WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED is the first feature-length documentary on the history of folk horror, exploring the phenomenon from its beginnings in a trilogy of films – Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General (1968), Piers Haggard’s Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973) – through its proliferation on British television in the 1970s and its culturally specific manifestations in American, Asian, Australian and European horror, to the genre’s revival over the last decade.

The film is written and directed by Kier-La Janisse, and co-produced by Janisse, David Gregory and Winnie Cheung for Severin Films, with David Gregory and Carl Daft as Executive Producers. The film includes an original score by Jim Williams (A Field in England), animation by Ashley Thorpe, and special collage art sequences by filmmaker Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg).

While exploring the key cinematic signposts of folk horror – touching on over a hundred films, television plays and episodes as well as early inspirational literature – the film also examines the rise of paganism in the late 1960s, the prominence of the witch-figure in connection with second wave feminism, the ecological movement of the 1970s, the genre’s emphasis on landscape and psychogeography, and American manifestations of folk horror from Mariners’ tales and early colonial history to Southern Gothic and backwoods horror. Finally, the film navigates through the muddy politics of folk nostalgia. The term ‘folk horror’ is a loaded one, and WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED explores the many ways that we alternately celebrate, conceal and manipulate our own histories in an attempt to find spiritual resonance in our surroundings.

Over 50 interviewees appear in the 193-minute film, including Piers Haggard (director, Blood on Satan’s Claw), Lawrence Gordon Clark (director, A Ghost Story for Christmas series), Jeremy Dyson (co-founder, The League of Gentlemen), Alice Lowe (director, Prevenge), Robert Eggers (director, The Witch), Jonathan Rigby (author, American Gothic), Adam Scovell (author, Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange), Andy Paciorek (founder, Folk Horror Revival), Howard David Ingham (author, We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror), Kat Ellinger (Editor, Diabolique Magazine) and many more, as well as archival interviews with Robin Hardy (director, The Wicker Man) and Anthony Shaffer (writer, The Wicker Man).

Now streaming on SHUDDER in North America, UK and ANZ
Also North American VOD on Vudu, Apple TV, Youtube and Vimeo

More on this film on its official website woodlandsdarkanddaysbewitched.com

I was watching Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched the other day, which is so fantastically detailed, and was so struck by how, even with its focus on folk horror, Kier-La Janisse managed to encompass so much more from around the world. What she has done there is quite brilliant, and that’s essentially what the last History of Horror would have been.

Mark Gatiss, speaking to FANGORIA magazine in December 2022

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched Available as part Deluxe Blu Ray Box Set >>

Finally luxuriated in @bigsmashkierla’s extraordinary documentary ‘Woodlands Dark & Days Bewitched’ which digs deep into the history of folk horror from all over the globe. The breadth of it is quite astounding, even horror experts will have a new must watch list afterwards.

Twitter post by Edgar Wright, March 2022


SXSW – Midnighters Audience Award 2021
Fantasia International Film Festival – Best Documentary 2021
Nashville Film Festival – Best Graveyard Shift Feature 2021
Chattanooga Film Festival – Best Documentary 2021
Popcorn Frights – Audience Award 2021
Letterboxd – 5th highest-rated documentary 2021
Seattle Film Critics Society – Nominated, Best Documentary 2021

The film also screened at IFFR Rotterdam, Melbourne International Film Festival, Oslopix, FrightFest London, Motel X, Fantastic Fest, Slash Film Festival, Beyond Fest, Sitges International Film Festival, Lausanne Underground Film Festival, Nightstream, Vancouver International Film Festival, Octopus Film Festival, Telluride Horror Show, CUFFDocs, Morbido Film Festival, Denver International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, Abertoir Horror Festival, Monsters of Film, Irish Film Institute’s Horrorthon, Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, and the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival.


The Guardian
Variety Review
Animus Magazine Review
Screen Anarchy Review
Bloody Disgusting Review
Indiewire Review
Austin Chronicle Review
RogerEbert.com Review
Dread Central Review
AV Club Capsule review
SlashFilm Review
Mashable Review
Consequence of Sound Review
Daily Grindhouse Review
Tilt Review
Cinapse review
IGN Review
Film Threat Review
Gizmodo Review
Screamcast Review
Film Pulse Review
Arts Fuse Review


Filmmaker Magazine: https://filmmakermagazine.com/tag/woodlands-dark-and-days-bewitched/#.YFTVzBNKhE4

The Projection Booth: https://www.projectionboothpodcast.com/2021/03/special-report-sxsw-2021.html

Slash Film: https://www.slashfilm.com/woodlands-dark-and-days-bewitched-director-interview/

Austin Chronicle: https://www.austinchronicle.com/screens/2021-03-12/finding-the-roots-of-folk-horror-in-woodlands-dark-and-days-bewitched/?fbclid=IwAR1FHWxz1EBfoGLw-_K8R4GO–_Dy7LgZmbUCEf_KTBM7kLzCOZNIWi2aXU

The Lydian Spin: https://lydianspin.libsyn.com/episode-131-kier-la-janisse-part-2

Lights Camera Austin: http://www.lightscameraaustin.net/kier-la-janisse-march-2021.html?fbclid=IwAR3jM_IY2_H0tyDtG3wysKPGXaki8ffQjn0veuxkuWRUSDsZf1Q-P2eEBxQ

Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/festiville/story/bewitched-at-midnight-kier-la-janisse-premieres/?fbclid=IwAR1Iag7Ra_-qKjn_ZzgjOnKsDqC42dXaIcby0NnMT4in3kxVNy0pwUpn9KE 

Ssense: https://www.ssense.com/en-ca/editorial/culture/what-lies-beneath-folk-horror-aesthetics

The Daily Texan: https://thedailytexan.com/2021/03/17/qa-Woodlands-Dark-and-Days-Bewitched-film-team-talks-folk-horror?fbclid=IwAR1qxxnumAa37NoV0agQK7jyIuECL_lO8hEgNUJvGnOD2aNgycTHRGiFOCw

Poster by Richard Wells

  • On Kier-La Janisse’S Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021) – FantasiaFest – Critical Focus
    August 23, 2021 at 12:58 am

    […] Kier- La Janisse‘s Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror does an excellent and enlightening deep dive into this film genre. Clocking in at three hours and a bit, the documentary segments itself into episodes that deal with different geographic timelines in folk horror, including its literary and historical origins. While it is a lengthy documentary, it’s worth it for its extensive research and I ultimately don’t want spoil the unravelling of it. The film plots itself like an educational documentary, however, it goes places I was really hoping it would go to. We’re talking Asian, Brazilian, Polish, Mexican, et cetera, folk horror; American folk horror, beyond The Witch, (Ganja & Hess), hitting even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s a whole segment in the American episode that digs up the screaming elephant in the ground: We all live on an Indian burial ground, and for god’s sake Native peoples are a diverse peoples with many nations within!There’s so much more and in the end, this isn’t an analysis as usual on this site, but rather a high praise of a documentary that was most needed and emboldened because it goes beyond the popular Britannia of it. Much like Xavier Burgin‘s Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, Kier-La Janisse keeps the audience hanging from revelation to revelation. While I’m sure many horror fans or horror twitter will probably know some of the information explored in this film, it’s not just about the information, but the perspectives it opens up. The idea that we are all haunted by the stories of our ancestors and their folklore isn’t new. Neither is the fact there’s fear in the possibility in going back to the land these days of climate change. We’ve killed and buried for greed and continue doing so. What do we go back to actually? The land where the bodies will be exposed? Ourselves? There is a real fright in knowing that maybe there are truths we have to confront about ourselves. We will always know nothing. There’s freedom in that. Scary freedom.If you’re really into this subject matter, I suggest buying this film to keep a list of the films, television shows, books, and experts the movie details. I’ve already started a search for some of these. The latest I’ve seen has been Ben Wheatley‘s A Field In England, which I adored for it’s occultish and Shakespearean qualities, but much can be expounded there after watching Janisse’s doc. I haven’t been able to find a trailer for the doc, which is fine. Here’s a link to the filmmaker’s site with interviews and more of her work. https://www.kierlajanisse.com/2020/10/29/woodlands-dark-and-days-bewitched-a-history-of-folk-horror/ […]

    August 28, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    […] Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched had its Canadian Premiere Aug 5-25, 2021 at the Fantasia International Film Festival, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year – and I’m pleased to report that the film has taken home the Audience Award for Best Documentary! Thank you to programmers Mitch Davis and Celia Pouzet and all the people who voted for the film! […]