The Blood on Satan's Claw

The Blood on Satan's Claw

David Evans-Powell

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781800348349

Publisher: Liverpool University Press

Abstract

Widely regarded as one of the foundational 'Unholy Trinity' of folk horror film, The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) has been comparatively over-shadowed, if not maligned, when compared to Witchfinder General (1968) and The Wicker Man (1973). While those horror bedfellows are now accepted as classics of British cinema, Piers Haggard's film remains undervalued, ironically so, given that it was Haggard who coined the term 'folk horror' in relation to his film. In this Devil's Advocate - the first monograph dedicated solely to an analysis of the film, and released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the film’s release - David Evans-Powell explores the place of the film in the wider context of the folk horror sub-genre; its use of a seventeenth-century setting (which it shares with contemporaries such as Witchfinder General and Cry of the Banshee) in contrast to the generic nineteenth-century locales of Hammer; the influences of contemporary counter-culture and youth movement on the film; the importance of localism and landscape; the relationship between cultural notions of nature and civilisation; and the film as an expression of a wider contemporary crisis in English identity.