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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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).

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.

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 … Continue reading Short Film – Salthouse Marshes

Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.

The relationship between myth and ritual has been often debated within anthropology ever since its Victoriana days of enlightened scientific thinking through the prism of evolution and the birth of mechanisation and industrial blight.  The idea of returning to the "primacy of ritual", where whole belief systems stem as a result from repeated actions or … Continue reading Ritual And Identity in Penda’s Fen (1974) – Alan Clarke.

The “English Eerie” and The Landscape Venn.

As I write this, it is just under two weeks to the Spectral Landscapes event in Oxford.  Put together between myself and the Oxford University's Romantic society through Jen Wood, the event is looking at the resurgence of interest in work across all forms of creative media which looks to the landscape in order to … Continue reading The “English Eerie” and The Landscape Venn.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth) – Part 3.

Part 1. Part 2. The Eeriness of Landscape Entities. The final aspect to assess is the natural eeriness created from putting an object within a landscape; here, it is the context of such an action and implications of the aesthetics that is key.  When Hepworth's work is situated in the landscape, two things can occur.  … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth) – Part 3.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 1.

Introduction. The building of form within the space of landscape has become a common occurrence in sculpture for a number of years now.  The moving of artistic forms out-of-doors provides so many new potential contexts that it seems almost puerile to suggest so.  One aspect of particular interest is when these new forms of Earthologistic sculpture … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 1.