This article was originally a paper presented at Queens University Belfast at the first Folk Horror Conference on Friday the 19th of September 2014. Introduction/Thesis. Folk horror is a strange form of media. It has a craving for the need to be defined and canonised whilst also being a sub-genre which seems inherently intuitive, especially when becoming aware of its common likenesses in films, television, … Continue reading The Folk Horror Chain.
The ghost story has had a resurgence lately in film and television. Perhaps the increasing reliance on distancing technology and social media has lead to a desire to retread older forms that now seem prescient but there’s no doubt that the genre as a whole is alive and well, especially for commercially minded lower budget film; the blueprint set up by Hammer’s adaptation of Susan … Continue reading Blackwood (2013) – Adam Wimpenny.
Part 1. Thematic Material of the Folk Horror Chain. “Grendel was the name of this grim demon, haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts.” (Heaney, p.6, 1999). Though the historic and cultural factors around why folk horror was … Continue reading The Music of Folk Horror – Part 2 (Folk Horror Chain and Witchfinder General).
Two writers who could be said to epitomise the ideas of Folk Horror, M.R. James and Nigel Kneale, while addressing these ideals through different media, are writers whose work often crept into the same realm. This has lead to both of their work having a natural relationship with each other, with one almost being a reincarnation of the other. Of course, to imply such things … Continue reading An Ancient Evil: M.R. James and Nigel Kneale.
Mythological Introduction by Philip Larkin. A white girl lay on the grass With her arms held out for love; her goldbrown hair fell down her face, And her two lips move: See, I am the whitest cloud that strays Through a deep sky: I am your senses’ crossroads, where the four seasons lie. She rose up in the middle of the lawn And spread her … Continue reading Village Green Repression in Film, Television and Philip Larkin.
Hammer’s historical films aren’t famed for their period accuracies or epic expanses, yet for all their faults, there is something extremely watchable about them. Though the pre-historic films have the obvious draw of a scantily clad cast and dinosaurs, 1966’s Rasputin The Mad Monk appears to have little to bring in the crowds other than the presence of Christopher Lee. Yet behind its confused genre … Continue reading Rasputin The Mad Monk – Don Sharp (1966)
Following on from Hammer’s The Quatermass Xperiment, the company continued their desire for rating incorporated titles with 1956’s X The Unknown. It may perhaps hold the most unimaginative of Hammer’s titles but the film itself has some surprisingly good moments. The story follows an extremely similar route to its predecessor but certain tweaks allow more paranoia to build specifically around the radiation that clearly obsessed … Continue reading X The Unknown – Leslie Norman (1956)
This article contains spoilers. As a companion piece to John Gilling’s other big Hammer success The Plague of Zombies, 1966’s other Cornish based horror is an entirely different film even though shot relatively back to back. The Reptile focuses far more on the individual effects of a creature on the loose rather than a general view on the chaos, though obviously the villages where both … Continue reading The Reptile – John Gilling (1966)
Having hit gold with their adaptations of Universal classic horrors Frankenstein (Curse of Frankenstein, 1957) and Dracula (Horror of Dracula, 1958), Hammer delved further into the back catalogue of monsters and villains in its 1959 production, The Mummy. Unlike the previous two adaptations, this one seems relatively similar to its Universal predecessor in tone and feel, making it feel like a necessity for the company … Continue reading The Mummy – Terence Fisher (1959)
Hammer’s output from 1958 can roughly be categorised into three separate entities. The first two are relatively obvious with Frankenstein and general vampire action but the third seems to cover a multitude of different themes and monsters. Plague of the Zombies (1966) is one of these films that veered away from the usual Hammer tropes in an aim to create something slightly different and is … Continue reading Plague of the Zombies – John Gilling (1966)