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From The Wicker Man To Midsommar: How Sinister Are Folk Horror Films?

Many will argue that folk horror films were part of a cultural revolution against traditional British rule during the 1960s and 70s. It is with some sadness that this sub-genre lost a lot of momentum after this period, however, it still consists of many classic movies that are as sinister as they are memorable.

The horror genre was created to build a sense of thrill and suspense for audiences that would keep you on the edge of your seats. Over the years there have also been many horror video games and even 18+ jackpot slots that are inspired by films too.

In folk horror films, screenplays put a twist on certain elements that sets them apart from the “horror” genre completely so audiences don’t feel like they are just watching another typical horror movie. In this article we’ll discuss the certain elements in more detail and use some classic titles to show how these elements are used.


A Supernatural Figure Or Entity Present

There’s most likely a supernatural figure or entity that resides at the centre of the conflict in a folk horror film. It is also safe to assume this figure or entity has been around for a long time. However, this does not mean supernatural powers are always at work. In many cases, the power is simply given to the supernatural figure by the people that worship it.

So sometimes the worshippers are responsible for the horror you are bound to witness. Good examples of this are The Blood on Satan’s Claw and Midsommar. The former has an actual demon as part of the plot, whereas the latter is powered by the actions of normal people.


Rural Areas And The Wilderness

Where can you expect a folk horror plot to unfold? The most likely location is going to be somewhere remote and secluded. Good examples for these will definitely be The Wicker Man, The Village and Midsommar. The idea of everything happening so far away and disconnected from society seems extra sinister especially somewhere where conventional laws and rules do not seem to apply.

Of course, it helps to entertain unholy ceremonies when nobody really knows you exist. Which is what many folk horror films try to create – a place where nobody can save potential victims.


Entire Towns And Societies Participate

Forget about one or two bad guys trying to kill everyone like the traditional horror film, this sub-genre usually has entire communities supporting the twisted plot. The whole “cult” mind-set is a big element that helps to establish a sinister atmosphere. Why? Because everyone is lying to protect a secret way of life. All these seemingly innocent people are actually cold-blooded survivalists that love human sacrifices.


A Sense Of Paranoia

You can count on the communities in folk horror films to be paranoid about anything associated with conventional societies. Whether it is their laws or religions, the revolt against the conventional sees these communities go on lockdown in order to prevent outside information from coming in. So, to put it more bluntly, paranoia rules the streets of these isolated societies.

When you dig deeper into folk horror films, you come across many unique elements and touches that you do not see very often. The real difference is how these movies carry the most sinister atmosphere compared to any other genre. It is not about how much the plot can scare viewers. Instead, viewers get scared of what they do not see.

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