Inspired by Kier-La Janisse’s illuminating and comprehensive new documentary on the subject – Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror – this Saturnalia, Cinematheque presents a series of films exploring this strange and magical world of pagan gods and rites, haunted land, and sexual liberation. The films in this series portray people with a deep connection to the land they live on grappling with the changing of religious customs and social norms around them. They are films that share a reverence, sometimes a fear, for the past, and how it is often treated as an impediment to progress, development, and so-called ‘enlightenment’. For us viewers of these films, we feel a certain joy at the sloughing off of restrictive ways of thinking, reveling in that giving over to the Old Gods, and the Old Ways. 

The past few years have seen a major resurgence of interest in so-called ‘Folk Horror’ films, with notable entries like The Witch, Kill-List, The Ritual, and Midsommar making huge splashes in the genre world and becoming instant classics. The world seems ripe and ready for a reopening of the themes and ideas of these progressive films. The climate crisis, Land Back movements, interests in traditional healing and treatments, and increasing secularism, make folk horror films feel especially timely and urgent.

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Sat, Dec. 4 / 7:30pm (presented as part of Gimme Some Truth)
Fri, Dec 10 / 9:15pm
Sun, Jan 2 / 3pm

Blood on Satan’s Claw
Tue, Dec 7 / 7pm
Wed, Dec 15 / 9:10pm
Thu, Dec 30 / 9:15pm
Sun, Jan 2 / 7pm

Tue, Dec 7 / 9:30pm
Thu, Dec 16 / 9:15pm
Sun, Dec 19 / 3pm
Wed, Jan 5 / 7pm

Sat, Dec 11 / 7:05pm
Wed, Dec 15 / 7pm
Tue, Dec 21 / 9:15pm
Wed, Dec 29 / 3pm

Secret Cinema 35mm Screening
Sat, Dec 11 / 9:15pm

The Wicker Man
Fri, Dec 17 / 7pm
Wed, Dec 22 / 9:15pm
Tue, Dec 28 / 9:05pm
Thu, Dec 30 / 7pm

Midsommar – Director’s Cut
Sat, Dec 18 / 1pm
Sun, Dec 19 / 7pm
Sun, Dec 26 / 7pm
Thu, Dec 30 / 2:30pm

Eyes of Fire
Sat, Dec 18 / 6:45pm
Tue, Dec 28 / 7pm
Wed, Dec 29 / 7pm
Thu, Jan 6 / 8:30pm

Sun, Dec 19 / 5:20pm
Tue, Dec 28 / 3pm
Tue, Jan 4 / 9:15pm
Thu, Jan 6 / 7pm

Fri, Dec 24 / 7pm
Sun, Dec 26 / 4:40pm
Tue, Jan 4 / 7pm
Wed, Jan 5 / 9:15pm

Woodland Haunts: A Folk Horror Overview is presented with the generous support of IATSE 856.