Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Small Screen Folk Horror

King of the Castle: The Complete Series
A tower block harbours mystical secrets

Over here you can see a list of Seventies folk horror TV shows. Folk horror is a somewhat flexible term, but I think the list includes enough examples to give anyone a pretty good idea. We're talking about deep history, mythology, a sense of the past bearing down on the present and shaping it. Throw in demonic, ghostly, or otherwise paranormal phenomena, and you're on the way.

Raven (1977)
Raven

I remember a few of the shows listed, as a Seventies teenage telly viewer. Children of the Stones, Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl, and the one-off Christmas ghost story 'Stigma' caught my attention. I don't remember the ITV shows King of the Castle or Raven, perhaps because were very much a BBC household. 'A Photograph' in the Play for Today strand is also a new one on me, and it's available to watch on YouTube.

Doctor Who: Image of the Fendahl (1977)
Image of the Fendahl

It's interesting to note that Nigel Kneale's Quatermass finale, also made by ITV, had strong folk horror elements. It was all about stone circles and a hippie back-to-nature cult with sinister undertones. However, the overall feel of the show is dystopian sci-fi, so perhaps it's a marginal example.

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