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Anyone interested in literary and dramatic explorations of the supernatural will recently have seen a new term come into use – “Folk Horror”. Don’t worry – the horror part doesn’t have to indicate ghastly gore, because it’s the folk part that indicates a fascinating movement to finds the roots of our spooky tastes not so much in the artificial elegance of the Gothic, or the gritty contemporary fears of the Urban Gothic, but in those older traditions that inform our folklore, traditional tales and history of interaction with the uncanny. “Folk Horror” doesn’t offer a water-tight definition so much as an attempt to explore the continuing power of local beliefs, ghost lore, witchcraft and the possibilities of pagan survivals and rituals. These ideas still represent a potent strand in the way we show and write about the supernatural, as demonstrated by the cult status of 1973 film “The Wicker Man”, which will be one of the examples discussed in this illustrated talk.
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