This July, the Irish Film Institute presents Haunted Landscapes, a season of classic folk horror films with special guest speakers.
Running from 16th to 30th July, the IFI presents Haunted Landscapes, a season dedicated to the classic folk horror genre, with special guests introducing several screenings: renowned horror fiction novelist and critic Kim Newman and Donald Clarke, film critic with The Irish Times.
Gaining traction in recent years, the term folk horror has been used to yoke together disparate cultural artefacts that exhibit common traits: an interest in paganism; traditional, rural communities with a connection to the land and its regenerative cycles; and the importance of ritual and superstition over scientific rigour.
Three UK films are held as exemplars of the genre: Witchfinder General (1968), The Wicker Man (1973) and Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), and while they are central to this season, the IFI will broaden the parameters of the definition to include earlier films that exhibit discernible folk horror traits: the ancient curse of Night of the Demon (1957), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), and the dreamscapes of Valerie and her Week of Wonders (1970). Also included is the more recent The Blair Witch Project (1999) which popularised found-footage film by employing folk horror mythology. The films collected in this season hope to argue for the continued relevance of folk horror, not just as an intriguing footnote to the horror genre, but as an uncanny seam of energy that reverberates and echoes through the earthier corners of popular culture.
David O’Mahony, Head of Programming at the IFI, said: “We’re delighted to welcome journalist, film critic and writer Kim Newman to the IFI for what promises to be an exciting season of classic folk horror films. Haunted Landscapes will focus on key films from the genre concerned with paganism and superstition that brought about our foreboding connection to rural land.”
Prominent folk horror writer and critic Kim Newman kicks off the season with introductions to all three opening weekend screenings: Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man on July 16th, and Quatermass and the Pit on 17th.
The Irish Times’ film writer Donald Clarke will introduce Piers Haggard’s Blood on Satan’s Claw on July 23rd. A hideous skull, found in the furrows of a farmer’s field precipitates an outbreak of demonic possession in the town’s young people. This unnerving story of a traditional community being led astray foregrounds the association of evil with nature and landscape. A potent, unsettling work whose fetid atmosphere and maddeningly catchy music prove impossible to shake off after the credits roll.
HAUNTED LANDSCAPES FOLK HORROR REVIVAL SCHEDULE
– WITCHFINDER GENERAL July 16th (18.30)
– THE WICKER MAN July 16th (20.45)
– QUATERMASS AND THE PIT July 17th (14.00)
– VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS July 20th (18.30)
– BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW July 23rd (20.30)
– THE DEVIL RIDES OUT July 24th (14.00)
– NIGHT OF THE DEMON July 27th (18.30)
– THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT July 30th (20.30)
Tickets for the season are available now and may be reserved online or at the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477.
Irish Film Institute (IFI)
6, Eustace Street
Tel: 01 679 3477 (Box Office)
All photos courtesy IFI