Wednesday, 26 July 2017

We Don't Go Back #56: Children of the Corn (1984)

I suppose my love of genre films and ghost stories, and particularly the films of the 70s and 80s, is, like many of the things I like, because of my dad.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

We Don't Go Back – Guest Post: Duel (1971)

Yes, that's right, Steven Spielberg's 1971 made-for-TV debut, Duel, in my folk horror strand.

My frequent collaborator Jon Dear (of viewsfromahill.com) contacted me the other week and said, “What do you think about me writing about Duel as a folk horror film?” and I paused for a moment and suddenly I thought, hell, you know, yes it is. Jon makes a strong case for Duel as part of the folk horror canon. Hell, if Carnival of Souls counts, and you know I think it does, Duel certainly does.

I know you're sceptical, but go with Jon on this, and see what you think.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Do it anyway

I wrote this for one friend in particular, you know who you are, but it applies to a bunch of people.

It's the season for meltdowns. More than one of the writers and artists and teachers and community workers I know is struggling right now. Whether it's the collapse of a long-standing relationship, or the loss of a loved one, or the reminder of a loss of a loved one, or the everyday difficulties of parenthood or the enduring of a constant siege from mental illness, or more than one of these, or several of these, or something else, my friends, acquaintances and colleagues are hurting right now. And they're losing their faith in their abilities.

I'll be honest, I'm in solidarity here. I feel that every day of my life, right now. What good is my work? Who cares about it? What if it fails? Everyone worth anything has these doubts.

Maybe this is you right now. And all I have is this: do it anyway.

Friday, 14 July 2017

We Don't Go Back #55: Jug Face (2013)

An obscure gem, this, an intelligent horror film with an angle fresh enough that it seems old and familiar. Chad Crawford Kinkle's Jug Face (released on DVD in the UK as The Pit) doesn't hang around: at a slim 75 minutes, it clings tightly to its premise, and if its ending is inevitable, the route Jug Face takes to get there is scattered with grim delights. What could be a box-ticking exercise (and don't get me wrong, Jug Face assiduously ticks all the boxes) is tense, eerie and well-played.  

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

We Don't Go Back #54: Look Around You: Ghosts (2002)

The problem with writing about comedy is that not only will you never really communicate what's so funny, but that there's this danger in trying that you'll sap the comedy from the thing you're writing about. So I suppose that in writing about Look Around You, I'll just be serious. I hope that's all right with you.

When I was a kid in primary school, the age my own children are now, I used to look forward to the afternoon that the school TV, a monstrous box bearing a faint whiff of heat and ozone, would be wheeled in.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

M4 Death Trip, Episode Two: Apollo 18


M4 Death Trip, Episode 2: Apollo 18

This is the second M4 Death Trip podcast, in collaboration with Jon Dear of ViewsFromaHill.com.

In this episode, Jon and I discuss Apollo 18, the 2011 found footage horror. Theme music is by The Hare and the Moon.

You should go and read Jon's introduction to this episode, by the way. It adds some excellent context.





This is that Kickstarter I was talking about in the podcast, if you didn't know. It's quite a lot further on than it was when we recorded. Do feel free to chip in.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

We Don't Go Back, an appendix: Dogged (2017)

It's only in the last few years that folk horror has been a thing. Hell, it was only last year maybe that I even realised that the sort of film and TV I enjoyed the most even had a name, and that there was this vibrant community dedicated to its aesthetic.

The biggest nexus of that has to be Folk Horror Revival, which, as I've written before, has been a tremendous support to me in the writing of this blog.

More than half of my readers come from there, and the We Don't Go Back Kickstarter wouldn't have gotten to its goal nearly so swiftly if it weren't for the enthusiastic support of members and admins of that group. Basically, I'm going to owe much of my next month's livelihood to Folk Horror Revival, so here's a reminder that this year FHR will be running events in Edinburgh and Whitby (you can still buy tickets for the Whitby event here) and that Wyrd Harvest Press has published several books, all the profits of which go to wildlife charities.

The DIY ethic of small presses and blogs extends to record labels and bands (here is where I mention that Zeuk's first album, which is probably my favourite, is available on Bandcamp now). But the aesthetic of folk horror began with film and revived itself with film, and it's no surprise that, in an age of streaming video and crowdfunded movies, that grass roots movement has expressed itself in film (I'm even involved in the making of a short, but more on that as we go on).

And there are loads of them out there, testament to enthusiasm and a hands on attitude to to creativity. And I'll be honest, attempting to write about even a fraction of them would eat this project alive, and also, let's be brutally honest, not everything that's homemade is good.

Shortly after launching my Kickstarter, independent filmmaker Richard Rowntree approached me and asked me if I wanted to see his recently crowdfunded film Dogged. It had funded long before I'd found the community, and had flown right under my radar at the time, and then he backed We Don't Go Back on Kickstarter, so I said, of course I would.