Please note that timings are approximate and can be subject to change due to technical or other unforseen circumstances.
Casting the Runes / The Ash Tree
CULTure Babylon is delighted to welcome Robert Lloyd Parry as both a performer and a speaker at this year’s Fear in the Fens Festival. His Nunkie Theatre Company will be opening the festival with a performance of two of M.R. James' most chilling stories, The Ash Tree and Casting the Runes.
Casting the Runes is a tale of a runic curse and creeping unease has inspired a number of film and television treatments, including Casting the Runes, Drag Me to Hell and, of course, the film we will opening the film festival with, Night of the Demon.
To preserve the intimate and atmospheric nature of Robert's performance, this will be held in the Discover Downham heritage centre. Seats are limited to 60, so book early!
Please note that there will be no late admittance until the interval, so please arrive in time for the 7.30pm start.
Read this article about Nunkie from The Guardian.
Sunday October 1, Downham Market Town Hall
Doors open at 10.00am for a 10.30 am start
Talk: Robert Lloyd Parry: M.R. James and the East Anglian Landscape
M.R. James is widely accepted as the master of the ghost story, and much of the sense of dread and building unease which pervades his stories draws on their location in the ancient and unique East Anglian coast and countryside.
Robert Lloyd Parry, a writer, historian and performer with a particular interest in the works of M.R. James will be guiding us through James' work and its relationship with the East Anglian landscape.
Film: Night of the Demon (1957) (AKA Curse of the Demon)
Considered by some to be not only the best British horror film ever made, but one of the best British films in any genre.
Jacques Tourneur, who's collaborations with Val Lewton included Cat People and I Walked With a Zombie, here directs an equally atmospheric journey into fear.
Dr Holden (Dana Andrews) arrives in the UK to de-bunk a Devil-worshipping cult led by the avuncularly sinister Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). However, Holden increasingly becomes aware that he is being stalked by powers beyond his comprehension.
Night of the Demon is by turns, dramatic, funny, and genuinely chilling, and we're delighted to be screening it on its 60th anniversary.
Event 1: 10.30am - 12.45pm
Talk: Michael Clarke: An introduction to Jewish Folk Magick and the Qabalah
Those of you who attended the previous CULTure Babylon talk on Voodoo and Hoodoo, will know the depth and breadth of Michael Clarke's knowledge of folk magick makes him a fascinating speaker.
Golem-making was just one of the diverse survival strategies which the rabbis employed to stave off the persecution of their people and give themselves greater power at a time of raging antisemitism that flourished across Europe in the middle ages.
Michael will be exploring Jewish folk magick in the heretical Judaism of Eastern Europe and how this links with Qabalah, which has so profoundly influenced the Western Magickal revival of the late 19th century.
Film: Der Golem (1920)
A masterpiece of early silent cinema. The Jews in 16th century Prague are being brutally oppressed by the city's rulers.
Rabbi Loew turns to an ancient wisdom for justice and creates The Golem. However, the supernatural being becomes increasingly hard to control...
Event 2: 2pm - 4.15 pm
Talk: Gavin Baddeley: English Revenants: Vampires and the Walking Dead in the UK
We are delighted to welcome Gavin Baddeley Back after he closed last year's festival with his talk: the Midlife Crisis of Dracula.
While we tend to think of vampires as belonging to the lore of Eastern Europe, and the dead returning to life as coming from the magic and traditions of Africa and the West Indies, there's evidence that in the UK, fear of the dead coming back to life was sufficiently prevalent for complicated and often expensive preventative measures to be taken against them.
Who better to shed some light on this dark episode in our history, than Gavin Baddeley?
Film: Psychomania (1973) (AKA The Death Wheelers)
A true cult film with a stellar cast that includes, Beryl Reid, George Sanders, Robert Hardy, Bill Pertwee and many more in a classic piece of 70s occult kitsch.
The leader of a hell-raising motorcycle gang, The Living Dead, discovers the secret of eternal life and returns from the grave to create havoc in the rural roads and shopping precincts of 70s England. However, even darker secrets are yet to be revealed.
Although frequently baffling, Psychomania is strangely compelling and also features some of the best stunt riding and driving you'll see in a British film outside of The Italian Job.
Event 4: 7.30 pm - 9.45 pm
Festival Close: 10pm
Coffee break: 4.15 - 4.45 pm
Talk: Otherworldly – an Introduction to Folk Horror.
In this bonus short talk, Jim Peters – a leading member of the Folk Horror Revival group will be giving a fascinating insight into an area of horror that is gaining increasing interest and attention, both in film, music and other media.
Locally made short films
Fear in the Fens is proud to provide local film makers with the opportunity to screen their short horror films.
We have six great short films this year, see further details here.