Lurking beneath the skin
British pagan landscapes in popular cinema
in Cinematic countrysides
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This chapter explores the ways that pagan monuments that are strewn across the British countryside have acquired conventionalised and often subversive meanings. It presents representations of the British pagan countryside in popular culture within a matrix of cultural, formal and historical contexts. The presence of pagan landscapes in popular fiction is, at least in part, based on the spectacular attraction of magic, myth, sex and sacrifice, which are well suited to audio-visual media. Iconic monuments of prehistory in horror-based cinema are often linked to human sacrifice within the context of a barbarous paganism. Blood on Satan's Claw, The Witches and The Wicker Man are British-made horror films that place 'pagan' sacrifice centrally as the source of horror: each are set in the British countryside and emphasise in different ways the links between the landscape and pagan practice.

Editor: Robert Fish

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