Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wild in the country


Do you find the countryside quite creepy?

When you're in the middle of nowhere and all you can hear are birds singing and a sudden breeze whips up - might a maniac Morris troupe appear out of nowhere and burn you at the maypole? Might a ghostly highwayman appear at the edge of the woods then disappear just as quickly? Whose is that abandoned bike on the bridle path? What's disturbed that murder of crows. It is quite chilling really. A light wind rustles the witches' brew and darkness is just around the corner. Better not be alone...

I was reading an article about the films of 'old, weird Britain' in Sight & Sound. It's not usually a magazine I buy, but the old weird thing caught my eye in the newsagent. It's a great feature, going back to almost as films began right up to the present day. The countryside is all about Straw Dogs and The Wicker Man, really, but of course that's only the tip of the iceberg. Apparently it all comes under the umbrella of hauntology.

I've dabbled in the music of hauntology, by the likes of Belbury Poly or Mount Vernon Arts Lab or The Focus Group. It's difficult, chilling, electronic and rather cold, and you can just imagine it as the soundtrack to a some Seventies British horror set in the country. I must discover more.

I've not finished reading the piece yet, but I'm hoping for more about films like And Soon...The Darkness, thought that's filmed in France. Still, it would work just as well in Britain. Old, weird, Britain. Brrrr.

8 comments:

Suzy Norman said...

Have you seen the spooky film The Shout FC? Lots of weird 70s wasps trapped in jars experimental music and it's set in the English countryside. I'm sure you must have. It's one of my favourite films.

Five-Centres said...

No I haven't, Suzy. But of course I now will.

Suzy Norman said...

I feel privileged to alert you to something you haven't seen. Pretty sure you'll love it!

Ishouldbeworking said...

That music sounds just like something Stuart Maconie must have featured on his peerless 'Freak Zone' show. Bet he could put you on to it if you get stuck. It sounds great.

I do know what you mean about the countryside's creepier qualities. I sometimes quite like to scare myself when we go out walking, by imagining deranged idiot farmers emerging from the trees with pitchforks dripping blood. That said, it's quite creepy living here in this particular town at the moment. I'm not 500 yards from where the Police are currently excavating a back garden, where a certain Mr Tobin used to reside.

Five-Centres said...

Gosh, ISBW, lock your doors and windows. Pitchforks dripping with blood! Yikes.

Clair said...

As a mere aside, I saw Tamara Drewe last night (fantastic, BT) and Roger Allam reminded me of you, F-C, though clearly you're not the conniving sort he is in the film, she hastily added.

Five-Centres said...

Roger Allam, I know, portly, about 55! Thanks Woo! No, I get your meaning. I hear that film's very good from many sources and now you've confirmed it.

Valentine Suicide said...

I live in what could loosely be termed the country, and wouldn't have it another way. No macabre excavations taking place over here.

I often amuse myself in the later stages of the year , by walking along high bordered narrow country lanes in the dark. It's like walking into the devils mouth. With no sounds for company, except for the children, whispering behind the hedgerows...

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