"Folk horror's a really tricky thing to try to define."
- Andrew Michael Hurley
Evading a succinct definition, the genre known as "folk horror" is best exemplified in the films THE WICKER MAN (1973), WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968), CRY OF THE BANSHEE (1970), and more recently, MIDSOMMAR (2019). In literature, the works of Arthur Machen are often cited, and other examples of folk horror run the gamut from Shirley Jackson's short shocker, "The Lottery", to actor turned writer Thomas Tryon's "Harvest Home".
The UK is the genius loci for folk horror and much of the tradition comes from there. Although it dates back decades, the genre is seen as a newly-emerging subject that of course, can be exploited by films and publishing.
Because of the rural settings, ancient traditions and secretive communal culture, folk horror lends itself to the more "literary" side of fiction and where the "horror" is sometimes less emphasized.
This can make writing folk horror a little daunting. Award-winning British author Andrew Michael Hurley is interviewed in the November, 2020 issue of WRITING magazine and explains a lot about his books and how they incorporate the tradition of folk horror, and where even the landscape can become a character.