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 Folklore in Horror

Written by Angry Scholar

 

Hi everyone! Angry Scholar here. I’m doing a research project on the role of folklore in horror, and I’d like to hear from you!

In my day job, I’m an assistant professor at Penn State. I study folklore, and one of my interests is how folklore gets used in popular culture, especially the horror genre. I find it especially interesting how supernatural horror in particular very often relies on the idea of ancient traditions and rituals, and how antiquated customs (both real and fictional) are sometimes made to seem scary. Examples are endless: movies like The Blair Witch Project, Jug Face, and of course The Wicker Man; most of Lovecraft’s weird fiction; and much of Stephen King’s work, to name just a few, all capitalize on the idea of old traditional beliefs having a kernel of supernatural truth.

As fans of horror and experts in the genre, there are a number of questions I’d like to ask you all:

  • What does the word “folklore” mean to you?
  • What is “folk horror,” and how is it distinct from the rest of the horror genre?
  • Why do you think folklore has such a prominent role in horror?
  • Does the use of folklore in a horror story—whether it’s “real” or “invented” folklore—somehow affect your emotional response, or how believable the story seems? Why or why not?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues, and anything else you can think of related to the role of folklore in horror.

If you’re interested in participating in my research, I’d ask that you first read through the documents linked below. These will give you a better idea of the study and what I’d like to do with your responses. After reading that material, feel free to head on over to the discussion forum, where I’ve started a thread for us to chat about all this. You can also post your replies below in the comments, or email me directly through the site or my university email (included in the study documents).

For this study I’m only seeking online responses from participants age 18 and above. Please do not reply if you are under 18. By participating you certify that you are at least 18 years of age.

Here are links to information about the study required by my university:

Consent Document
Study Information Sheet

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through the site, or using the contact information provided in the Study Information Sheet.

About The Author
Angry Scholar Staff
Staff Writer
Angry Scholar loves the supernatural, proprietary Scottish fabrics, video games, and frozen dairy treats. He has a blog where he obsesses over these things. Creaking old castles, lights over the moors, and ghostly faces in the shadows are his raison d'être. Because, you know. He has no life, but damn he looks good in tweed.
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