Review: Hours Dreadful & Things Strange


Fans of folk horror, hauntology, psychogeography, visionary ruralism, the urban wyrd and other such strange edges will proably be no stranger to the name of Adam Scovell or perhaps his thorough and impressive website Celluloid Wicker Man

Adam is a writer and filmmaker currently based between Liverpool and London He has produced film and art criticism for over twenty publications including The Times and The Guardian, runs the Celluloid Wicker Man website and has had work screened and given lectures at places as esteemed as Cambridge University, The British Museum, The BFI, The Everyman Playhouse, Queen’s University – Belfast, Hackney Picturehouse and Manchester Art Gallery.

Within his first book for film and media publishing house Auteur , Scovell wanders forests and fields to unearth answers to the thorny question  “What is Folk Horror?” It is quite a task for folk horror is not simply a subgenre of horror but is a subgenre of various other genres and subgenres and it is also conversely unique in itself.
The Unholy Trinity of films, Blood on Satan’s Claw, Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man do of course get thorough necessary attention, but this book gives cause for any of the opinion that folk horror is a 3 movie phenomenon, much cause to think again.  Scovell, the creator of Scovell’s Chain – a system of defining elements of folk horror succeeds in outlining and showcasing diverse examples of folk horror and related fields, but does not hammer its legs down with iron stakes in too rigid a definition allowing folk horror to continue to wander myriad paths and remain as an evolving entity.
Kwaidan, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Ballad of Tam Lin,True Detective, Penda’s Fen, Quatermass, Children of the Stones and many many other films, tv shows are given the full (Owl) service and prove that folk horror is not limted to the British Isles as some folk would kid you believe. .

For all fans and scholars of folk horror and related sub-genres this book is indispensable. Scovell proves himself an excellent writer as the level of research and consideration in this book is impeccable yet it is not at all dry and is a captivating, flowing read for every body interested in the subject matter, not only those involved in academic field studies.
Many examples of folk horror are investigated and discussed (as such beware of spoilers for films and Tv plays you may not have seen yet) and also their relation to akin subjects such as the Urban Wyrd, Hauntology, Backwoods Horror, Ruralism and Southern Gothic.
This book investigates its subject matter with a contagious passion and does extremely well to explain a subject that is nebulous and still evolving. Whilst concentrating mostly on film the book also explores such matter as Public Information Films and the design and music of the Ghost Box label.
As well as being a very worthy addition to Auteur’s film study publication ouvre it is an essential read for all fans of folk horror and the sinuous other company it keeps.

Folk Horror Revival looks forward very much to reading further books and watching new films in future from Adam.

Hours Dreadful & Things Strange is available from Amazon and other book stores.