HORROR BUSINESS Episode 21: The Not So Wicked King Wicker, or: The Kids Aren’t Alright (THE BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW, THE WICKER MAN)

Greetings pagans and godless heathens! Thank you as always for checking us out and we have got one H-E-L-L of an episode for you guys.

First and foremost we want to give a shoutout to our sponsors over at Lehigh Valley Apparel Creations, the premiere screen printing company of the Lehigh Valley. Chris Reject and his merry band of miscreants are ready to work with you to bring to life your vision of a t-shirt for your business, band, project, or whatever else it is you need represented by a shirt, sweater, pin, or coozy. Head on over to www.xlvacx.com to check them out. Thanks!

This episode we are discussing the oft-overlooked sub-genre of pastoral horror, or ‘folk horror’ as it’s known otherwise.

We begin by talking about what we’ve seen recently. Both of us were lucky enough to catch a screening of Julia Ducournau’s Raw. We briefly discuss the film and our thoughts on it (we really liked it) and then talk about the importance of local cinemas so that they can keep doing screenings like this. You can check out the Steel Stacks here. We then talk about M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film Split. Also, we talk about the newest member of the Cinepunx collective the GOT ME A MOVIE podcast hosted by Lori and Andrew Bergeron, as well as upcoming addition to Cinepunx, a story based podcast called BLACK SUN DISPATCHES. Check both of them out!

Before we get into the heart of the episode we talk about the recent passing of James “Doc Terror” Harris, a well-known and beloved fixture of the Northeast horror scene. The Cinepunx collective was lucky enough to interview James a few months back at a benefit screening for him. You can hear that interview here. Hudson Horror is doing a benefit screening of two Italian horror films with all the benefits going to James’ family, and you can get tickets for that here, and there is going to be a special screening of James’ favorite film Creepshow on 35 mm at the Alamo Drafthouse, and you can find out more on that here. Likewise, donations to James’ family can be made here.

First up is Piers Haggard’s 1970 film The Blood on Satan’s Claw aka Satan’s Skin aka The Devil’s Touch. We open the discussion by dissecting the genre that is pastoral horror. We give a few examples and discuss the motivations behind the genre, including English guilt and anxiety towards colonialism and white anxiety in general and the similarities between that English anxiety and the modern America anxiety/guilt towards the subjection of Native Americans and that anxiety emerging in the “Indian burial ground” trope often found in the horror genre.

We give a brief summary of BOSC, it’s various themes, and the inspirations behind it, including the Catholic-Protestant schism in England in the 18th century, the Tate-LaBianca murders, and the distrust of youth culture in general.

We briefly talk about the “golden age” of British often being associated with Hammer Films and how there were actually numerous British horror films NOT associated with Hammer from that time period.

Next we discuss Robin Hardy’s 1973 film The Wicker Man. We briefly talk about Hardy’s other work and how he intended to have it be the first of a trilogy. We discuss the background of the film, it’s inspiration, and it’s production. Liam briefly discusses his personal experience with The Wicker Man and how it impacted his taste in film growing up, as well as the impact the film has had on the genre and indeed British film in general. We give a brief synopsis of the film and then discuss Edward Woodburn’s character in the film as being wholly unlikable as a protagonist. We talk about the atmosphere of paranoia and tension that permeates the film and how this contrasts with a feeling of dread and terror that permeates other horror films. The “folky” aesthetic of the film is examined, as is the various cuts of the film that have existed over the years.

The various manifestations of the island’s pagan lifestyle are discussed and how this contrasts with Woodburn’s character’s very uptight “Christian” identity. The re-occurring symbolism of the rabbit or hare in the film is examined. The film’s closing scene and its haunting impact is discussed, as is the implication of the lingering presence of capitalism even on an isolated pagan population.

There is a further discussion of folk horror as a rejection of modernity/modern life in favor of a simpler, more sensual life, as well as the concept of a ‘second Naiveté’ and how it applies to the understanding of religious concepts. The ambiguity of whether or not Christopher Lee’s character actually believes in the pagan ritual the people of the island have embraced is discussed.

We conclude the episode by talking about the upcoming Exhumed Films event Ex Fest on April 29th, which is a twelve hour exploitation film marathon. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

As always thanks to everyone and anyone who checked this episode out, or shared a tweet/shared a post on FB/gave us love by recommending us to someone. We love you forever for listening. Any questions, comments, suggestions for movies and guests, or if you yourself want to join us for a movie viewing or even an episode, can be sent to thehorrorbiz@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you! Thanks always to Justin Miller and Doug Tilley for their technical contributions and fliers, Mike Smaczylo for the awesome fliers, and also thanks to Josh “Oh La La” Alvarez for the theme song, Chris and LVAC for the support and buttons (check them out at www.xlvacx.com), and a HUGE thank you to anyone who retweeted us or shared something on Facebook that we posted. Follow us on Twitter at @thehorrorbiz666, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/thehorrorbiz66, and remember to rate, review, and subscribe to us on ITunes. In fact, if you write us a review, email us with your mailing address and we’ll send you some free pins and stickers! Until next time…thanks!

Justin Lore

Justin Lore

Greetings and salutations. My name is Justin Lore, and in addition to being a real life pawn star, an obsessive dog dad, and a falsely accused Lovecraft apologist, I am the creator and co-host of the podcast Horror Business and the communications manager and assistant editor of Cinepunx. I saw Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ at the age of six and horror films have been a large part of my life since then. Favorite directors include John Carpenter, George Romero, David Lynch, James Cameron, Wes Anderson, and David Cronenberg. I don’t eat animals, I abstain from the partaking of drugs and alcohol, I think ‘Friday The 13th’ is the most overrated franchise in film history and if I ever saw Metallica live and they played ‘Blackened’ there’s a decent chance I’d be led out in handcuffs because the pit would get murdered.
Justin Lore
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