Unearthing Forgotten Horrors ~300: An Interview with Darren Charles

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Unearthing Forgotten Horrors’ is a weekly hour-long delve into the darker recesses of the musical underworld. A chance to immerse yourself in obscure horror soundtracks, dark drones, weird electronica, freaky folk, crazed kosmiche and some of the most abhorrent and twisted psychedelia ever committed to vinyl, CD or cassette.

In honour of the 300th episode to be broadcast on A1 Radio on Tuesday 30th March 2021 at 7pm (UK time) Folk Horror Revival talks to our very own Darren Charles – the John Peel of Scary Music and Film Soundtracks and the voice of the consistently excellent Unearthing Forgotten Horrors …


Folk Horror Revival: Hi Darren. You are approaching the 300th episode of Unearthing Forgotten Horrors radio show on A1; could you tell us more about the show and how you came to be doing it and does that name have any connection to a certain folk horror film?

Darren Charles: Unearthing Forgotten Horrors is derived, as you allude to, from a quote in ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’, when the Judge (Patrick Wymark) responds to the Doctor’s belief in old knowledge with the phrase “Witchcraft is dead and discredited…Are you bent on reviving forgotten horrors?” It was originally used as the name for a series of events that took place in Newcastle featuring live music performances and film screenings at the Star and Shadow cinema. We liked the idea of ‘forgotten horrors’ but my partner in crime Chris felt that using ‘reviving’ meant we sounded like we were selling tea infusions. I mentioned this in conversation with Andy Sharp of English Heretic fame and he suggested ‘Unearthing’ which instantly felt far more appropriate and was adopted instantly.

As for the radio show, I had a mix created by Jim Peters for the first event and approached a local radio station to play it as a marketing tool on Halloween, of which they obliged. Afterwards they asked if I would be interested in recording a radio show for them and so the UFH radio show was born. It ran for a while until the station closed down and we moved to our new home at A1 Radio, who we have since recorded almost 300 shows for.

FHR: Every episode you spotlight a Soundtrack of the Week amongst the great diversity of tunes you play, do you have any personal favourite soundtracks and which film / score first got you interested in cinematic music?

DC: I think it’s so difficult to pick out a single favourite because there are so many incredibly effective soundtracks out there. I would definitely suggest several Goblin soundtracks, Suspiria, Deep Red and Dawn of the Dead are all favourites, as well as Fabio Frizzi’s scores for Fulci’s zombie trio; City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and Zombie Flesheaters. Blood on Satan’s Claw, The Wicker Man, Halloween, Maniac, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Haunting of Julia, the list goes on and on.

The film that first got me hooked on soundtracks was probably Jaws or Star Wars, I loved both as a kid and both had these hugely iconic scores that were everywhere when I was a boy. In later years, and once I was old enough to discover real horror movies, I think Suspiria was the first to truly hook me in, it was the first time I thought of the music in a horror film as an integral factor in what made it truly scary. I also really love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre score, which I discovered around the same time. It’s such an appropriate score for that film, every time I watch it, it reminds me how much I love it.

FHR: Which folk horror film do you think has the most effective soundtrack?

As much as I love The Wicker Man it has to be Blood on Satan’s Claw for me. Marc Wilkinson’s score is astonishing, it’s so unusually sinister and queasy sounding, but it really is embedded deeply in what makes that film work so well. It has a playful devilish quality that Candia McCormack described as “wickedness itself” in the first volume of Harvest Hymns, which is a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

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FHR: You have a Masters Degree specialising in the History of Witchcraft, what connections do you think there are between music and the occult?

DC: I think the two are inextricably linked, music has always been a powerful tool used in ritual magic dating back as far as we can remember and so many different cultures have cited its healing properties. There is something special about the way music makes us feel. A live performance can be uplifting or heartbreaking depending on the artist/performer and how many depictions of sabbats feature dancing and songs?

I think it’s also worth mentioning the number of musicians who are alleged to have sold their souls to the devil, like Robert Johnson and Paganini, those who write music that is influenced by occult writings such as Black Widow, Sun-Ra or Led Zeppelin, and even those for who the actual process of making music is part of their magical working, Coil, Psychic TV.

FHR: You have organised several live Unearthing Forgotten Horror events and As one of the head honchos of Folk Horror Revival, you have been instrumental in coordinating live events for us too – if money were no option which musical artists or bands (active or departed / defunct) would you most like to have headlining a FHR event?

DC: Oh, now that’s a hard one as there are so many great artists I would love to work with; The Incredible String Band, Donovan, Black Widow, Coven, Coil, The Doors, The Butthole Surfers, but I think my top choice would be Comus. First Utterance is my go to album when it comes to Folk Horror sounds, it has the perfect mix of moods, it’s quite a beautiful sounding record, yet it is one of the most horribly sinister and downbeat albums I’ve ever heard. I would love to see how it comes across in a live setting.

On the other hand we have had the privilege of working with some amazing artists at our events and I still dream of the day we can finally put on a Ex-Reverie or Rusalnaia gig. I won’t list everyone we’ve worked with in the past as the list would be enormous, but a huge thank you to them all for their support, their time and their incredible talents.

FHR: What is the scariest or most disturbing music you’ve personally heard?

DC: Another difficult one, as I don’t think of any single album when you ask this question, as there are a number of records that would fit the bill for scariest or most disturbing. Suspiria by Goblin would be one contender, it’s a safe choice as it has been widely recognised as being an incredibly sinister sounding record, the film itself is particularly effective when seen on a big screen with the soundtrack booming out of a massive surround sound speaker system. It’s incredibly nuanced, but it’s not until you’ve heard it in that sort of environment that you notice many of those nuances.

Other than that, I would suggest Fabio Frizzi’s City of the Living Dead soundtrack, it has real menace to it and a very downbeat vibe. Guiliano Sorgini’s Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is another that works on an ultra-creepy level. These are all albums I would recommend for someone looking to delve into the creepy soundtrack scene. On top of this, I would suggest those mentioned earlier in this interview, as well as Keith Emerson’s Inferno, Mark Korven’s The VVitch and The Radiophonic Workshop’s Possum, to name but a few.

Outside of the movie soundtrack, I would suggest checking out some of the great electronic music around today, The Heartwood Institute, English Heretic, Drew Mulholland, Hawthonn, Pefkin, Grey Malkin, Ashtoreth, Burial Hex, Black Mountain Transmitter, Haxan Cloak, Pye Corner Audio, Nathalie Stern and the myriad of associated acts that are springing up all the time.

FHR: Thanks for talking to us. Happy 300th Episode and keep up the excellent work. We wish Unearthing Forgotten Horrors continued sonic success for many strange aeons to come.

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors airs live on Tuesday evenings at 7pm (UK time)
– HERE

An Archive of some of the previous episodes can be found HERE – Well worth checking out 🌞👍 …

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Final Winter Ghosts Announcement!

So as the Autumn takes full hold it is time for us to announce the final acts for this year’s Folk Horror Revival – Winter Ghosts event that takes place December 14th at the Metropole in Whitby.

Our final musical act are the rather wonderful Scottish prog rockers Big Hogg.

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Big Hogg are a 6 piece Canterbury influenced progressive group mixing threads of acid folk , Dr John , Kevin Ayers and 60s and 70s west coast psych.They released their eponymous debut album on Neon Tetra in 2015 and built up a glowing live reputation following shows at the Barrowlands , Rockaway Beach ,Wickerman and Eden festivals. In 2017 they signed with London label BEM who released their critically acclaimed “Gargoyles” album in May of that year. Record Collector magazine described it as ” An epic fantasia through Glasgow’s grimy underbelly with tumbling brass and suspended jazz chords” , while prog magazine describes them as ” masters of weaving an aural tapestry of influences together to create some suitably brilliant and uplifting music in the true spirit of the Canterbury pioneers” The band are currently recording their third album.

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Joining the lineup is our very own Darren Charles who will be bringing his Unearthing Forgotten Horrors radio show to the event. Featuring an eclectic mix of music, Darren’s aim will be to get everyone up and dancing to the very best in prog, folk, metal, goth, alternative, electronica and psychedelic music.

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Finally we will be screening three rather fabulous short films.

 

American Witch

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Welcome to a voyage from novice to initiate. The chthonic path is the common thread that weaves together the various underground religions in America from Wicca to Voodoo and Stregheria to Santeria, and everything in between. Along our pilgrimage, we will unfold the historical background in places where witchcraft came into its own distinctive form such as Salem, New Orleans, New York City, and Los Angeles. American Witch will also explore the stories of practitioners and how it’s changed their lives.

Scarlett Amaris has co-written scripts for the seminal horror anthology THE THEATRE
BIZARRE (2011), the award-winning, supernatural documentary THE OTHERWORLD
(L’AUTRE MONDE) (2013), featuring years of her research into the mysteries of the South of France, in which she appears as a resident expert, and the horror film REPLACE (2017). She’s co-written the dark fantasy trilogy SAURIMONDE I, II & III, and her first contemporary fiction novel DESIRED PYROTECHNICS will debut in 2019. A well-regarded authority on alternative history, her research has been featured in numerous books and anthologies. She also teaches comparative mythology and witchcraft at The Crooked Path Occult Apothecary in Los Angeles, and is a founding member of the Tridents of Hekate coven. Scarlett’s screenplay for H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space is currently receiving a great deal of praise across the festival circuit ahead of its release.

Melissa St. Hilaire wrote film and music reviews for The Heights Inc. Her poetry has appeared in the periodicals Shards, The Outer Fringe, and The Laughing Medusa. She co-authored several scripts for Tone-East Productions. She has written articles for Feminine Power Circle, Savvy Authors, SF Signal, and The Qwillery, among others. She has also appeared in the anthology books Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies and Folk Horror Revival: Corpse Roads. Her debut book was a memoir titled In The Now. She co-wrote the dark fantasy series, Saurimonde, with Scarlett Amaris, and is currently finishing a sci-fi novel called X’odus. She is also a founding member of the Tridents of Hekate coven.

Conjuration

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Gary Parsons is an MA film graduate from Goldsmiths College London who specialises in short films. Utilizing both, elements of the surrealist genre and images of the occult, these films are both beautiful and at times disturbing. They also tap into the verisimilitude of the erotic and the unconventional.

Gary has been influenced by film-makers such as Jan Svankmajer, Kenneth Anger, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Bunuel, Hans Richter, Man Ray and Jean Rollin. All these elements meet within a melting pot to find visual references within the work.

Gary’s films can be viewed in many different ways, as straight forward narrative pieces but also as ritual film as demonstrated by similar film-makers such as Maya Derren or even as music promo video. The films stand as an ongoing obsession of their maker as an overall understanding of the human psyche within certain specific landscapes.

Conjuration is Gary’s most recent film and is based around an Alexandrian ritual. It deals with modern day magick, but also correlates it with magick’s heritage through Gary’s impeccable choice of shooting locations. Several powerful ancient sites, notably Avebury, Glastonbury, Pompeii and Oslo were chosen for this purpose.

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Louhi, The Northern Witch

Directed by Lauri Löytökoski, Louhi, The Northern Witch is a silent film with an ambient-folk score, based on The Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, the story draws from its shamanistic aspects.

The lead character is Runoi; a nascent witch who confronts his mother’s night terrors and is quickly transported into the realm of Louhi, the witch-queen of the undead. He journeys to axis mundi, the mythical pillar connecting heaven, earth and the underworld.

Main characters of The Kalevala are introduced as vessels for him to pass through. In the lines of Carl G. Jung’s anima/animus theory, they represent subconscious element of one’s sexuality, the opposite of the dominant side.

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So, that pretty much completes this year’s action packed lineup. Tickets are currently available from the eventbrite page below. We hope to see you all there for what promises to be another spectacular weekend of music, film, talks and art.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-winter-ghosts-tickets-55468722442

Don’t forget as well as the main Saturday event there will be the Thresholds Art Show in conjunction with Decadent Drawing, the unofficial Friday ice-breaker featuring Storm Chorus at the Rifle Club, and the Ghost story readings at the Hetty and Betty Cafe in Baxtergate on Sunday 15th.

 

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https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-winter-ghosts-tickets-55468722442

Even More Photographs from the Whitby Krampus Run 2018.

We took so many photographs at the Whitby Krampus Run on Saturday that we have decided to post some of our favourites to the blog for you to enjoy. The first couple of posts feature Andy Paciorek’s shots from the day and this post features some of my own shots. Many thanks to Elaine and Louse of Decadent Drawing for putting the whole thing together. We had a blast and we hope to see many of you there next year.

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All photographs in this blogpost copyright 2018 by Darren Charles

Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults – First Announcement!

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Banner design copyright Andy Paciorek and Cobweb Mehers

 

Welcome to this, the first announcement of our exciting Witch-Cults event taking place July 14th in Newcastle upon Tyne, and we have a veritable smorgasbord of good stuff for your delectation.

Ok let’s begin with the first musical announcement for our evening entertainment. (Please note the film screening will also be part of the evening entertainment, this film programme will run twice during the day, once across the afternoon 12-5 and once in the evening 7-12)

 

Black Mountain Transmitter

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Black Mountain Transmitter is the one-man project of J.R. Moore from Northern Ireland. Since 2008 he has been creating instrumental soundscapes influenced by a diet of horror fiction and film, VHS era ‘Video Nasty’ soundtracks, The Radiophonic Workshop and the abject electronics of the early Industrial music pioneers. Known for albums such as “Black Goat of The Woods”, “Playing With Dead Things” and “Oscillator Ritual”, his work has been released by Auris Apothecary (USA), Aurora Borealis (UK) and his own Lysergic Earwax label at http://www.lysergicearwax.bandcamp.com

“Like an old horror film where the special effects are too cheap to give you a real shock, but the ideas are warped enough to make you stay awake afterwards for far longer than you wanted to” – Wire magazine

“The sounds created by Black Mountain Transmitter gives the impression of having been set in motion long ago by some remote force” – Julian Cope.

 

 

Moving onto our daytime programme, this section will be made up of talks, film screenings and one or two other exciting developments still to be announced. Anyway, without further ado here are the details of the first speakers to be announced and the first feature film in our screening programme.

Darren Charles

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Photograph courtesy Graeme K. Cunningham

Folk Horror Revivalist, Unearthing Forgotten Horrors DJ, and member of both The Equestrian Vortex and The Mortlake Bookclub. Darren Charles wears a number of different hats at various times but is very much embedded in the Folk Horror scene. Darren recently completed an MA in History at Newcastle University and will be using his expertise to discuss either Historical Accuracy/ Inaccuracy in relation to the Cinema of Witchcraft, or The Newcastle Witch trials.

He has previously spoken on the topic of Folk Horror at Cambridge University, The British Museum, Edinburgh Summerhall, The Hepworth, Wakefield, and most recently at The Scottish Pagan Federation Conference at the Pleasance in April. Darren is a longstanding member of the Folk Horror Revival admin group and is currently hard at work on several book projects.

 

 

Bob Beagrie

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Photograph Courtesy Kev Howard

Bob Beagrie, award winning poet and performer has published 7 collections of poetry most recently This Game of Strangers (Wyrd Harvest Press 2017) and Leasungspell (Smokestack Books 2016). His work has been translated into Finnish, Estonian, Danish, Urdu, Dutch and Swedish. He is a founder member of the experimental word and music collective Project Lono and a Senior Lecturer at Teesside University.

Bob will perform sections from the epic poem The Seer Sung Husband, a verse novel about Old Mother Shipton and ill fated rebellion against Henry VIII known as The Pilgrimage of Grace.

 

Simon, King of the Witches

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This gloriously campy over the top horror movie from 1971 directed by American racing driver turned director Bruce Kessler is the first title for our film programme. A psychedelic cult classic that so far remains unreleased on these shores in any format. It stars Andrew Prine as Simon Sinestrari, a ceremonial magician, who’s ambition it is, to become a god. Simon lives in a storm drain, selling charm and potions as a means of getting by. The film is a wild psychedelic freak out with drugs, parties, Satanic rituals and all kinds of lysergic madness and mayhem. Over the years Simon has become a beloved cult classic and Folk Horror Revival are excited to be bringing Simon to the big screen at the Star and Shadow, Newcastle.

Don’t forget this is only the first announcement so loads more fascinating content still to come, we’ve barely scratched the witch…err I mean surface. Anyway ticket links are now operational and the pricing structure is as follows:

Full day ticket (12noon -1am)      £25

Evening only tickets (7pm-1am)  £15

Both are available from the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-witch-cults-tickets-45698031041

 

 

ESP ~ FHR ~ UFH

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Tonight ESP are talking with Darren Charles of Folk Horror Revival and Unearthing Forgotten Horrors, about his history in folklore, Folk Horror’s rise from the grave, the events and where Folk Horror is going in the future.

Live-streamed to the ESP YouTube and Twitch channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5WVPm76CADJf_nyGbVWMgQ

https://www.twitch.tv/extrasensoryproduction

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E.S.P

https://www.espirit.tv/

Winter Ghosts: What is This What is Coming? 4

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On the weekend of 15th and 16th December 2017, a strange mist will fall upon the coastal town of Whitby. From the sea fret will come haunting sounds and tales and more besides. Here over the coming days we shall in turn usher in the ghosts of winter …

Appearing at the Whitby Met as part of the Winter Ghosts event, Folk Horror Revival
are pleased to present the sinister, seasonal sounds of Equestrian Vortex featuring  Melmoth the Wanderer
Born from their mutual love of classic 1970s and 80s horror cinema this duo construct soundtracks to horror movies that were never made. Hailing from the dankest, seediest corners of Newcastle Upon Tyne, the Equestrian Vortex are here to take us into the darkest recesses of the minds of H.P. Lovecraft, Dario Argento, Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Grant, Fabio Frizzi, John Carpenter, Lucio Fulci, Jess Franco, Jose Larraz, Jorge Grau and Jean Rollin. They are an occult celebration of the hidden practices of magick and the supernatural, using their love of vintage analogue synthesizers to inspire their paeans to the darker side of culture.
Darren Charles is curator of Unearthing Forgotten Horrors, a radio show with the intent of reviving interest in classic horror movie soundtracks, wyrd psychedelia, freaky folk, and anything that doesn’t fit into the mainstream musical landscape. He has been a member of the Folk Horror Revival admin team from the group’s humble beginnings and has recently completed an MA in History from Newcastle University with a focus on 17th century witchcraft trials in England and Scotland. Darren is currently working on several projects for Folk Horror Revival, and has spoken at Cambridge University, The British Museum, Summerhall, Edinburgh and The Hepworth, Wakefield on the subject of Folk Horror.
Antony Wealls has been producing music since his late teens under various guises and genres. He is currently involved in collaborative projects The Equestrian Vortex and The Mortlake Bookclub, he also produces solo material as Time Destroys All Things.

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Integrating with The Equestrian Vortex will be Melmoth the Wanderer evoking a spirit of Jamesian ghosts of Christmas

`Shadow master and guardian of the weird and wayward’…`remixer supremo and visionary seer of the sonic pastures that lurk beyond the imagination.’ Melmoth wanders the outer reaches of The Field Bazaar collecting sounds, snatches of spoken word and music that seems as old as the timeworn paths he treads. When the burden of these sounds becomes too much for our devout and religious miscreant he visits the bedlamites, the insomniacs and those truly alone offering his audio harvest as comfort from the silence.

The Melmoth the Wanderer mixes are the result of these nocturnal visits to their creator Jim Peters – a self-confessed Audio Relic Hunter locked into the sounds of the night, the light and the half-light.

mixcloud.com/Melmoth_The_Wanderer/

Melmoth is honored to be counted as one of The Mortlake Bookclub and has also mixed and remixed for The Hare and the Moon, The Soulless Party, Zeuk, Sproatly Smith and many other artists on the Reverb Worship label.

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www.facebook.com/themortlakebookclub/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/Melmoth-The-Wanderer-277345965761781/

Visuals for the performance will be provided by Adam Scovell, author, filmmaker and creator of the Celluloid Wickerman blog
Adam Scovell is a writer and filmmaker from The Wirral, currently based in London. He is studying for a PhD in film music and transcendental style at the University of Liverpool and Goldsmiths. He has produced film and art criticism for more than 20 digital and print publications including The Times and The Guardian, runs the Blog North Awards-nominated website Celluloid Wicker Man, and has had film work screened at FACT, The Everyman Playhouse, Hackney Picturehouse and Manchester Art Gallery. In 2015, he worked with Robert Macfarlane on an adaptation of his Sunday Times bestseller, Holloway. At present he is filming a number of projects on super-8 film including a collaboration with Iain Sinclair, and has published a book on folk horror for Auteur Publishing.

 Join us at Winter Ghosts

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Winter Ghosts: What is This What is Coming? 1

Winter Ghosts: What is this What is coming? 2

Winter Ghosts: What is This? What is Coming? 3

Pagan Dawn

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Pagan Dawn is a quarterly magazine featuring articles, reviews and research on Polytheism, Pantheism, cultural history and nature-based spirituality, published by the Pagan Federation in the United Kingdom.

In issue no 205, Samhain 2017 You will find an article about the Folk Horror Revival by Darren Charles & Andy Paciorek.
With imagery by Julia Jeffrey, Andy Paciorek & Graeme Cunningham.

Do Not Adjust Your Sets …

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Listen to an interview on BBC Radio Tees from earlier today with Folk Horror Revival’s very own Andy Paciorek and Darren Charles, in which they discuss folk horror, and the upcoming events in Edinburgh, Wakefield and Whitby Interview starts at around 2 hours 4 mins in.
(Available for 29 days from today)

Bob Fischer sits in (25/09/2017)

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Radio airwaves crackle with life …

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On Monday 25th September 2017, Darren Charles and Andy Paciorek of Folk Horror Revival will be getting interviewed on BBC Radio Tees.
Tune in to the Bob Fischer show between 2 and 3 pm (UK time) to hear wyrd myriad ramblings about things most strange and folk horrorish.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_tees

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_tees

FHR Edinburgh: The Final Reveal

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To complete the great line-up at The Unseelie Court event at Edinburgh Summerhall, Folk Horror Revival are very proud to present ~

Headling our night of music are PYE CORNER AUDIO.
Pye Corner Audio is a British electronic music project by Martin Jenkins. Originally self-released, Vols 1 – 2 and Vols 3 – 4 of the Black Mill Tapes were released by Type records as TYPE107 and TYPE118. Sleep Games was released on Ghost Box.

Submerged rhythms and ectoplasmic electronics haunt the disused dance halls and concrete derelicts of Belbury.
It’s possible to detect echoes of John Carpenter, Italo-horror soundtracks and a kind of post rave meltdown in Martin Jenkins’ submerged disco and spectral electronics.

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Completing our catalogue of talks at the day event is Murdo Eason of The Fife Psychogeographical Collective, who will be talking on Embedded in the Landscape: Psychogeography, Folk Horror and the Everyday.
https://fifepsychogeography.com/

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Intoducing the event are Folk Horror Revival’s own Darren Charles and Andy Paciorek who have previously brought their take on the folk horror phenomenon to the stages of Cambridge University and The British Museum

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Author extraodinaire Chris Lambert will be our MC for the day, and will be launching The Wyrd Calendar. Maybe there will be some tales of The Black Meadow.
http://blackmeadowtales.blogspot.co.uk/

folk horror revival @ British Museum

See Also –
FHR- Edinburgh Event – First Reveal
FHR- Edinburgh Event – Second Reveal

FHR Edinburgh Event – Third Reveal

FHR Edinburgh Event – Fourth Reveal

Tickets available now from here

 

BM photos by Graeme Cunningham