Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Folk Horror Podcast Episode 10: Tam Lin or The Devil's Widow (1970), pt. 1

Happy Halloween, and welcome back! Sort of a Halloween episode here, although we had been planning to do Tam Lin for some time. But the original Tam Lin story IS a Halloween story, as shown in Robert Burns' famous version here.

You can see the full movie on YouTube here though both Mike and I were much happier with the film once we got our hands on blu-rays of the movie.

In order the streamline the whole editing process, Mike is my cohost from the beginning. We talk about the Evolution of Horror Podcast and their 17-part Folk Horror series, some Halloween suggestions, and some background on the film -- we even manage to talk scene by scene . . . . through the first few scenes of the movie at least.

We also feature audio from the difficult to locate introduction to the 1997 VHS release of Tam Lin from Roddy McDowall himself. Thanks to Zoe at Not Just Yesterday: The Roddy McDowall Podcast! Some great stills from the set of the movie on her site here as well as her take on the movie.

Also wanted to mention the incredible http://www.tam-lin.org which is a rich and wonderful site. There are plenty of screen captures there.

And now the audio! Though by now everyone's using a podcast reader, right?

1 comment:

  1. I don't think you can make the distinctions you are trying to make. Most genres are defined as an assortment of particular tropes, so how is folk horror any different? Even if we just define it as a "mood", that still is just like many genres (e.g. film noire is more about a particular "mood", but most folks would agree it is nevertheless a genre. Or broader genres, like "horror" "comedy" or "drama" are really just particular moods.)
    I do think you need to be careful that any genre, including folk horror, is going to include "bad" works. It's a mistake to exclude a particular work from your favorite genre just because it fails artistically.
    One of the attributes of folk horror I think is that the sacredness and the magic is connected to folk beliefs which were held by the ancestors of the characters. It would be hard to get this in the USA, where the dominant culture (i.e. Euro-Americans) is separate from the indigenous cultures and their religions (i.e. Native Americans).
    The "man with the deer head being attacked by wolves" I am pretty sure is the Greek myth of Actaeon. Actaeon was a hunter who (in the most common version of the story) while hunting happened to see the Greek goddess Artemis bathing. She was so offended that she turned him into a deer, and he was killed by his own hunting dogs. I assume that in the artwork at the beginning, Pan is there to assist Artemis to turn Actaeon into a deer.
    The Romans considered Artemis to be the same as their goddess Diana. And Westerners later considered Diana to be the same as the Queen of the Fairies.
    I can't identify the heraldic animals in the driveway either. To me, they look much more like bears than they do like badgers, but might be something else entirely such as panthers.
    I think that Tam Lin is in a grey area at the edge of folk horror. It certainly is a modern retelling of the Tam Lin story. But none of the characters seem to be aware that they are in the Tam Lin story. None of the characters have an awareness of old folk traditions. I think this means it technically isn't "Folk Horror".
    Roddy McDowell I always think of as showing up in all sorts of 60s and 70s science fiction, probably because of his association with the Planet of the Apes films.
    The role that made me aware of Ian McShane was the TV series "Lovejoy".