AbstractFolk Horror theorisation has tended to shy away from what could be read (justifiably or otherwise) as misanthropy in the representation and uses of the folk (in the sense of common people) in its three origin films: Witchfinder General, The Wicker Man, and The Blood on Satan’s Claw. Such misanthropy chimed with conservative and reactionary political positions of the 1970s (with respect to immigration and the homegrown ‘underclass’) and was at odds with progressive developments in the critical methodologies of history disciplines. In considering this impasse, this chapter identifies the aristocratic/clerical-judicial figures who also appear in the three origin films and explores the idea that the horror seems generated by those of the upper rather than sub-proletariat classes. This reading, then, is termed ‘Squire Horror’. In order to undergo this exploration, a consideration of the concept of ‘folk’ of British folk music occurs-as re-worked in the early music and performances of Genesis. This chapter argues that Genesis, at this point, both embraced and made strange foundational folk notions, aligned to a mythical Victorian era, explored through its juvenilia and upper-class cultures. In performance, ‘The Musical Box’ adds a paedophilic context to the supernatural narrative of the recorded song, and represents an upending of notions of Victorian propriety and morality and advances the idea of an excavation of previously repressed secrets. This critical position on the Victorian upper classes and culture is considered in respect to the coming strategy of a renewed moralism on the part of the British Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher, via a ‘return to Victorian values’. In this respect, Squire Horror can be considered to critically engage with a key ideological discourse of the 1970s. The chapter concludes with a preliminary filmography of British Squire Horror, acknowledging that this grouping is not as strong or artistically coherent as Folk Horror filmographies.
CitationHalligan, B. (2023) Toward 'Squire Horror' : Genesis 1972-1973, in Edgar, R. & Johnson, W. (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror. London: Routledge,
TypeChapter in book
DescriptionThis is an author's accepted manuscript of a chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror edited by Robert Edgar & Wayne Johnson, available online: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003191292 The accepted manuscript may differ from the final published version.