When the film The Blood on Satan’s Claw came out in 1971, reviewer Rod Cooper called it “a study in folk horror.” In 2003, when director Piers Haggard was talking to Fangoria magazine about his film, he also described it as a folk horror film.

In the 1970s, the subgenre of folk horror was particularly popular among film makers. Known as “the unholy trinity” are folk horror classics Witchfinder GeneralThe Blood on Satan’s Claw, and The Wicker Man. The BBC’s run of Ghost Stories for Christmas during the 1970s as well as adaptations of Jamesian classics like Casting the Runes and Whistle and I’ll Come to You also contributed to the genre.

Folk horror’s popularity faded a little until the late 2000s when there was a resurgence of interest from both readers and writers alike. Authors like Adam Nevill and Andrew Michael Hurley have both reinvented folk horror by taking it new directions and revisited it by bringing us reinterpretations of older ideas.

Joining us to delve deeper into this fascinating liminal space is Tori Bovalino, author of Not Good For Maidens, a modern twist of Christina Rossetti’s fabulously sinister poem Goblin Market, and also editor of The Gathering Dark, an anthology of folk horror.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
  • Pine by Francine Toon
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  • The Bloody Chamber (stories) by Angela Carter
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul G. Tremblay
  • Goosebumps

Tori Bovalino is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lives in London. She holds a BA in English and anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

She is the author of The Devil Makes Three, Not Good for Maidens, My Throat an Open Grave, and edited and contributed to The Gathering Dark. Tori is represented by Dr. Uwe Stender and Amelia Appel at TriadaUS Literary Agency.