Widely regarded as one of the foundational 'Unholy Trinity' of folk horror film, The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) has been comparatively over-shadowed, if not maligned, when compared to Witchfinder General (1968) and The Wicker Man (1973). While those horror bedfellows are now accepted as classics of British cinema, Piers Haggard's film remains undervalued, ironically so, given that it was Haggard who coined the term 'folk horror' in relation to his film. In this Devil's Advocate, David Evans-Powell explores the place of the film in the wider context of the folk horror sub-genre; its use of a seventeenth-century setting (which it shares with contemporaries such as Witchfinder General and Cry of the Banshee) in contrast to the generic nineteenth-century locales of Hammer; the influences of contemporary counter-culture and youth movement on the film; the importance of localism and landscape; and the film as an expression of a wider contemporary crisis in English identity (which can also be perceived in Witchfinder General, and in contemporary TV serials such as Penda's Fen).
'It is an intriguing journey and one very well-written. The matter of film study and review can sometimes come across as too academic and dry, or too self-indulgent, saying more about the reviewer than the art under review, but Evans-Powell falls into neither of these traps. It is a fluid, informative and efficiently communicative read... it is accessible, and of interest to wider fans (and even detractors) of The Blood on Satan’s Claw.'
Andy Paciorek, Horrified
‘Evans-Powell has written a powerful and fascinating monograph that is very readable. He manages to cram a lot of intriguing detail into such a short book yet it never feels as though the reader is overloaded with information, and it always feels relevant and interesting.’
Darren Charles, Folk Horror Revival
‘Evans-Powell’s writing throughout this short volume is interesting and engaging as well as informative… It is clear that Evans-Powell is an extremely knowledgeable and insightful scholar.’
Marita Arvaniti, Fantastika Journal