What makes the horror genre so fascinating, and appealing is that there are so many different branches of horror movies. We all know about slasher horror, comedy horror, supernatural horror, etc. But, there are also some sub-genres that we are less familiar with when it comes to horror movies, such as Giallo, and, more specifically, folk horror.
Now, even as a seasoned film buff, you may not have heard of the term folk horror before, but you could most likely hazard a guess at what it is. Another term we could use for it would be rural horror, which is perhaps a more fitting description. These are horror movies that take place in rural settings, they generally involve a strange close-knit community and things like ritual sacrifice. These are some of the great movies that fall into this category.
The Wicker Man
Perhaps the most famous folk horror movie of them all – we’re talking the original here, the remake can take a hike! The Wicker Man is pretty much the benchmark for great rural, folk horror films. It follows a policeman investigating a missing girl on a remote Scottish island, where paganism is practiced. The movie is hugely iconic and has one of the most unforgettable, and disturbing, endings in cinema history.
Children of the Corn
A little slicker than some of the movies on this list, largely because of its American production, but, Children of the Corn is no less valued as a folk horror. In fact, this one is doubly scary because it features a small rural town in the Midwest, where the murderous children have control over the adults, and ritually sacrifice them to a demonic entity. When their car breaks down, Vicky and her boyfriend Burt wind up in the town seeking help. Children of the Corn is an underrated horror flick, based on the short story by Stephen King.
One of the most unusual and controversial films on the list, Kill List caused consternation on release. This was largely due to the nature of the film being very tonally different from the first half to the second half. The beginning of the movie starts like a gritty, urban, crime thriller, but it evolves into something else. And, by the end, the movie is a full-on folk horror, with shades of the Wicker Man about it. This film certainly won’t be for everyone, and some will hate it, but it’s dark and experimental, and we like that.
Okay, so this is a more unusual one to add to the list, but it’s underrated, so it’s going on. Dog Soldiers tells the story of British soldiers on a training exercise in the rurals of Scotland only to be set upon by a pack of werewolves. This is a fun and inventive movie, and the perfect visual depiction of the British rural horror. Many people might like to think of it as an action flick, but it certainly falls into the realms of horror.
These are just a few of the great movies we would include in the list of movies from the folk horror genre. There are plenty more as well, including the iconic Witchfinder General, and Blood on Satan’s Claw, but we feel like the movies listed above are a pretty great representation of the folk horror genre.