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By Emily Booth, Wednesday 16th August 2017
The term 'Folk Horror' has become widely used in Horror academia to describe usually British films that dabble in all things pagan and witchy. With a strong connection to our pagan routes, 'Folk Horror' was popularised by countless Hammer Horror and Tigon films in the '60s and '70s with The Witches (1966), Witchfinder General (1968), and The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971), although arguably the most iconic of the sub-genre is The Wicker Man made in 1973, which is now a beacon of worship in its own right!
With the death of hippie culture there was a hiatus within the subgenre in the '80s and '90s, however there has since seen a resurgence, specifically with the critically acclaimed The Witch in 2015; a dark, foreboding tale of paranoia and occult practice in 1600s New England. Part of this resurgence includes our unmissable UK TV premiere on Saturday, Cherry Tree, also released in 2015, which forms an integral part of our epic FrightFest Season. Unlike the aforementioned titles, this film steers away from the historical roots of witchcraft, instead setting the film in the modern day with an urban backdrop.
Directed by Wake Wood's David Keating, the film follows 15-year-old Faith (Naomi Battrick), who's bullied at school, motherless, and about to lose her beloved father to terminal cancer; until her enigmatic hockey coach Sissy (Anna Walton) steps in to show her a whole new world and offer a solution. Sissy is in fact the high witch of an ancient coven that worships a magical cherry tree, one that is capable of both taking and giving life. Sissy informs Faith that she can cure her father, but she must first give back to the natural order by having a baby for the coven. Faith agrees and seduces a boy in order to perform the ceremony, complete with the witches' familiar, a creepy centipede. Centipedes form a symbolic motif in the film; the image recurring and literally getting under the skin of both the characters onscreen and the audience at home. Now Faith must deal with her unusual pregnancy whilst trying to outwit the witches and their sinister intentions for her and the child.
What I loved about this film when it opened at FrightFest 2015 in Leicester Square was its sense of fun, its fast pace, its likeable characters, and most importantly, its art direction. Keating knows how to create big set pieces and the lavish rituals indulge in startling imagery, intermingling blood with cherries, insects with skin, and bone with bark. This is a film of nightmarish visuals where the human and natural world literally mesh together.
Don't miss FrightFest Season every night for 13 nights from August 18th featuring Saturday night's UK TV premiere of Cherry Tree at 10.50pm. There are 6 UK TV premieres to look out for in this stunning season, to find out more head here.
Related show tags: CHERRY TREE MORE BOOTH'S BLOG Bloody British Season comes to a climax with The Descent!
Posted on Thursday 23rd November 2017
There's a lot we've got to be proud of here in Blighty. James Bond, Monty Python, David Bowie, and of course a healthy appetite for all things Horror, so over the past few Saturdays in November we've been enjoying our Bloody British Season which comes to its nerve-wracking climax this weekend!
The early noughties saw a resurgence in all areas of pop culture in the UK, and Horror was no different, with a slew of emerging directing talent making big bloody waves. Neil Marshall was at the helm with a film that took the genre in a new direction; down! He calls The Descent (2005) the sister film of his directorial debut Dog Soldiers, in that it features an all-female cast as opposed to the (nearly) all...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Enter the world of Silent Hill
Posted on Friday 17th November 2017
I am genuinely so excited about the network premiere I'm about to talk about. It's a film that the critics enjoyed panning, but the fans loved. My recent Twitter-bate confirmed there's a lot of underground love for this strange, dark film. It started out as a grimy, pixelated survival horror game by Konami on the PS1 back in 1999, and it was revolutionary for being the first computer game experience that was genuinely psychological. It had the ability to be truly unnerving and unsettling, and I for one could not stop playing it. It's time for reality to literally crumble as we enter the world of Silent Hill.
Touted by many horror fans as the best ever game-to-film adaptation (a notoriously tricky route...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A movie event with bite...!
Posted on Tuesday 7th November 2017
There is something incredibly primal about our fear of sharks. Just one look at the Great White Shark's gargantuan mouth peppered with oversized teeth designed to tear you in half and you can feel the fear pervade your entire body. We have always known about this supreme killer of the seas, but it was not until 1975 when Jaws was released unto an unsuspecting audience that the 'hysteria' surrounding the Great White Shark was born. Jaws has come to represent a huge turning point in the film industry. It invented the 'summer blockbuster', it was one of the first films to use high concept marketing and merchandise, and it continues to be deconstructed globally in film schools for its multi-layered metaphors, ranging from 'Vagi...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Keira Knightley digs deep in Bloody British Season
Posted on Friday 3rd November 2017
Britain has been put through the ringer over the past couple of years. However, we at Horror Channel are here to remind you all of our proud horror heritage this November, so Keep Calm and Carry On with November's Bloody British Season!
The early 2000s marked an exciting change in Britain within politics, fashion, music and indeed film. Everyone wanted a slice of Cool Britannia, the hub of all things fresh, edgy and zeitgeist. This high energy saw a resurgence too in the horror world, with directors such as Neil Marshall, Danny Boyle, and Chris Smith emerging to define a new wave of British, commercially successful horror; a movement that earned the gang of directors the enviable nickname of 'The Splat Pa...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Horror heads south this weekend
Posted on Tuesday 24th October 2017
This week I talk about an unusual UK TV premiere on Horror Channel; a film that plays more like a nightmarish experience than a traditional horror movie. The anthology horror as most of us know has a solid history in the genre popularised back in the '60s and '70s by Amicus Productions with such titles as Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Vault of Horror (1973). Creepshow and The Twilight Zone took up the reins in the '80s, but the style went out of fashion until recently when it was brought back in vogue in the cyclical way that pop culture does, with the indie gem and surprise hit V/H/S (2012).
Tonight's terror comes from the same film makers as V/H...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Celebrate Valentine's Day this weekend!
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017
Back in the '70s and early '80s, 'holiday slashers' were all the rage and creaming it big at the box office. Black Christmas in 1974, Halloween in '78, Christmas Evil in 1980 and Silent Night, Deadly Night in '84. The producers of this week's infamous slasher wanted to pop a celebratory balloon and needed a public holiday not yet seen in a horror. As the Easter Bunny isn't usually considered terrifying, they instead settled on Valentine's Day, and thus My Bloody Valentine was born!
The original came out in 1981 and is considered a seminal cornerstone of the slasher genre, even touted by Quentin Tarantino as his favourite slasher of all time. Impressive credentials indeed. So what ingredients does it ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: We dare you to take another Wrong Turn
Posted on Wednesday 11th October 2017
You only need to be in one place on Friday the 13th, and that's here on Horror, where all things unlucky come to life in the most horrifying of ways! This week we're upping the fun quota with the last installment of one of the most popular cannibal franchises of recent years. It started in 2003 with Wrong Turn and the creation of those three memorable brothers; One Eye, Three Finger and Saw Tooth. What a gene pool that family's blessed with! It was the combination of such solid characters, the wild woodland location of the West Virginia Mountains, and an abundance of hot young flesh on offer that led to a lucrative franchise that's now 6 movies strong. Following the original film, it was FrightFest regular and all ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Horror celebrates the King in October
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
Stephen King fever is everywhere right now, and with the icon turning 70 last month, it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. This summer's IT reboot caused cinematic shock waves on a global scale, and the recent Gerald's Game is being touted as one of the must-see horrors of the year by the critics.
Let's be honest; the King movie adaptation has always been fraught with controversy, from both fans, critics, and even the man himself. While Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is considered by many to be one of the best King adaptations (and indeed the best horror film of all time!), King himself publicly criticised the film, writing and producing "Stephen King's The Shining"; a TV mini-series in 1997 ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A pre-Matrix Keanu comes to Horror...
Posted on Friday 22nd September 2017
Back in 1995, the year 2021 seemed thankfully such a long way off. As the millennium dawned ever closer and prophecies of doom and demise were thrown around we reacted the only way we know how. With movies! The 90's saw a slew of paranoia fueled films exploring the increasing interfacing of humans with information technology, as for the first time in history the internet came to define and control our lives. The Lawnmower Man ('92), Hackers ('95), Strange Days ('95), Existenz ('99), and of course the daddy of the cyberpunk bunch - The Matrix ('99). But surely there was nothing to truly worry about, right? The Future's not here yet?! Well, according to our dystopian thriller on Friday, it'snow only f...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Big Ass Spiders and James Wan this weekend on Horror!
Posted on Tuesday 12th September 2017
Sometimes a good title is all you need to know exactly what you're in for; Nude Nuns with Big Guns, Lesbian Vampire Killers and now Big Ass Spider! Doing exactly what is says on the tin, our network premiere on Friday rides the current Mega Shark wave of 'bigger is better', but before you roll your eyes at this one (as I did) this is one seriously fun romp from start to finish with a fast pace, great script and brilliant comedic actors. You know you're in for a good ride from the outset as the film starts at the peak of the action, the camera pulls out revealing "Heroes" actor Greg Grunberg (who played lovable cop Matt Parkman) caught in the midst of chaos and carnage filmed in slow motion while a cover son...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: It's Violence of the Lambs this Friday!
Posted on Tuesday 5th September 2017
I am now fully recovered from five days of (on-screen) bloodshed at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 which finished last week. It was my 11th year at the festival presenting for Horror Channel since first cutting my teeth as the Horror Channel host way back in 2007. During this memorable year there was a film that really stood out from the crowd - Black Sheep - which incidentally gets its network premiere on Horror this Friday at 9pm! So I thought I'd scratch my brain cells and tell you a bit about this previous FrightFest hit.
New Zealand is known for a few things - namely Peter Jackson, an abundance of sheep, and Flight of the Conchords - and our Kiwi horror comedy this Friday has two ou...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: FrightFest season is here!
Posted on Monday 14th August 2017
It's that time again!
I cannot believe it is nearly a year since I was presenting at FrightFest which moved to Shepherds Bush temporarily, but is now back at its true 'Dark Heart' the Cineworld and Prince Charles in Leicester Square and I am so excited to read about this years line up and returning FrightFest favourite guests Joe Lynch and Adam Green (cheeky boys those two!).
For starters the festival organisers have decided to open the 5 day event with a real crowd-pleaser as everyone's favourite pott--mouthed demonic doll is back in Cult Of Chucky. This time the one and only star Jennifer Tilly is in attendance too alongside director Don Mancini and Fiona Douri...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog Archive: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 PICK OF THE WEEK
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