Watch the trailer for our A Warning To The Curious season which starts this Sunday (27 November) with folk-horror classic Blood On Satan’s Claw. Described by Time Out as “chillingly perfect” the season is a selection box of films inspired by M.R. James and Charles Dickens.
Roger Clarke, collaborator and author of A Natural History Of Ghosts, describes the folk-horror gems on offer including this weekend’s Vintage Sundays presentation of Blood On Satan’s Claw.
“Folk-horror has a triple-tree (to use the old name for the Tyburn gallows in London) of articles of faith: Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), Witchfinder General (1968) and most notably The Wicker Man (1973). These are the mushrooms growing in the autumn of the Summer of Love, variously hallucinogenic, an efflorescence of decay, linking the old-ways and the holloways and the wych elms with the living mind. From 1968-1978 they had a considerable influence on children’s TV as well, including ‘The Owl Service’ and ‘Children of the Stones’.
In a recent gathering of members of the ‘Folk Horror Revival’ Facebook group in the British Museum, particular reference was made to two BBC short Ghost Stories for Christmas ‘Whistle and I’ll Come to You’ (1968) and ‘The Signalman’ (1976). Folk Horror is all about the occultism of tumuli and village stocks, of buried ancient treasure and the creep of supernatural guardians. M.R. James, it is sometimes forgotten, didn’t just spend his time in provincial cathedral libraries but on bicycling tours much as Dickens was a restless and constant walker and traveller. The haunted landscape, which fills a writer’s desk with earth and his ink-pot with holy water. ‘Quis est iste qui venit’? Folk Horror, of course.”