While most horror fans can name at least one folk horror film (most likely a British film like The Wicker Man), there is very little consensus on what exactly and what does not constitute a movie. folk horror. This is where Kier-La Janisse and his documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A folk horror story kicks in, as production company Severin Films tackles a topic that may be familiar to horror fans, then explores it so deeply that you begin to realize how much you knew about it. little. calls out folk horror, focusing on how this term is loosely defined. Of course there is the trio of British films – 1968 General Witchfinder, 1971 Blood on Satan’s claw, and 1973’s The Wicker Man – it’s widely believed to be the pinnacle of the subgenre, but even then these films have very little in common other than a country setting and a plot involving paganism or the supernatural . What Woodlands Dark does is not give a proper definition or label for the subgenre, but rather prove that folk horror is more than just tropes and setting; it’s a tone, a feeling, something that isn’t clearly described and maybe it shouldn’t be. At its best, the documentary teaches how popular horror can be used to explore different fears that change and evolve across borders and decades, commenting on darker aspects of humanity like nationalism, classism and the colonialism to reflect and educate on the cultural context of a given film or performance.Woodlands Dark is primarily told through archival footage of over 200 films interspersed with interviews with over 50 filmmakers, academics, film festival programmers and journalists from different countries, providing not only cultural and historical context, but personal anecdotes and insights that paint a fascinating picture of universal and expansive popular horror – reinforcing the idea that it’s more than just a label to put a movie on and call it a day. Through the interviews, the film explores many films that you wouldn’t instantly associate with folk horror, but share enough elements that it’s hard not to see them as such – like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by 1974 and his exploration of the cultural divide between the urban and the rural Candyman, or even 1992, and his emphasis on a folk monster and psychogeography (to what extent does the character’s action and behavior occur because of of the Cabrini Green projects).
If there is anything to complain about here, it is in the choice of interview topics. While Woodlands Dark makes the effort to explore folk horror in many cultures and countries across all continents, a little less effort is put into finding guests from those cultures who can speak with an extra layer of context. cultural. During a segment exploring Brazilian horror, focusing on the relationship between gender and the history of racial and religious tensions against the Afro-Brazilian population, not a single Afro-Brazilian is seen explaining the different religions that so deeply affect the stories told through folk. horror in the country. It’s not a huge distraction, but with the film seemingly so keen on portraying films from different cultures and countries, it’s hard not to feel like there was a missed opportunity to have interviews. with people who really belong to these communities.
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