Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Film review — Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

I can’t help but see this as a genre-specific deep-dive companion piece to Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film project. It’s clearly made by someone with a solid sense of the sociopolitical context of horror (I was going to say ‘horror cinema’, but this covers plenty of made-for-TV productions in its wide remit) and interprets folk horror in particular as an idea that varies depending on its cultural milieu (in Britain, age against youth, urban against rural and so on; but a post-colonial spectre in America and Australia) yet sharing common threads, like the tension between ‘tradition’ and ‘progress’.

Lots of new-to-me films for the watchlist, needless to say. But I do also want to remark on something this documentary highlights for me, which is the relative absence of a folk horror tradition in Irish cinema, despite the richness of our folk history. The only movie referenced here with any passing resemblance is Rawhead Rex, which, let’s be honest, has a tinge of the coloniser reading our own stories back to us in their twisted tongue. It seems like there’s a stronger connection to this island’s past in literature, even (non-trad/folk) music. Where’s the filmic equivalent of From the Bogs of Aughiska? ★★★★

Cross-posted from Letterboxd