© Horrified Magazine
My horror-writing alter-ego Jim Mountfield has just had a short story published in the new anthology Horror Stories from Horrified (Volume 2): Folk Horror.
‘Horrified’ refers to Horrified Magazine, a webzine devoted to British films, television and literature in the horror genre. The magazine’s current literary editor William J. Brown, its former literary editor John Clewarth and its editor-in-chief Jae Prowse have put this collection together. Meanwhile ‘Folk Horror’ refers – quoting its entry in Wikipedia – to “a subgenre of horror… which uses elements of folklore to invoke fear in its audience. Typical elements include a rural setting and themes of isolation, religion, the power of nature, and the potential darkness of rural landscapes.” Or as Jae Prowse puts it more poetically in his introduction to the collection, it’s macabre storytelling with evocations “of briar and bramble, of the quiet eeriness of rurality, of secrets buried in the earth, and of the fiend in the furrows.”
According to my calculations, my story in Folk Horror is the 40th one I’ve had published under the pseudonym Jim Mountfield. Entitled Bottled Up, it’s set in East Anglia, a place where I lived in 1998, again in 2002, and then again in 2008-2009, and a place that ranks as perhaps my favourite part of England. While a lot of examples of folk horror have strange rural communities welcoming hapless outsiders into their ranks, for nefarious reasons – see Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973) or Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2019) – Bottled Up is about an ancient sect that’s just fearful of outsiders and exists to keep them at bay, something that might resonate in the 2021 Britain of Brexit and Covid-19.
Horror Stories from Horrified (Volume 2): Folk Horror is now available at the Horrified Magazine shop and can be ordered here. Incidentally, the magazine’s previous collection, Horror Stories from Horrified (Volume 1): Christmas is still available, contains another Jim Mountfield story called First Footers, and might be a timely purchase as Christmas 2021 approaches.