would be last my time – The sense that, beyond the town, There would always be fields and farms, Where the village louts could climb Such trees as were not cut down; I knew there’d be false alarms – Going, Going, stanza 1 – Philip Larkin. Above is the opening stanza of Philip Larkin’s 1972 poem, Going, Going.  The poem captures the … Continue reading Demise Of The Rural in Requiem For A Village (1976) And “Going, Going” (Philip Larkin).

The “Urban Wyrd” In Folk Horror.

One of the key criticisms of the Folk Horror Chain is its emphasis, both in argument and in evidence, upon the rural landscape and its various elements.  While the key works of Folk Horror cinema seem to broadly use rural landscape aesthetics and practice to set and conjure their horror, by setting up such a parameter, it does indeed neglect some of the sub-genre’s most … Continue reading The “Urban Wyrd” In Folk Horror.