At its core there is something very British about folk horror, so tied is it to the landscape of rural and semi-rural England, the ancient Pagan rites and cultures that, because they did not write anything down, lend themselves so readily to mystery, interpretation, and myth-making. Eventually, however, as an American lad, I started thinking about American folk horror and, as is my way, the places where American folk horror and science fiction intersect.
Ancient sacred sites and secret government installations benefit from remote settings for a number of reasons. Suddenly the ancient English countryside is a patchwork of chain link fences, barbed wire, “No Trespassing” signs, mysterious aerials and satellite dishes and armed guards at checkpoints.
On The Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about Folk Horror for the Atomic Age. 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, equal parts crime melodrama, science fiction, and folk horror.
On the surface, The Wicker Man is the story of how one police constable’s attempt to scrooge up a town’s May Day revelries fails miserably. But The Wicker Man is a film with complex depth, and delving into those murky waters is aided considerably by a few of the key texts that went into crafting the film’s story.
If horror films have taught us anything, it’s that you should always be suspicious of a really good real estate deal. is that house a gorgeous vision of Victorian craftsmanship on the market for peanuts? Don’t buy it, unless you plan to use it as a place to which you invite a group of apparent strangers with the promise that if they can survive spending one night in it, you’ll give them a million dollars.
Over on The Cultural Gutter, In This Green and Pleasant Land examines Children of the Stones, regarded to this day as one of the smartest, weirdest, scariest slices of children’s television programming ever produced.