Folk horror opens the crypt of mankind’s most ancient fears, letting loose tales twisted in tradition and draped in dread. From eerie European landscapes to the haunted heartland of America, folk horror invites you to dig through the ditches and burn with the witches.
Okay, but seriously. What’s unique about the Folk horror subgenre, is that it explores the dark and often terrifying traditions, myths, and legends of different cultures. These tales offer a glimpse into the ancient, often pagan world, filled with rituals, mystery, and horror. Sometimes otherworldly, but always steeped in superstition.
Here are 25 must-watch folk horror movies, ready to take you on a terror-filled trek through the time-tarnished tapestry of human superstition and witchy, culty vibes. Ready to get folked up?
Hot at the Shop:
1. The Wicker Man (1973)
A policeman investigates a girl’s disappearance on a remote Scottish island, only to uncover a community entangled in pagan practices. It’s iconic, haunting, and features mesmerizing folk music that adds to the unsettling atmosphere. It’s not just a film; it’s a cultural experience that redefined the genre.
Beyond a mere summer getaway, Midsommar leads a grief-stricken woman into the hands of a pagan cult in Sweden. Vivid, brutal, and unexpectedly bright, this film upends the usual dark horror settings, redefining horror in broad daylight. Director Ari Aster masterfully manipulates the aesthetics of horror, crafting scenes that are as beautiful as they are terrifying, and presenting an unforgettable exploration of grief, tradition, and communal madness.
Set against the stark backdrop of 17th-century New England, The VVitch dives deep into the terrors and superstitions of the time, following a devout Puritan family banished from their community. As they attempt to start anew on the fringes of a foreboding forest, they soon find themselves grappling with the eerie supernatural and their own unraveling sanity. The film excels with its unsettling ambiance, bolstered by period-accurate dialogue, haunting cinematography, and a chilling score.
Capturing the fearful atmosphere of rural England in the 17th century, Blood on Satan’s Claw is a British horror classic that transcends its time. The story unfolds when a farmer unearths a mysterious deformed body that seems to emanate evil. Soon, demonic possession begins to grip the village’s youth, leading them down a dark path of witchcraft, violence, and terror. Its dark tone and intriguing narrative make it a timeless piece that resonates with contemporary horror enthusiasts.
A Stephen King adaptation that creates terror out of both children and cornfields. Children of the Corn unveils a nightmare in a small Midwestern town. When a young couple stumbles upon the village of Gatlin, Nebraska, they discover that the children have murdered the adults and formed a malevolent religious cult. Led by a sinister preacher boy, the children worship an entity residing within the cornfields. The twisted innocence of youth coupled with the power of religious fanaticism makes this a horror gem that’s as unsettling as it is gripping.