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Festival programme (provisional)

Those familiar with the Fear in the Fens format know that we like to fit a day and a half's worth of entertainment into one day, and with our return to live events, we have a packed programme for you!

We're just beginning to add details of this year's programme, so keep checking back regularly.
(please note that we may need to make changes to the running order to accommodate speakers' travel arrangement)

Remember, seating is limited this year, so we recommend buying tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Note: we try our best to stick to our busy programme, but we can be subject to technical or other issues beyond our control.


Friday Oct 26
Saturday October 28th, The Alive Corn Exchange
Doors open at 9.00 am for a 10.00 am start - 

Event 1: 10.00 pm - 12.15pm

Welcome speech
Talk: Justin Woodman

Our first talk is an introduction to the most notorious book on the Black Arts. H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon is one of his best-known literary creations: a wholly fictional repository of arcane and blasphemous knowledge whose reputation has arguably surpassed that of the many genuine occult grimoires extant within Western esoteric traditions, and considered by some to be real. 
Justin will explore the history of
the Necronomicon as a literary trope, and the literary and occult ideas and sources which may have influenced Lovecraft’s creation.
I will also examine the wider social and cultural impact of the Necronomicon in a wide range of contemporary media, but also in terms of what the publication of various volumes claiming to be the ‘genuine’ Necronomicon might tell us about the intersections between popular culture and the occult.
Finally, he will explore
what might be considered the ‘real-world’ stand-in for Lovecraft’s dreaded Necronomicon.

Film: The Haunted Palace [1964]
Although named after a EA Poe poem, The Haunted Palace is essentially Roger Corman's re-imagining of Loveraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. One of Corman's best films and remains one of the few translations to the big screen that retains the authentic Lovecraftian sense of eldritch dread. Stars Vincent Price.

Event 2: 12.30 - 1.15 pm
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Nasty, brutish and short

One of the key features of Fear in the Fens is that it offers local filmmakers the opportunity to show their films on the big screen to a festival audience - and  a chance to win the Golden Shuck trophy in the public vote. 

We're already receiving entries for this year's festival, but there's still time to enter your film.


Lunch Break - 1 Hour
Saturday October 27
Event 3: 2.15 - 5.30pm
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Talk: Gary Parsons
Esoteric Books In Occult Cinema
We're very pleased to welcome Gary Parsons back to Fear in the fens following his 2019 talk on Witchcraft films of the 70s.
This year Gary Parsons takes you on a trip through occult books in cinema and discusses the real written works of magick that inspired them. 
"Books play an important part in the partaking of esoteric knowledge, from the oldest Grimoires to the more modern occult paperbacks picked up in your local bookstore.
These volumes have also played a large part in films about the occult for the last 100 years, begining with the film Haxan and taking us on a route through Hammer Horror movies, the psychedelic madness of The Dunwich Horror (1970), the dark humour of the Necronomicon in 1981's The Evil Dead and the darker aspects of use in The Ninth Gate (2000)."

Film: The Ninth Gate [2000]

The newest 'vintage' film we've shown, this stylish horror noir has earned its place among the classics.
Part horror and part detective story, this is loosely based on the Spanish novel The Dumas Club, and has an enduring appeal due to it's strong cast and an intelligent plot capable
of both conventional and esoteric readings.
Polanski's return to Horror following Rosemary's Baby.

Dinner Break - 90 minutes
Event 4: 7pm - 10pm

Talk: Dr Tabitha Stanmore 
"Just some nonsense from the Middle Ages”: The history of magic circles, demons, and spell books in England.
In The Devil Rides Out, Rex Van Ryn's bravado in the face of the occult clashes with the Duc de Richleau's (entirely justified) caution.
Dr Stanmore will take us on a journey into the world of medieval ritual magic and the origins of some of the magic circles and rituals in The Devil Rides Out.
It will show that magic circles really are essential for dabblers in the occult, and how truly terrifying demons can be.

Film: The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Considered by many to be Hammer's finest hour, this swashbuckling period horror-adventure makes good use of Christoper Lee and a solid British cast.
It remains probably the best on-screen adaptation of Dennis Wheatley's work ever made.
Although mostly faithful to Wheatley's book, Lee researched his own additional dialogue and the film contains lines from authentic ritual magic procedures.

Sunday October 28
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