Cultural Gutter: Folk Horror for the Atomic Age

damned

On The Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about Hammer’s These Are the Damned and Folk Horror for the Atomic Age.

My personal favorite atomic age folk horror tale came a few years after the third in the Quatermass series, all of which were adapted for the cinema by Hammer Studios. Like the Quatermass movies, it came from Hammer. These Are the Damned is a curious film that effectively pulls off the difficult stunt of starting off as one type of story but ending up a very different type. It is equal parts crime melodrama, science fiction, and “atomic age” folk horror. There is the remote setting, here the seaside resort town of Weymouth that despite its tourist trade still feels isolated. There’s the naive outsider. There’s suspicious locals, headed up by juvenile delinquent Joan and her over-protective brother and gang leader King, played by Oliver Reed, who probably counts as an ancient and primeval force of nature.

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