J.M. FAULKNER teaches English in the Czech Republic, the perfect place to steep himself in a tumultuous history that fuels his curiosity. Outside of work, you can find him hiking in North Bohemian forests with his Czech-British family, Kat and Jasper.
As of yet, they haven’t met any old gods in the forests or mountains of Bohemia. They will keep trying until they do. He has work published or upcoming with Solarpunk Magazine, Cosmic Horror Monthly, Allegory, Nosetouch Press, and Eerie River. Find out more at jmfaulkner.com.
The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest
What do you like most about Folk Horror?
Folk Horror spotlights the inherent superstition civilisation has against its past. It stirs in people feelings of fascination (spiritualism), repulsion (no due process), and a yearning for simpler times. Often, attempts to reproduce traditional ways in the present are fetishized or kitsch. Folk Horror both tempers and indulges our romanticism. It explores social prejudice and the human lens—not to mention it’s a bloody good hoot.
What inspired you to write your FIENDS III story?
Initially, Radegast was a straight thriller about two brothers pinned under a hunk of deadfall—one face-up and one face-down—in the vein of the James Franco film 127 Hours. The brothers needed to overcome their differences and cooperate to survive the elements and wildlife.
That would have been a good story, I think. But the Folk Horror element inserted itself after I hiked up Mount Radhošť in Moravian Wallachia, eastern Czech Republic. There, a statue of the Slavic god Radegast overlooks the Beskid mountain range. I read up on the history and culture in the area and couldn’t resist writing about it. Not to mention there’s a beer that goes by the same name with the horned god as its mascot. You can’t get more metal than that.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
I hope to finish my first novella by April 2023. It’s gothic horror and epistolary. The story concerns the owner of a sugar plantation and her dwindling sanity as she overcomes 18th-century attitudes towards women and a family curse that threatens to thwart her success and take her mind.
I’m also in the planning stages of two more Folk Horror tales inspired by the Czech Republic, where I live and work. Expect plenty of old and capricious gods, untamed nature, hooved beasts, Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, communist partisans, pagans, a stag night gone awry, and jazz culture.