In what should come as a surprise to absolutely none of the 3 of you who frequent the cinematic abyss that is Castle Blogferatu, we are currently well and truly into a deep Folk Horror rabbit hole thanks to Sunday’s post and rewatch of Kier-La Janisse’s Woodlands Dark And Days Bewitched: A History Of Folk Horror.
As I mentioned, there’s a big ol’ heapin’ heppin’ of movies I didn’t realize were folk horror, shockingly haven’t seen, and disturbingly never even heard of. It seemed only prudent, then, to take a Prussian-like forced march through the 80+ movies I added to Letterboxd and come up with my Top 10 Folk Horror Movies On My Watchlist. I also tried to limit myself to titles I hadn’t heard of before. Y’know, jus’ fer funsies.
#10 November (2017)
The devil, lycanthropy, various entities from the spirit world, Black Death, all thinly personified in a medieval Estonian village. Well okay then. I’m sure there’s some kind of sociopolitical allegory and/or undercurrent here as well.
#9 The Dreaming (1988)
An Aboriginal tomb gets opened up, an Aboriginal girl dies of a mysterious injury, and nightmares from The Dreamtime invade a doctor’s life.
#8 Kadaicha (aka Stones Of Death, 1988)
Another Aussie flick. This one involves teen murders in the suburbs of Sydney. Might have some Poltergeist vibes.
#7 Tilbury (1987)
Based on the tilberi, a figure out of Icelandic folklore. It involves a rib, wool, communion wine—it’s a whole process that creates creature/demon thing that sucks milk from cows. The movie focuses on this but also throws in a bizarro love triangle.
#6 Draug (2018)
On to Swedish legend, the draug is a kind of revenant. The story in this case also involves the search for an 11th Century missionary.
#5 The Legend Of Hillbilly John (1972)
Kind of a quasi-anthology based on Manly Wade Wellman’s stories of John The Balladeer/Silver John. Hillbilly John roams the south with a silver-stringed guitar he uses to confront and confound The Devil.
#4 Eyes Of Fire (1983)
The American frontier in 1750. A group of worshippers, one of whom may or may not be a witch, follow their outcast preacher and venture forth to survive on their own, an idea we’ll see again in The VVitch.
#3 The Sermon (2018)
The only short on this list, the clip I saw has some serious Shirley Jackson vibes. I’ll probably start with this one.
#2 The Moon And The Sledgehammer (1971)
A documentary? Well yeah, sure. It focuses on the Page family living in a Sussex woodland and more or less disconnected from the modern world. What looks creepy about it is that it sets up the “reality” that could make something like The Wicker Man possible.
#1 The Last Wave (1977)
A couple years after Picnic At Hanging Rock, Peter Weir tells this story about four Aboriginal men accused of murder. There’s a mysterious death, and the lawyer assigned to defend the men begins to have disturbing dreams. Sounds like it kinda sets the stage for The Dreaming later.
And that’s the list for this week. What’s your favorite Folk Horror flick? Have you seen any of these? Let me know in The Comments.