David Evans-Powell

David Evans-Powell

Department of Film and Creative Writing
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

Thesis title: Dark heritage and the earthy unearthly:  Characterising folk horror in British cinema and television
Supervisor: Dr James Walters
PhD Film Studies


David graduated in a BA (Hones) History with Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Birmingham in 2003, and has worked since then in the cultural and higher education sectors. He currently working as Donor Engagement Partner for the Development and Alumni Relations Office at the University of Birmingham while completing his PhD part-time.

David has presented the following papers:
  • Haunted Landscapes and Temporal Terrors in 1970s British television' at the At Home with Horror:  Terror on the Small Screen conference at the University of Kent in October 2017.
  • Mind the Doors! Folk Horror in the cinematic London Underground' at the Urban Weird conference, a collaboration between Supernatural CitiesandOpen Graves Open Minds, at the Hertfordshire University in April 2018.
  • 'Hesitation, repetition and deviation:  The temporal nightmares and haunted landscapes of British television' at the Screening the Unrealconference at the University of Brighton, and again at theAfter Fantastika;conference at the University of Lancaster, both in July 2018


The term folk horror has become popular in recent years to describe a subgenre of British horror cinema and television in the 1960s and 1970s. In particular the films ‘Witchfinder General’ (1968, Michael Reeves), ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ (1971, Piers Haggard), and ‘The Wicker Man’ (1973, Robin Hardy) are identified as key works in this subgenre, seen as distinct and different from the generic 19th Century world of Hammer and the contemporary settings of Amicus. The term was first coined by Piers Haggard during an interview with writer, actor, and broadcaster Mark Gatiss in his ‘A History of Horror’ (2010) documentary series.

Following Gatiss’ documentary, online commentators have further developed this notion of British folk horror, identifying both antecedents and later films featuring similar themes, elements and motifs. However, while there is a growing body of popular discourse on the subject, there is very little in the way of academic critique of this subgenre.

This thesis will redress this imbalance, providing an analysis of what defines and characterises folk horror as an identifiable and distinct corpus with British cinema and television.