Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies


The particularly British sub-genre of folk horror receives a substantial examination in Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies, a 500-page collection of essays, interviews and artwork edited by Andy Paciorek.

Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub-genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore.

Includes contributions by Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Philip Pullman, Gary Lachman and many many more.

100% of all profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.


Nuada rising, 1973 & 1976.

Among the contents there’s my 4000-word essay Sacred Demons: The Dramatic Art of David Rudkin, parts of which will be familiar to readers of my previous posts about Rudkin’s work. I’m not sure Rudkin would appreciate being subjected to such a narrow focus when his plays and TV films are much more personal and cerebral than most generic entertainments. But there is an intersection in a number of them with folk horror at its widest reach, and Rudkin did happen to adapt The Ash-Tree (1975) by MR James for the BBC’s series of ghost stories at Christmas. My piece covers this along with other TV films such as Penda’s Fen (1974) and Artemis 81 (1981), and many of the stage plays including Afore Night Come (1962), The Sons of Light (1965/76) and The Saxon Shore (1983). The stage plays I only know from their scripts which makes them difficult to appraise; maybe the renewed interest in Rudkin’s work will spur some revivals.


Sight and Sound, August 2010. Illustration by Becca Thorne.

Paciorek’s book isn’t solely concerned with British subjects, other essays include studies of Weird Americana, the music of The Cremator and Morgiana, and Czech folk horror. The Lulu page apparently didn’t allow the listing of a full table of contents so I’m posting the details below.

Continue reading “Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies”

The Return: a ghost story


Another obscure film, The Return (1973) isn’t a television drama, more a miniature for the cinema, and as such may have been produced as a double-feature short. Director and co-writer Sture Rydman only has one other film to his credit but the music for The Return is by film composer Marc Wilkinson while the photography is the work of the very distinguished Douglas Slocombe.

The story is a blend by Rydman and fellow writer Brian Scobie of two ghost stories: Nobody’s House by AM Burrage, and The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce. Nobody’s House is surprisingly one of the few Burrage stories I have on the shelves, and it provides the bulk of the script, the Bierce story being a very different piece concerning a duel in an abandoned building. Rydman’s film is a two-handed affair for two very good actors: Rosalie Crutchley, here playing a less sinister housekeeper than she did in The Haunting, and Peter Vaughan who the year before had been the lead in one of the best of the BBC’s MR James adaptations, A Warning to the Curious. The Return runs for 30 minutes, and to say much more would be to spoil it. The copy at YouTube does Slocombe’s photography no favours but you can at least watch it here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Nigel Kneale’s Woman in Black
“Who is this who is coming?”