The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror offers a comprehensive guide to this popular genre. It explores its origins, canonical texts and thinkers, the crucial underlying themes of nostalgia and hauntology, and identifies new trends in the field.

Divided into five parts, the first focuses on the history of Folk Horror from medieval texts to the present day. It considers the first wave of contemporary Folk Horror through the films of the ‘unholy trinity’, as well as discussing the influence of ancient gods and early Folk Horror. Part 2 looks at the spaces, landscapes, and cultural relics, which form a central focus for Folk Horror. In Part 3, the contributors examine the rich history of the use of folklore in children’s fiction. The next part discusses recent examples of Folk Horror-infused music and image. Chapters consider the relationship between different genres of music to Folk Horror (such as folk music, black metal, and new wave), sound and performance, comic books, and the Dark Web. Often regarded as British in origin, the final part analyses texts which break this link, as the contributors reveal the larger realms of regional, national, international, and transnational Folk Horror.

Featuring 40 contributions, this authoritative collection brings together leading voices in the field. It is an invaluable resource for students and scholars interested in this vibrant genre and its enduring influence on literature, film, music, and culture.

chapter |6 pages


part I|92 pages

Origins and Histories

chapter 1|11 pages

Fear of the World

Folk Horror in Early British Literature

chapter 3|12 pages

‘Banished to Woods and a Sickly Moon’

The Old Gods in Folk Horror

chapter 4|11 pages

‘I Am the Writing on the Wall, the Whisper in the Classroom’

The Changing Conception of the ‘Folk’ in the Western Folk Horror Tradition

chapter 5|10 pages

M.R. James and Folk Horror

chapter 6|12 pages

‘Leave Something Witchy’

Evolving Representations of Cults and New Religious Movements in Folk Horror

chapter 7|10 pages

The Spectacle of the Uncanny Revel

Thomas Hardy's Mephistophelian Visitants and ‘Folk Provenance’

chapter 8|12 pages

‘We're Not in the Middle Ages’

Alan Garner's Folk Horror Medievalism

part II|82 pages

Folk Horror Landscapes and Relics

chapter 9|10 pages

Terror in the Landscape

Folk Horror in the Stories of M.R. James

chapter 12|9 pages

Queer Folk

The Danger of Being Different

chapter 13|9 pages

‘Out of the Dust’

Folk Horror and the Urban Wyrd in Too Old to Die Young and Other Works by Nicolas Winding Refn

chapter 14|11 pages

Meeting the Gorse Mother

Feminist Approaches to Folk Horror in Contemporary British Fiction

chapter 15|13 pages

Handicrafts of Evil

The Make-Culture of Folk Horror

chapter 16|8 pages

Restoring Relics

(Re)-releasing Antrum (2018) and Film as Folk Horror

part III|84 pages

Hauntology, Childhood, and Nostalgia

chapter 17|11 pages

Yesterday's Memories of Tomorrow

Nostalgia, Hauntology, and Folk Horror

chapter 18|10 pages

Ghosts in the Machine

Folklore and Technology On-screen in Ghostwatch (1992) and Host (2020)

chapter 19|14 pages

The Pattern Under the Plough

Folk Horror in 1970s British Children's Television

chapter 20|9 pages

‘This Calm, Serene Orb’

A Personal Recollection of the Comforting Strangeness Found in the Worlds of Smallfilms

chapter 21|9 pages

‘To Traumatise Kids for Life’

The Influence of Folk Horror on 1970s Children's Television

chapter 22|9 pages

‘That Haunted Feeling’

Analogue Memories

chapter 23|10 pages

‘Don't Be Frightened. I Told You We Were Privileged’

The British Class System in Televised Folk Horror of the 1970s

chapter 24|10 pages

The 4:45 Club

Folk Horror Before Teatime in the 1970s and 1980s

part IV|88 pages

Sound and Image in Folk Horror

chapter 25|11 pages

The Idyllic Horrific

Field, Farm, Garden, Forest, and Machine

chapter 26|8 pages

“And the Devil He Came to the Farmer at Plough”

November, Folk Horror and Folk Music

chapter 28|12 pages

‘Sounds of Our Past’

The Electronic Music that Links Folk Horror and Hauntology

chapter 29|11 pages

Even in Death

The ‘Folk Horror Chain’ in Black Metal

chapter 30|12 pages

Toward ‘Squire Horror’

Genesis 1972-1973

chapter 31|11 pages

Patterns beneath the Grid

The Haunted Spaces of Folk Horror Comics

part V|98 pages

Regionality, Nationality, and Transnationality

chapter 33|11 pages

‘The Dark Is Here’

The Third Day and Folk Horror's Anxiety about Birth Rates, Immigration, and Race

chapter 34|14 pages

Hinterlands and SPAs

Folk Horror and Neo-liberal Desolation

chapter 35|11 pages

‘Why Don't You Go Home?’

The Folk Horror Revival in Contemporary Cornish Gothic Films

chapter 38|12 pages

Bound by Elusiveness

Transnational Cinema and Folk Horror

chapter 39|12 pages

Strange Permutations, Eerie Dis/locations

On the Cultural and Geographic Specificity of Japanese Folk Horror

chapter 40|8 pages

‘All the Little Devils Are Proud of Hell’

The First Wave of Australian Folk Horror