Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden, Barry Andrews
Guaranteed to make you unsettled every time you go past a hedgerow in the British countryside, The Blood on Satan’s Claw is a great introduction to folk horror.
A farmer ploughs the land in 18th century England. The earth turns and reveals a strange corpse of a beast that disturbs the eye and chills the blood. The village youth believe they are possessed by the beast, whipped up into demonic fervour. Is their ringleader Angel (Linda Hayden) a witch, or a dangerous troublemaker who the elders need to suppress?
Considered one of the holy trinity of folk horror alongside The Wicker Man and Witchfinder General, The Blood on Satan’s Claw is a uniquely English take on witchcraft. Shot on location in the Chilterns, it taps into uncanny currents in the English countryside. But ultimately, the film is a brilliant example of the dual image of the witch: an emblem of feminine power, but also one that men will go to any lengths to resist and destroy. With a terrific folk-baroque soundtrack and an array of superb character actors, it reflects on post-Summer of Love unease.
With thanks to Hollywood Classics for inclusion in the tour.