Soirée – A Short film by Charles Doran

The following review is for Charles Doran’s fascinating new short film Soirée.

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Soirée tells the story of Bill, a young academic who we learn lives in the beautiful house at the top of the hill with the Bougainvillea – a thorny ornamental plant that grows in his garden. Bill is incredibly proud of his garden and loves nothing more than spending time sitting outside and enjoying the peace and tranquillity it provides. When we are first introduced to him this is where he is. His girlfriend Soledad (Surely a reference to Jess Franco muse Soledad Miranda) joins him, she hands him a gift to celebrate their one month anniversary. Bill looks unimpressed by the cufflinks and admits that he has not bought a gift for Soledad. Bill comes across as being very self-centred, claiming that his very presence is present enough for Soledad, who then mentions that they have been invited to a party by a Professor friend of hers that evening. Bill doesn’t seem too keen to attend but he begrudgingly accepts the invitation to the party.

The soirée, which is being held at the Institute for the Scientific Study of Human and Non-Human Phenomena is hosted by a gentleman named Wilhelm, played by Doran’s brother and co-writer Timothy. As he and Bill become acquainted over a few drinks, we are treated first hand, to what a scene stealer Doran is. His role as the Aleister Crowley type occult leader figure of Wilhelm is a perfect bit of casting, he exudes a genial menace of the sort made famous by Charles Grey’s Mocata in The Devil Rides Out or Niall MacGinnis as Julian Karswell in Night of the Demon. He is also attired most appropriately in a 1930s style suit, and even his home décor seems appropriate for an occult leader. As the two drink and become further acquainted we begin to see just how thoroughly unpleasant Bill really is. He tells Wilhelm and Soledad of the despicable way in which he was able to cheat the former owner of the house out of her home, and when they are joined by Wilhelm’s friend Jason, he is dismissive and rude about the occult figurine that Jason has brought to the party for the ritual that is due to take place. A very drunk Bill then agrees to be silent during the upcoming ritual in order that he may stay and watch.

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Timothy Doran as Wilhelm

Warning! The following two paragraphs may contain some slight spoilers. The camerawork and direction are spot on, particularly during the ritual scenes, which are just oddball enough to be truly menacing. The use of drums and a ritual dance performed seductively by a female cast member help to create a suitable atmosphere, whilst the use of animal masks draw influence from Robin Hardy’s classic The Wicker Man. Wilhelm’s mask,  on the other hand, harks back to something very Lovecraftian in nature, but even more terrifying.

As an interesting side note I would like to draw attention to the film’s use of the ancient Roman religion of Mithraism, which was practiced throughout the Roman Empire in the early centuries of the common era. This is particularly of interest to me as I live in the North East of England, near to the site of the Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh, on Hadrian’s Wall, which was built around 200 CE. Legend would have us believe that the God Mithras captured and killed the primeval bull in a cave. This apparently led to Mithraic temples being small, gloomy places as they try to replicate the atmosphere of the cave.

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Overall, this is a beautifully made short film with a straight forward but well executed plot. The production values are great, and the main cast are all excellent, Matthew Nelson as Bill, Catie Smith as Soledad, Timothy Doran as Wilhelm, and Patrick Peterson as Jason. All ably buoyed by a fine supporting cast. In fact, the whole film looks and feels a lot more expensive than it is, which is real credit to the director who has created something that looks good on a budget. All credit to him for his hard work because it really does pay off here. I look forward to seeing where Charles and his brother go from here…

 

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Charles Doran is an Administrative Professional for a major university in Southern California. His previous short films, Westsider, and Ennui, played at film festivals all over the world. Soirée is his first attempt at an “urban wyrd “ type of film. Soirée was co-written by his brother Timothy, an Assistant Professor of History  at Cal State Los Angeles, who runs the very real Institute for the Study of Human and Non-Human Phenomena, the primary setting for the film.

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Cinder Well – The Unconscious Echo album review

Our very own Lutenist extraordinaire Peter Lagan reviewed the most recent album by haunted folk combo The Cinder Well for us. We hope you find his musings most enlightening.

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“From the outset I have to invoke Shakespeare and others to say “All comparisons are odorous” I say this because it’s common for reviewers to give the reader some sort of peg to hang music on. All I will say is this music has a strong flavour of the 1970s folk revival which took place in England. With a gentle nod to the Strawbs. The music is beautifully crafted with some tracks having the mournful air of broadside ballads accompanied by the sounds of haunting fiddle and viola with the lilting voice of Amelia Baker, carrying each song effortlessly.

Granted this album was recorded and performed in America by American artists . Yet for me the music has many echo’s of English and Scottish traditional songs .And as such should be required listening for those who like their Folk music with a dark and melancholy taste.

The band recently undertook what seems to have been quite a long tour which took in England, Scotland and Ireland.”

 

For those not in the know, Cinder Well are made up of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Amelia Baker (Gembrokers and Blackbird Raum) on vocals and guitar, Marit Schmidt (Vradiazei, Disemballerina, and Sangre De Muerdago) on viola, Mae Kessler (Ekstasis) on violin, Magnus Nymo (Regn, Blackbird Raum) on drums and vocals, Peter Olynciw (Blato Zlato, Blackbird Raum) on upright bass, with special guest CPN on old-time fiddle.

My own opinion is that the album is a beautifully dark collision of traditional European and American folk music, with a post rock twist. Amelia Baker’s voice is both sombre and exquisite, and the whole album is a melancholy masterpiece of some astonishing quality. Don’t take mine and Peter’s word for it, give it a listen at the bandcamp page below and if you’re impressed please consider investing in a copy.

 

Bandcamp: http://www.cinderwell.bandcamp.com

Recording our own ghosts; a review of ‘A Year In The Country – Wandering Through Spectral Fields, Journeys in Otherly Pastoralism, the Further Reaches of Folk and the Parallel Worlds of Hauntology’

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For nearly five years the A Year In The Country project has been diligently producing field reports from the more haunted and folk horror inclined borderlands and wyrder areas of popular culture. Transmitting via their regularly updated webpage and issuing audio relics in the medium of themed compilation CD/ downloads featuring such artists as The Rowan Amber Mill, Sproatly Smith and United Bible Studies, A Year In The Country (AYITC) has amassed a valuable archive of all that is uncanny, unusual or unsettling in modern culture, whether it is film, TV, literature or music. Be it Bagpuss or Beyond The Black Rainbow, Shirley Collins or Sapphire And Steel, AYITC has documented these idiosyncratic yet highly significant moments in modern media.

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These writings (or transmissions) are reproduced, revised and expanded upon here, in the first AYITC publication ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ (for the musical side of the project please do visit AYITC’s splendid Bandcamp page). Divided into 52 distinct chapters (one for each week of the year), the book is described as;

an exploration of the undercurrents and flipside of bucolic dreams and where they meet and intertwine with the parallel worlds of hauntology; it connects layered and, at times, semi-hidden cultural pathways and signposts, journeying from acid folk to edgelands via electronic music innovators, folkloric film and photography, dreams of lost futures and misremembered televisual tales and transmissions’.

Indeed, AYITC embrace a wide range of avenues to bring together not only a sense of how far reaching and varied the origins, mainstays and current players of genres such as folk horror or hauntology can be, but crucially also how they intertwine and cross pollinate. There are chapters therefore on 70’s acid folk and its impact and influence on today’s folk artists, on ‘Folk Horror Roots’ (including an entire chapter on ‘cultural behemoth’ The Wicker Man) but also on ‘Folk Horror Descendants’ such as Kill List, on apocalyptic popular culture through the decades (taking in the horrific The War Game as well as Frankie Goes To Hollywood) and on dystopian literature and cinema such as No Blade Of Grass, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Day Of The Triffids. Television series that have become a part of the folk horror conversation also feature prominently, such as The Owl Service, The Changes, Penda’s Fen and the influential Robin Redbreast (arguably a forerunner for The Wicker Man). Each chapter expertly charts its chosen subject’s impact upon the public consciousness as well as indicating that these artefacts are now part of a greater cultural cobweb that may well have threads and components that are radically different in genre or style but that equally have a strong commonality in their sense of unease and their haunted content; of similar ghosts in the machine (or spooks in the television and bookshelves). Further investigations delve into folklore, TV public information films and the landscape itself as a medium through which a certain mood, an uncanny, can be evoked.

Speaking to author Stephen Prince, we discussed this sense of cross pollination, over genres overlapping and finding common themes and ground;

SP: I think, to a certain degree, the way in which it isn’t easily definable how the different and loosely gathered areas of culture that are discussed in ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ appear to connect, influence one another, have become part of a lineage etc is an aspect of what is appealing about them and that gathering; it is part of what creates a certain mystique around it. Possibly in an age where every area of culture, no matter how niche, can be investigated and explained by for example a brief online search, it is the sense of a hidden history and stories, of an at least partly unexplained aspect to such work that is one of the things which may draw people to it. Along which lines, some of the older culture, although at times inherently containing a left-of-centredness, was initially produced and intended as quite mainstream entertainment. However, over time it has gained an otherlyness and also become points of interconnected reference and inspiration for future hauntological/ otherly pastoral work or again a loose “tradition” or set of themes:

 

“…they have come to be touchstones or lodestones that seem to invoke a hidden, layered history of the land but which also encompass and intertwine with a wider, hauntological, parallel, alternative version of Britain…” (Wandering Through Spectral Fields, P. 38)

 

In Chapter 4 of the Wandering Through Spectral Fields book (Cuckoos in the Same Nest: Hauntological and Otherly Folk Confluences and Intertwinings) I discuss some possible shared ground for such work, including a yearning for lost utopias; whether Arcadian dreams within more folk/pastoral orientated work or the lost progressive futures of hauntology. Connected to which you may know of this article but in Robert Macfarlane’s “The Eeriness of the English Countryside”, that he wrote for The Guardian in 2015, he suggests a possible more overtly politically orientated or at least rooted explanation for this curious confluence of culture:

 

“What is under way, across a broad spectrum of culture, is an attempt to account for the turbulence of England in the era of late capitalism. The supernatural and paranormal have always been means of figuring powers that cannot otherwise find visible expression. Contemporary anxieties and dissents are here being reassembled and re-presented as spectres, shadows or monsters: our noun monster, indeed, shares an etymology with our verb to demonstrate, meaning to show or reveal (with a largely lost sense of omen or portent).” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/10/eeriness-english-countryside-robert-macfarlane

 

There’s not really an overarching and definitive name for this “broad spectrum” of work but in that article he describes such “eerie counter-culture” as being an occulture; which seems appropriate and connects to the earlier mentioned sense of the hidden within such possibly disparate seeming work as some of the roots of the word occult are from the older French word occulte meaning “secret, not divulged” and the Latin occultus which means “hidden, concealed, secret”. I’m wary of seeming overly serious (!) about such things; to a certain degree you could see such cultural exploring as in part a form of grown-up make-believe and world creation, a form of escapist fun. At the same time and connected to the above comments by Robert Macfarlane, that escapist aspect may also at times have roots in more serious areas in that such intertwined work and the worlds it creates could be seen to also create a bulwark from what some may see as the more potentially overwhelming, rapacious or secularly monotheistic aspects of modern life, culture and dominant belief systems.

 

Philosopher Jacque Derrida, who again as you may know introduced the idea of hauntology, suggested that in a certain stage of society (what has been described, possibly erroneously/precipitously, as “the end of history”) the present will start to orient itself towards ideas and aesthetics that can be thought of as rustic, bizarre or “old-timey” or towards the “ghost” of the past. Much of the culture that I discuss in ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ whether older or more contemporary, folkloric and/or hauntological, could be seen as having an “old-timey” or nostalgic aspect. At the same time often rather than purely providing the potentially more comforting, familiar and recreation of the past aspects of nostalgia, it also has reimagined, unsettled or eerie aspects:

 

“A re-imagining and misremembering (that creates) forms of music and culture that seem familiar, comforting and also often unsettling and not a little eerie, creating a sense of work that is haunted by spectres of its and our cultural past…” (P. 27-28; from a section in ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ that brings together some of the recurring themes of hauntology and which could also be applied to work which explores the flipside/undercurrents of folkloric culture).

 

The flipside of folk/pastoral culture and hauntology seem to interconnect to create those familiar but also reimagined, unsettling, eerie and spectral aspects; creating a cultural harvest that on paper and technically you would not expect to, as you also say, cross pollinate but which has proved curiously and intriguingly fertile and hardy.

 

FHR: Can you say more about your motivation for producing ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ and the possibility that this may just be a first volume of many?

 

SP: In terms of why I produced ‘Wandering Through Spectral Field’s as a book separate from the AYITC website; at heart and in part it’s not all that much more complicated than it was a book that I wanted to read, that I found myself looking for over the years. Previous to and since its publication/I finished writing it there have been a number of books released which have explored some similar areas but they have generally more tended to focus on one particular area of related culture; semi-consciously I wanted to bring all these different aspects together as, well, they seem to fit, interconnect and influence one another. Online and print orientated publishing both have their pros and cons, their strengths and weaknesses and I’m not didactically more inclined towards one or the other but the more possibly curated, edited etc aspect of a book can bring a particular theme or set of themes into focus – or again as you say, on reading a collection of writing in book form it is hopefully possible to “see how they become part of a larger cultural tradition”. In terms of ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ possibly becoming part of a series of books; we shall see (!).

 

The AYITC webpage continues to be updated with new thoughts and recollections, new features and films, books, television and music that seem to exist either in a more liminal space outside of the mainstream or that instead occupies the mainstream in a more liminal and unusual manner. Seek it out if you are not already a regular visitor. And for those who favour a little Quatermass with their Wicker Man, a touch of Belbury Poly with their Incredible String Band or a taste of Children of the Stones with an offering of Chocky, this volume is highly recommended.

 

With thanks to Stephen Prince for his time and answers. ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ is available from ayearinthecountry.co.uk as well as Amazon.

 

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Radio Show 25/06/2018

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This week’s Unearthing Forgotten Horrors show features a smorgasbord of amazing music including new tracks from two Folk Horror Revival favourites Goat and Sharron Kraus, as well as a sseasonal classic from Grand Magus as well as great tracks from Umberto, Black Mountain Transmitter, Trappist Afterland and Hawkwind. Our  soundtrack of the week is Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso, and comes courtesy of both Goblin and Giorgio Gaslini, Join me on a1radio.co.uk, Monday from 7pm UK time.

https://www.a1radio.co.uk

Black Mountain Transmitter will be appearing at the Folk Horror Revival Witch Cults event at the Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle on July 14th.

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

Our Final Witch Cults Announcement!

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After several weeks of build up we have arrived at our completed lineup and damn good it looks if you ask me. Joining those already announced we have even more amazing musical performances, and some of the finest independent short films you could shake a very big stick at. Anyway without further ado, here they are.

Nathalie Stern

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Nathalie Stern is a Swedish singer-songwriter based in the north-east of England. She draws inspiration for her music from her surroundings, the north-east’s rich cultural history and it’s breathtaking landscape are both influential in the creation of her own unique brand of  what she calls “experimental, electro, glitch folk”.

For Witch Cults Nathalie will be performing a very special set based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, one of the true greats of American wyrd fiction. We are overjoyed that Nathalie is able to join us for Witch Cults. I can guarantee you will be mesmerised and captivated by her dark electronic drones and vocal loops.

Here is a little taster of Nathalie’s work.

https://nathaliesternmusic.bandcamp.com/track/7-flowers

 

Georgia Seddon

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Georgia Seddon is a classically trained musician, who performs her own songs as a solo artist. She trained at the City of Edinburgh Music School and Newcastle University, and now lives in Glasgow where she works as a musician and music transcriber. She is a member of the Mike Heron (Incredible String Band founder) Band, and more recently Alex Rex (Alex Neilson, Trembling Bells founder); and among others, she has performed with Alessi’s Ark, Green Gartside, the Trembling Bells, Robyn Hitchcock, The Album Leaf, and Scott Fagan. Georgia and her father (Mike Heron) have taken part in two high profile Incredible String Band tribute shows (Barbican Centre, London, 2009; and the Edinburgh Playhouse, 2017), and in 2008, they performed at the Hollywood Bowl with The Album Leaf, and alongside Devendra Banhart and Gilberto Gil. In recent years, Georgia has toured the UK and Europe with Mike Heron and the Trembling Bells, Scott Fagan, and Ed Askew.

Georgia’s EP – available via Bandcamp – was recorded by Green Gartside (Scritti Politti) in his home studio in London.

https://georgiaseddon.bandcamp.com/album/georgia-seddon-2

 

Marcus H

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Bristol born Marcus H is an experimental musician from the North East Coast of England near to Saltburn.

His studio project ‘Soiled’ commenced in 2002. Combining elements of beats, noise, guitar phrases and drones. The Quietus described it as ‘a rather unique, loose, expressionistic collage style yet manages to keenly infer a peculiarly English style of strange fiction’.

His music has featured on / in BBC 3 Late Junction, BBC 6 Freakzone, WFMU New Jersey & KALX Berkeley, Mojo Magazine, Electronic Sound Magazine & Wire Magazine.

We are very proud to  have Marcus making a very rare solo appearance for us at Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults.

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Short Films

We also have four wonderful short films that have been handpicked by us for the purpose of screening at this event. As well as screening classics like Simon, King of the Witches and the Italian print of Witchcraft ’70 we want to celebrate the emerging talent that is regularly brought to our attention within the Folk Horror Revival cabal. These four films represent some of the very best talent around at the moment.

Bella in the Wych Elm

Director Tom Lee Rutter, was born and raised in the black country, and now lives in nearby Worcestershire where he crafts films of a horror fantastical and sometimes bizarre nature. Tom has a decidedly DIY approach to film making and aims to create fantastical worlds that belie their tiny budgets.

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Bella in the Wych Elm is a film made to celebrate a most fascinating local murder mystery via the spooky films and TV shows of yesteryear. It is also a salute to the elder Black Country generations of whose superstitious natures turned him onto a love for the unknown to begin with.

In 1943 a group of boys wandering the woodland of Hagley Hall discovered the remains of an unknown woman stuffed inside a hollowed Wych Elm tree. To this day her identity is still unknown. In 1944 however, mysterious graffiti began to adorn the walls of the neighboring towns; WHO PUT BELLA IN THE WYCH ELM. Somebody knew but who? This curious folk phantasmagoria feverishly displays the known possibilities which take us from the mystical realms of witchcraft, restless ghosts to sinister WW2 espionage. Bella In The Wych Elm will intrigue, and frighten in all it’s quaint yet claustrophobic glory.

If you’d like a taste of what to expect you can view the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/210934584

Thelema and Conjuration

Two films from Folk Horror Revival’s very own Gary Parsons.

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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.

The 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.

Thelema is a short film that was based upon several of Aleister Crowley’s writings and how other writers including Kenneth Grant interpreted them. The film has an almost documentary feel to it, in fact a certain amount of the footage was shot at the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily, Crowley’s home, temple and spiritual centre during the early 1920s.

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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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American Witch (documentary)

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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.

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.

 

Andy Paciorek

Our compére for the day is Folk Horror Revival creator and all round Folk Horror expert Andy Paciorek. Andy, as well as creating Folk Horror Revival, runs the publishing arm of FHR, Wyrd Harvest Press, which donates all profits from sales to The Wildlife Trusts. Andy is also a writer in his own right, having written books on the Celtic Otherworld (Strange Lands) and the Slavic Otherworld (Black Earth). His main role is as an in demand illustrator and he has worked on a variety of projects with the likes of Chris Lambert, and Dr Bob Curran. He is currently working on a book project with Darren Charles and Gary Parsons. As well as compéring the event Andy will be giving readings from Wyrd Harvest Press’s latest title The Wytch Hunter’s Manual written by Dr Bob Curran and illustrated by Andy himself.

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So there we have it, our lineup is complete. There is a suggestion that we may have one or two very special guests on the day, but you’ll just have to wait and see if they come off.

 

The full lineup is as follows:

Compére

Andy Paciorek

Speakers

Diane Purkiss, Gail-Nina Anderson, Darren Charles, Bob Beagrie, and The Witch play written by Tracey Norman and performed by Circle of Spear Productions

Music

Black Mountain Transmitter, Georgia Seddon, Nathalie Stern, Heartwood Institute, Peg Powler, Hokano & Marcus H

Films

Simon, King of the Witches, Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri (Witchcraft 70), Thelema, Conjuration, Bella in the Wych Elm & American Witch

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Tickets are available from the eventbrite link below. There is a two tier price structure, the first option is an all day ticket covering the full event from 12 noon until 1am priced at £27.54. The second option is a partial ticket, just covering the evening event from 7pm to 1am and costing £16.76. We will get a timetable of events up as soon as possible.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Witch Cults T-Shirt Now Available to Preorder.

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The news that our rather wonderful new Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults shirt is now available to order has been received with great delight here at FHR towers. The admins are frothing at the mouth over the beautiful new design created especially for the event by Andy Paciorek and Cobweb Mehers, in conjunction with Jonas at Tyrant Designs who has done a remarkable job with the manufacturing of these individual pieces.

If you are planning to join us on July 14th and would like to preorder your shirt, either contact Kt Mehers via PM on Facebook, or email us at folkhorrorrevival@gmail.com, please include a contact email address, a delivery address and your chosen size.

The shirts are available in size S, M, L, XL and XXL and are priced at £15. These can be collected at the event. Those who can’t make it can still order a shirt, postage and packaging is priced at £6, and please state in the message that you require the shirt to be posted out to you.

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Another announcement is due in the next few days so keep your eyes open, however if you want to get in early tickets are currently available from the eventbrite link below, priced at £27.54 for the full day event and £16.76 for just the evening.

Hope to see some of you there.

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

Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults Announcement.

After much anticipation we have arrived at our fouth announcement. We have two very exciting additions to our lineup for Witch Cults that will thrill and excite you all.

 

First up, I’m sure you will join us in providing a warm welcome to the lineup for one of the world’s most celebrated experts on witchcraft. A woman whose book The Witch in History is among the seminal works relating to the issue of gender in witchcraft.

Diane Purkiss

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Diane Purkiss is Professor of English literature at Oxford University and fellow of Keble College, and you can’t get much more Gothic than that. She has published widely on witchcraft, fairies, ghosts and other otherness. She also wrote a trilogy of fantasy novels with her son Michael Dowling which focus on Greek monsters and retell Greek mythology from the monsters’ point of view. The title of her talk for Witch Cults is Who’s scary now? Scottish witches in the realms of the dead.

 

Our second announcement for today is something a little different for the lineup. At our Winter Ghosts event in Whitby last December we brought the dramatic arts into a Folk Horror Revival event for the first time, this time we are taking things one step further.

 

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Witch…is she or isn’t she?

written by Tracey Norman

performed by Circle of Spears Productions

 

Is she….or isn’t she?

 

Set loosely in the late 1500s, WITCH follows the story of Margery Scrope, a destitute widow who has been arrested on suspicion of witchcraft, following an accusation from her neighbour Thomas Latimer. He believes that she has cursed his family, causing his daughter’s death and his son’s illness. Local landowner/magistrate Sir William Tyrell, intrigued, summons them both to examine the evidence in the case so he can decide how it should proceed. Is Margery really a witch, or is this nothing more than a neighbourly squabble?

Circle of Spears presents an original piece of theatre based entirely on the experiences of real people drawn from the historical record. It takes particular inspiration from surviving documents in the 1687 witchcraft trial of Lyme Regis housewife Deanes Grimmerton. The show was written in 2016 and has since been performed almost 60 times in a variety of venues across the country.  It gives a voice to the thousands of people who endured the same terrifying situation as Deanes, examining various themes and issues which arise from the characters’ discussion. As the action unfolds, secrets are revealed – but who has the most to hide?

The show was written as a discussion piece, so as you watch, consider… is Margery guilty, or is she simply the keeper of uncomfortable truths?

 

They join those already confirmed for what promises to be a packed day of talks, film, music and drama with a witchy theme. As if that weren’t enough we still have several announcements coming your way, so keep your eyes peeled for more great talks, music, short films and more.

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Tickets priced at £25 for the full day and £15 for the evening only are available from the eventbrite link below.

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

 

Folk Horror Revival – Witch Cults – Third Announcement.

Ok so this is our third announcement for Folk Horror Revival’s Witch Cults event on 14 July at The Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle, and as you can probably see the lineup is starting to take shape. Only two things to announce today, but we still have a number of amazingly cool things to bring you before the lineup is complete. Anyway back to today and firstly we have another addition to our musical lineup.

PEG POWLER

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Peg Powler are a four piece acoustic band from the Teesside and North Yorkshire areas performing original material, traditional folk songs and blues & jazz standards. Their original material embraces literary motifs, contemporary life and traditional, mythical and historical influences.  They play regularly at folk, poetry and literary festivals, folk and acoustic events and are the house band at Folklines, Middlesbrough’s contemporary evening of music and spoken word.

They take their name from the mythical hag of the River Tees, a grindylow who is said to grab children and wayward young men who stray too close to the bubbling river’s edge and devour them in her watery den, known as Hell’s Kettles.

Peg Powler’s debut album, Northern Lines is available on iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.

Band members:

Ian Bartholomew: Guitar/Vocals/Songwriting;

Sara Dennis: Vocals/Ukulele/Harmonium/Percussion/Songwriting;

Mags Forward: Fiddle/Backing Vocals;

Graham Brotton: Double Bass/Guitar/Backing Vocals.

http://www.pegpowlerband.co.uk

@pegpowlerband

#pegpowler

 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING…

‘The best new folk band in the North.’

Andy Willoughby, Poet, Literary Director and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing.

 

‘Beautifully dark and twisted folk music with a macabre streak a mile wide.’

Bob Fischer, BBC Tees

 

Peg Powler are a North East band standing firmly in the present but with roots running deep into the past. Drawing upon wealth of folklore, myth and history their powerful original songs bring us face to face with a host of wyrd characters, dangerous situations and dark dramas that remind us of our own challenges and of how our own choices will shape our futures. This is beautiful, breath-taking and intelligent music.

Bob Beagrie, Poet, Literary Director and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing.

 

‘It’s common nowadays when trying to describe musicians to say they are a little bit of this or that, well if it helps, Peg Powler are like early Fairport mixed with the Strawbs, and dash of Pentangle. But more than all of this, their music sounds like home to me. Sara Dennis’s lilting voice with an edge of jazz to it would be equally at home in a Greenwich Village jazz cellar, but the music is rooted on the banks of the Tees, singing about the water witch, the eponymous Peg Powler or the all-American Emily Dickinson. It’s all here.’

Peter Lagan, Lutenist

 

 

Also joining our carefully curated programme of films we have a classic witchcraft documentary from the golden age of witchcraft films, 1970s.

 

 

Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri (Witchcraft 70)

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We are proud to present a very rare screening of the European version of Luigi Scattini’s ‘Witchcraft 70’ documentary. This is a very different print than the American version of the film, it starts with grave desecrations in Highgate Cemetery London that is not in the US print. Featuring a wonderful score by Piero Umiliani, that really helps give the documentary the feel of classic Italian horror movies at the time. The film is very much a product of its era and the voice over sometimes contains some ‘groovy’ dialogue.

This version features extended footage of British witches Alex and Maxine Sanders preparing a ritual. The film also covers a black mass and Anton La Vey and the Church of Satan as well as voodoo rituals. The documentary does not differentiate between Satanism, black magic and witchcraft and puts them in a melting pot together to make a heady psychedelic brew. Copies of this movie are very hard to come by as it’s never been officially released on DVD and the last screenings of it in the UK took place in the 70’s, today we present the best sourced version that we can find. Witchcraft 70 is certainly a product of its era, the film does contain nudity and animal sacrifice that may upset some viewers. This is the extended 90 minute version, we show it here as a time capsule of when witchcraft was at its public height within the media consciousness.

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They join those already announced on the lineup that promises to be one of the truly outstanding witchcraft related events of the year. So far we have:

Speakers – Darren Charles, Gail-Nina Anderson, and Bob Beagrie

Films – Simon King of the Witches, and Angeli Bianchi…. Angeli Neri

Musical performances – Peg Powler, Hokano, Heartwood Institute, and Black Mountain Transmitter.

Still come we have more wonderful speakers, more amazing musical acts, a selection of specially chosen short films, and even more exciting things taking place which I can’t reveal to you just yet.

Tickets for either the full day or just the evening event are available from the eventbrite link below:

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

 

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Our second Witch Cults Announcement is Here.

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The second announcement for our Witch Cults event which takes place at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne, on July 14th is finally upon us and what a wonderful selection of speakers and musicians we have for your delectation.

Joining our musical programme we have the world’s finest “purveyors of sonic archaeology” The Heartwood Institute

The Heartwood Institute

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Their latest album Secret Rites has been described as “an unholy collision of Throbbing Gristle style proto industrial, kosmiche krautrock and 70’s folk horror soundtracks.” The album’s overriding  focus lies heavily on the witchcraft documentaries of the 1970s, Secret Rites, The Power of the Witch, Witchcraft ’70, and The Legend of the Witches, and in particular the prominent stars of the period Alex and Maxine Sanders, the self appointed King and Queen of the Witches. The album is in their own words ” A hauntological delve into a time when the Occult was making inroads into mainstream media, truly the Age of Aquarius…”

For their performance at Witch Cults you can expect a setlist largely fashioned from the material on this album. We here at Folk Horror Revival are very much looking forward to checking them out on the evening.

Hokano

Hokano

Hokano is the solo project of Andy Hokano, mainly known for his work with the coldwave/neofolk outfit The Psychogeographical Commission and Newcastle based occult drone trio Chonyid. Andy will be performing a set based upon his forthcoming release “Witch Pricker” which is based loosely upon the 1650 Newcastle witch trials.

Gail-Nina Anderson

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Gail-Nina Anderson is a cultural historian, lecturer and journalist based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with a specialism in the visual traditions of the Gothic.

She has contributed to the Fortean Times and the Journal of the Folklore Society, as well writing on Victorian art, William Burroughs, fairy traditions, and the Angel of the North. She reviews regularly for The Crack, is an active member of the Dracula Society and is one of the founders/readers for the Lit & Phil’s bi-annual “Phantoms at the Phil” ghost story event. Her third exhibition of weird and wonderful postcards will take place this summer in Newcastle.

We can’t wait to hear Gail-Nina’s talk “Hecate or the Horned Man – was there a God of the Witches?”. How about you guys?

Ok, that’s enough for today’s announcement. So far we have talks from Gail-Nina Anderson, and Darren Charles, Bob Beagrie’s poetry recitals, music from Black Mountain Transmitter, Hokano and The Heartwood Institute, and our first film Simon King of the Witches.  We still have quite a bit to come so please stick with us and hopefully we shall have our next announcement up in a few days time.

Tickets are available now from the eventbrite link below, priced at £25 for the full day event and £15 for the evening event alone.

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

 

Sarah Dean – The Pilgrim Interview

Welcome to this the third in our series of interviews conducted by our very own man about town, John Pilgrim.  Harpist Sarah Dean is someone I was only vaguely aware of until recently, So for me this interview is going to prove very interesting from a personal perspective. Anyway I will shut up and leave the rest to John and Sarah.

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John Pilgrim: What first attracted you to the harp?

 

Sarah Dean: My awareness of all things harp began with listening to The Celtic Renaissance album by Alan Stivell and then hearing Jon Anderson playing it. I’m drawn to things that create atmospheres and that’s what I love about the harp.

 

John Pilgrim: How has your understanding of the Celtic harp and its associated traditions developed over the years?

 

Sarah Dean: Bizarrely enough a guest spot with my local Women’s Institute on ‘Being a Harper’ sparked off lots of research and I put all this on my webpage entitled ‘All Things Harp’. I found out lots of things about the harp that I didn’t know, the origins of it, how physically it’s developed over the centuries and all the mystique surrounding it…fascinating stuff, thank you Ladies of the WI!

 

John Pilgrim: You seem to have strong affinity for the music of the 1970s. This is the classic era for Folk Horror film, television and literature.  What bands do you particularly like from around this time? And would you agree that the 70s are returning in some ways?

 

Sarah Dean: I’m stuck in the 70’s to be honest! As to returning, I don’t think it’s ever really gone away…music comes and goes and people are influenced by all sorts of things and all the things you grow up with and listen to. It all fashions the music we make, either consciously or subconsciously.  I was very lucky to have an older brother and sister who let me rifle their record collections when they went out, so Pink Floyd, Yes, Wishbone Ash, Gryphon, Led Zeppelin and actually too many to name are all their whirling round from a very early age…as well as The Osmonds and Suzie Quatro, what a mix. Then of course Punk happened.

 

John PIlgrim: The countryside is clearly important to you. What role does it play in relation to your music, songwriting and general outlook on life?

 

Sarah Dean: I moved out of York in 1997 and actually just needed the fields and trees around me all the time…birdsong especially.  I’m drawn to nature and the constant changing of the seasons is always a fascination to me.  Being outdoors for me frees the mind and nurtures the soul and I think I have written about this quite a lot.  We write about things we know generally, don’t we? So writing a song about cloud watching or running down a hill with my dog seems a good a topic as any!

 

John Pilgrim: Are you interested in the new nature writing – if so, which writers particularly appeal to you?

 

Sarah Dean: I am an avid reader of all things nature wise: Roger Deakin, John Lewis-Stempel, J.A Baker, Thomas Pakenham, Robert MacFarlane. I hoover up books like these – glorious writing!  Nan Shepherd, Christopher Somerville.  I’ve just finished Peter Wohllebens’ The Hidden Life of Trees. Books that you can come back to and dip in again. It’s great that there’s so many new writers too, if we can get people reading and appreciating the countryside and nature then hopefully we can look after it better!

 

John Pilgrim: I understand that your creative talents have extended to other outlets such as music for meditation, poetry and animated vikings. Can you tell us more?

 

Sarah Dean: I’ve recorded a lot of music for meditation and actually the harp is just fabulous for this.  Again, creating atmospheres and soundscapes that can take you to other places.  We live in a world of constant mind traffic and the need for mindfulness and meditation is key to mental health.  I’ve been asked to do various projects to put poetry to music, our dear friend Don Walls was someone who I collaborated with doing joint concerts, song and poem swapping.

 

John Pilgrim: Your performances often include a little bit of humour and you clearly enjoy the engagement you have with audiences…

 

Sarah Dean: I must admit that given the chance I’d probably like to do a bit of stand up comedy. It’s true I do love to have a bit of banter with the audience, I’m very much of the opinion that this time with the audience is a one-off event and it’s about communication, not just through song but the whole rapport that you can build up.  It’s probably a reaction against seeing Van Morrison in concert and I seriously don’t think he said a single word to the audience.

 

Performing and sharing the music and songs with an audience and having an interaction is really important to me, but it depends where you are, so each concert is different in that respect.  Working in bands is always fun, because you never know what could or might happen.  In the last couple of years I’ve been on the road with The Heather Findlay Band and whenever she’s trying to tune the guitar I slip into a bit of Tubular Bells just to fill the time…having Spinal Tap moments like when my a cappella trio Soundsphere played at The Sage in a choir festival and we couldn’t find the stage and ended up getting very lost.  Being asked to play the theme from Blackadder for a wedding, yes it’s possible.  I’m working on a harp version of Popcorn as we speak…no, I really am!

 

John Pilgrim: The Black Swan in York is well known to you, but Swansongs will be your first Folk Horror Revival event. What are your expectations of the night?

 

Sarah Dean: I’ve got a feeling that we’ll be making some musical magic at the Swansongs gig and I’m looking forward to meeting all the musicians and hearing their music. The Black Swan holds lots of happy memories for me and the Wolfe Room is so atmospheric, the ambiance it creates will make for a really special night and I’m delighted to have the chance to play a part in it.

 

SS

Swansongs takes place May 12th at the Black Swan in York. The last few remaining tickets are still available for this fabulous event from the following eventbrite link, but get in quick as numbers are very limited and we are getting close to selling out.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379