We Don't Go Back has achieved its target and its first stretch goal. It will be released in early 2018.
We Don't Go Back is the book version of a project that I've been running on the Room207Press.com blog since 2016. It's a guide to folk horror in film and TV, covering over 80 films from all over the world and from across the history of cinema and television.
Here's the cover:
Folk horror is a genre, mostly of film and TV, in which clashes of remote landscape and obscure belief create a quiet, strange dread.
The central visual texts of folk horror are Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan's Claw, and The Wicker Man, but the themes of folklore, witchcraft, and the landscape that drive these films surfaced in a vast number of films and TV shows (particularly in the UK in the 1970s).
In recent years, folk horror appears to have returned to our screens with films like The Witch, A Field in England, and Wake Wood, but there's ample evidence that it never really went away.
We Don't Go Back is an attempt to create a sort of personal taxonomy of film and TV folk horror.
The title is a line from the 1975 play Murrain and is for me one of the central tensions of folk horror: we don't go back to the past, because if we do, it consumes us; and if we don't, the past finds us anyway.
Out in the isolated places unusual superstitions flourish, and these are the places we came from. The old places. Even if the old gods have died, there's something about these ancient geographies that makes new gods flourish where the old once reigned. The old grounds, lain fallow, are fertile for this sort of thing. But we don't go back.
While British TV of the 70s was its most fertile breeding ground, you can find examples of folk horror (and things like it) from all over the world and from any of the last five decades.
We Don't Go Back is a collection of essays about films, in a nice fat paperback book, trade sized (6" x 9"/152.4mm x 228.6mm), and revised and expanded from their original publication at Room207Press.com. In the last nine months, I've written posts about well over 50 films and TV programmes which fall under the umbrella of folk horror, from all over the world.
Here are some examples of essays I've posted online:
The whole list of all the essays to date is here – it's regularly updated.
I like the idea of a book that offers new perspectives on old favourites and introduces obscurities and rarities.
As well as an in-depth and personal essay unpacking what each film is about, each entry will have a short summary, without spoilers, and a pictorial guide with little icons: one for horror, one for gore, one for an important film, one for toad-worshipping satanist undead bikers on the mean streets of Walton-on-Thames, and so on. Some films have alternative titles, so I'll have a bit on that if it's necessary. I'll also include a short note about the availability, because it matters that you are able to find these films.
We Don't Go Back is a book for people who love films and want to respond to them. I want people to see these films, but I also want them to think about them. I would love you to pick up my book and use it as a tool to engage with these films, to draw out of them meaning.
We Don't Go Back includes essays on the central texts of the genre:
Night of the Demon (1957)
Witchfinder General (1968)
Blood on Satan's Claw (1970)
The Wicker Man (1973)
But also there'll be writings on a whole variety of other media, from horror to documentaries, kids shows, and comedies. I'll include episodes of longer running TV shows that touch on folk horror themes, and on things which run the gamut from cheap genre fare to high art.
Häxan: Witchcraft Though the Ages (1922)
Onibaba (Demon Woman) (1964)
Carnival of Souls (1962)
Eye of the Devil (1966)
Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968)
The Owl Service (1968)
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Valerie a týden divů) (1970)
Play For Today: Robin Redbreast (1970)
Ghost Stories for Christmas (1970-1978)
The Devils (1971)
Doctor Who: The Daemons (1971)
Dead of Night: The Exorcism (1972)
The Stone Tape (1972)
Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973)
Play For Today: Penda's Fen (1974)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Against the Crowd: Murrain (1975)
Requiem for a Village (1975)
Beasts: Baby (1976)
Children of the Stones (1977)
The Last Wave (1977)
Play For Today: A Photograph (1977)
Play For Today: Red Shift (1978)
Watership Down (1978)
The Shout (1978)
The Moon Stallion (1978)
Casting the Runes (1979)
Sapphire and Steel: Assignment Two (1980)
Eyes of Fire (1983)
Children of the Corn (1984)
The Company of Wolves (1984)
Doctor Who: The Awakening (1984)
Robin of Sherwood: The Swords of Wayland (1985)
The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)
The Woman in Black (1989)
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1989)
The Reflecting Skin (1990)
The Green Man (1991)
Century Falls (1993)
The X-Files: Jersey Devil (1993)
The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995)
Photographing Fairies (1997)
Ring (Ringu) (1998)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)
Simon Magus (1999)
Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible: Scream Satan Scream! (2001)
Look Around You: Ghosts (2003)
The Village (2004)
A View from a Hill (2005)
Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) (2006)
Wake Wood (2009)
Winter's Bone (2010)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
The Turin Horse (A Torinói ló) (2011)
The Wicker Tree (2011)
Kill List (2011)
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
The Fifth Season (La Cinquième Saison) (2012)
A Field in England (2013)
The Borderlands (2013)
Jug Face (2013)
The Falling (2014)
Midwinter of the Spirit (2015)
Inside No.9: The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge (2015)
The Witch (2015)
Under the Shadow (2016)
A Cure for Wellness (2017)
Get Out (2017)
Dogged (2017) and the rise of grass-roots content
That's more than 80 entries. Right now, there's still space to add even more, but it's already shaping up to be a pretty thick volume.
I'm still thinking about how to arrange them, whether by date, category, country of origin, or something else, but however I wind up doing it, I'll have alphabetical and categorical indexes in the back of the book.
We Don't Go Back isn't a reference book. It's not really a collection of reviews, either. Each essay will give you an idea about whether I liked the film it's about or I didn't, but they're personal responses, and they are there to be dipped into, read, and enjoyed.
We Don't Go Back is the sort of book that gives you an idea of what a film is like and which, after you've seen it, gives you something to think about (and maybe disagree with). There are many great books that deal with the technical and historical aspects of film. But I want to think about what films tell us about ourselves and the world we're in. I want to think about how the story of a film influences our own story.
I want each essay to be the start of a conversation.
Oh, and this also isn't for kids. Not because the book is especially adult, but because it's writing in detail about the sort of film that isn't for kids either. If you can legally watch an 18 certificate film (and want to), you're OK, though.
Dark powers tempt you with pretty things... and so do I.
For £10: Happy Day
For a tenner, you get digital copies of We Don't Go Back (in PDF and epub formats, as well as digital versions of any extra books unlocked in the stretch goals. As an added bonus, I'm throwing in digital copies of my collection of supernatural fiction, this is not a picture (and here's a review of it).
As well as that, you get your name in the back of the book (or books), and my thanks.
For £25: The Taste of Butter
Wouldst thou like the taste of butter? Well, I can't promise that, but I can give you a nice paperback book, as well as everything above.
For £35: No More Desirable Residence
There will be no more desirable residence than your house, because aside from everything above, you get a second print book. This is where it gets complicated. One of those must surely be We Don't Go Back. Your second might be a second copy for a spooky cinephile pal, or a copy of one of the books unlocked in the stretch goals. I'll ask you in the survey.
For £45: Live Deliciously
No folk horror Kickstarter goes without a reward called "Live Deliciously". It's kind of essential really. Here, you get everything above, and a third print book. And the same considerations apply.
For £55: Your Secret Power of Attraction
This is the same as Live Deliciously (three books, ebooks) but you also get a genuine vintage 1970s occult magazine from my archive, and a handwritten note of thanks. I'll ask which one you'd like when the survey comes around, but it's first come first served.
For £100: Whistle and I'll Come to You
Again, it's the same as Live Deliciously (three books, digital versions), but I will also watch and write about any film you ask me to on the Room207Press.com blog by September; and, IF IT IS APPROPRIATE TO DO SO (that is, if it is a folk horror/urban wyrd/cult/identity horror film I haven't included), I will also include it in one of the books this campaign funds.
And I mean ANY film here. Recently, I got paid to review King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, so it doesn't even have to be a good one (although, I'd hope that for a hundred quids, you'd want something that's worth your money, and my time). The limits are these:
1. It can't be on the list already (because, duh);
2. I have to be able to source a copy legally;
3. It can't be "adult" (you know what I mean), or 720 hours long, and it can't have the words "A Serbian Film" or "Human Centipede" in the title.
You'll get acknowledged on the blog by name (and, if the essay makes the cut for a book, in print).
If this campaign makes its (modest) target, I'll be able to pay my collaborators for their essays, and pay for a cover illustration too, and I'll be able to put my time into editing, proofing, and laying out my book.
If We Don't Go Back makes significantly more than its target, it'll allow me to publish my companion volumes to We Don't Go Back, each one a further, shorter, more focussed collection of film essays.
At 200% of target...
THIS GOAL HAS BEEN REACHED!
I can publish On a Thousand Walls: A Watcher's Guide to the Urban Wyrd.
This will include essays about:
Quatermass and the Pit (1958)
Death Line (1973)
Play For Today: Brimstone and Treacle (1977)
Repo Man (1984)
After Hours (1985)
Death and the Compass (1996)
The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz (1999)
Pulse (Kairo) (1999)
Marebito (The Stranger from Afar) (2004)
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2004)
Dead Man's Shoes (2011)
High Rise (2015)
At 300% of target...
I can produce Cult Cinema: A Short Guide to Bad Religion on Film.
The Devils (1971)
Ticket to Heaven (1981)
The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995)
The Magdalene Sisters (2003)
Day Night Day Night (2006)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Red State (2011)
Sound of My Voice (2012)
The Master (2012)
The Path (2016-17)
Although three of these films are also in We Don't Go Back, I'll include fresh essays on them here.
And at 400% of target...
I'll produce The Question in Bodies: Identity Horror in Film and TV.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
Tetsuo 2: Body Hammer (1992)
Brothers of the Head (2007)
The Skin I Live In (2011)
Beyond the Black Rainbow (2012)
Upstream Colour (2013)
Orphan Black (2013-17)
The Neon Demon (2016)
No matter how well the project does, everyone who backs at £10 or above will receive digital copies of all the volumes I produce.
I'm Howard David Ingham. I'm a writer and editor of games, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.
This is me.
I have an MPhil in Late Latin Literature and I've done editorial work for the British Government. I worked on 46 books for White Wolf and Onyx Path (including Vampire, Changeling, Mage, and Promethean) and my work has been published by outlets as diverse as The Big Issue and Scripture Union UK. My blog is at Room207Press.com.
Risks and challenges
• Most of the essays are already written! They'll need to be edited for print, but the lion's share of fair copy is already written, including most of the essays by my collaborators. For the most part, though, I have only myself to depend on.
• The biggest challenge I'll face lies in making a book about film that looks good. There's some wiggle room in including images, but I'm keen to have explicit permission to include any screenshots from the films I write about. I WILL NOT USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. I've got some experience in book design, and I fully intend to create something beautiful, as I have before.
• With the last Kickstarter I ran, I somewhat underestimated the timescales involved in getting a satisfactory product printed – I got the work time right, just not the time it took to get a book uploaded, accepted for print, proofed, checked, proofed again, approved, and then dispatched. I won't make that mistake again. If this project somehow manages to outstrip its modest goals and become really ridiculously successful (blue sky thinking, but you never know), I'll be able to afford to get help with fulfilment.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)