39 On Folk Horror2

On Folk Horror

Folk horror is something of a retrospective tag for a brand of (mostly British) horror.  Although it is mostly affiliated with a clawful of early 70s horror films, it was 2010 before British screenwriter and horror aficionado Mark Gatiss popularised the term in referring to a trifecta of films with an emphasis on witchcraft, superstition and the British landscape.  The term has gained notoriety since then and many modern writers, filmmakers and musicians have made a conscious effort to tap its rich aesthetic.  I’m one of those writers.

Folk horror really speaks to me.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in a small English village; maybe it’s because I love nothing more than strolling through the countryside and letting my imagination run wild.  But I find rural English horror pleases me on a good few levels, and I enjoyed throwing my own hat in the ring with my most recent book Harvest House.  Here are some of my thoughts on why I like folk horror and why I find it horrifying, together with some signposts to exploring folk horror for yourselves. (more…)

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36 American Gods

Why I Won’t Be Watching American Gods

I first read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in my late teens.  It was winter time and I fitted it in between college classes and bus stops and it struck such a chord with me.  The book is full to bursting with rich imagination, and images from that first reading that have stuck with me ever since.  Which is why I won’t be watching the new TV adaptation of the book. (more…)

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19 del Toros Labyrinth

del Toro’s Labyrinth

I watched Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s international masterpiece, a couple of times when I was a teenager and thought it was brilliant.  But just now I watched it for the first time as proper adult, and I’ve gone from merely thinking it was great to considering it one of the best films ever.  Here’s my…  Well, less of a review, more of a reflection, on Pan’s Labyrinth and why I think it deserves to go down in history as one of the most important films ever made.

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12 Upside-Disney- Subverting the Fairy Tale

Upside-Disney: Subverting the Fairy Tale

I watched Maleficent this week – it’s Disney’s live action revision of the studio’s own Sleeping Beauty, told from the point of view of the eponymous villain. I enjoyed it; Angelina Jolie in particular pulls it out the bag with a great performance that forms the central pillar of the film. It got me thinking about the style of modern Disney films, and about the modern approach to adapting or reimagining fairy tales.
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04 Ford Coppola’s Dracula

Ford Coppola’s Dracula

This isn’t going to be a review. Honest. But I watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula last night and loved it to such a degree that I’ve got to muse over it. As its title suggests, it is intended to be more faithful to the 1897 gothic horror novel than previous exhumations – not difficult when considering the character-juggling 1931 version starring Bela Lugosi or the comparatively action-packed Hammer production of 1958 with Christopher Lee. But this isn’t quite Bram Stoker’s story – this one belongs to the director. This is Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.
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