The Quick and Dirty Guide to New Occult and Folk Horror

Another Satyrday Night…

Another Satyrday Night…

As a kid I really LOVED being scared, and my Dad loved to scare me;  so there is a very nostalgic background to my love of scary and spooky things. Once, he crept around to my bedroom window at night, when I was having a slumber a wolf mask. It scared the crap out of us all. The funny thing? The whole gaggle of  girls screamed and RAN outside after the Wolfman! He always took us (that wanted to go) to the community haunted house; I remember a time when he organized one for my school carnival. So I really love the Horror genre...but I also have very specific tastes.

From my literacy preferences to my decor aesthetic, I won’t enjoy just any damn thing that’s supposed to be frightened or creepy. Especially with films: there is an invested interest and time that comes with it. So if I am going to spend 90-120 minutes becoming absorbed in a plot it better be worth it. I know there are so many endearing qualities to really bad and kitschy film making and viewing, but the story plots are so unrealistic it makes it almost unbearable to watch. I love movies with some kind of plausibility, even if it’s involving the supernatural and occult (my two most favorite kinds). Being home for a month with a serious illness, I had loads of time on my hands to rest up and catch some fun viewing...resulting in a fabulous list of suggestions for a sorcerer's night in.

  1. Jug Face: Appalachian folk magic with a sinister twist. I was worried it would be silly like “Pumpkinhead”, although that also had some deserved creepiness. It turned out to be a well-written storyline with descent actors.

  2. Hereditary: surprisingly good with accurate rules of engagement with the occult, must see to experience. It’s hard to talk about this film without giving away any spoilers, but suffice it to include a cult following of King Paimon of the Goetia.

  3. The Alchemist’s Cookbook: raw, believable ceremonial magic sprinkled with some chaos; a very modern feel while capturing the madness of deep magickal practice.

  4. A Dark Song: haunting story of a woman’s Will to contact her Holy Guardian Angel with the Abramelin working. This one stayed with me a long time, as a Mother and one who has knowledge of...

  5. Pyewacket: typical angsty teen magick story; kid is Gothy and dabbling in ‘dark magick’, pissed off at her own Mother so sicks a demon on her. Backfires, of course...but it was creepy as hell at the end. I was initially interested due to the title; Pyewacket being the name of an Imp from some witch trial records, not to mention the name of a cute kitty from my favorite film, “Bell, Book and Candle”.

  6. The Ritual: dumbasses in the woods, scary fucking runes and bloody Pagans. Oh and a cool ass monster.

  7. Jordskott: Swedish murder mystery series (2 seasons so far) on Shudder… a channel serious horror fans should have) with deep ecological. The land fights back against environmental exploitation, showing who the real monsters are.

  8. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: okay, so it’s campy and funny and times, but I love it when they portray Satanism as a ‘normal’ way of life...making the mundane world of every else seem all the stranger. The color schemes, storylines and PG-13 rating makes it one that tantalizes the senses. I will say this one thing though: the soundtrack in Season 1 was way better than Season 2.

  9. American Horror Story, Apocalypse: not only do the witches of Season 3 come back, in a very stylish way, but we finally get some answers to burning questions! The Devil’s child is fun, as we all love Our Dark Lord. Many twists and turns that were just plain Satanic fun.

  10. Butter on the Latch: emotionally and sexually unstable woman goes to a folk music conference, and is suffering some kind of psychological breakdown...making it confusing to understand who’s perspective the story is told from. Everything becomes clear in a shocking crescendo.

  11. November: visually captivating in the Estonian landscape of the 1800’s. Blending some surrealism and folk legends, the land and Devil reign over the lives of the players in this classic story of Girl in love with Boy who loves another.

  12. Apostle: another tale of kidnapping by a controlling religious group. I liked it because, although it at first seemed cliche, the Pagan secret seemed very plausible and related to pacts with the Land spirits.

  13. Always A Witch: a Netflix exclusive, like many of the titles on the list, from Colombia about a witch who is a slave in colonial Cartagana that falls in love with her master’s son. When about to be burned alive, she transports herself to modern times. With a mystery to solve, the story is sweet and fun to follow along...but I have a ‘thing’ for time-travelling women in cinema.