CT543/4 - Jez Strickley

CT543/4 Information

Editorial – Black Light

By Jez Strickley

“We know you lead the coven now, but we know the old ways. Thirteen be the number.” (Image of the Fendahl, 1977, Chris Boucher)

On midsummer’s day, the sun’s arc towers over the horizon. Crops ripen under blue-glass skies and the diurnal world outshines the night. Fêtes pitch up on village greens and travelling fairs lay anchor for a night or two. All very splendid and idyllic. Yet these Arcadian scenes can give rise to an unusual kind of scare-making, known as folk horror. Here, rural traditions are upended, communities are cut off and dark forces conjured up. In short, darkness is found in light, black light, if you will.

“Cailleach, Cailleach, Cailleach, we come to do your bidding.” (The Stones of Blood, 1978, David Fisher)

Doctor Who has drawn on folk horror associations on several occasions. Matt Barber explores one of the earliest instances in The Dӕmons and J. R. Southall finds an intriguing link in the grisly happenings of the Torchwood episode Countrycide.

Fresh from his Christmas comic strip article, Ian Scales digs the dirt on the occult happenings in another Yuletide special. Hamish Crawford proffers his thoughts on Big Finish’s The Chimes of Midnight and Arthur Wellow unearths unnatural happenings in Fetchborough and Bilehurst Cragg. Meanwhile, Nick Mellish tells us why there’s nothing otherworldly about Skaro and Michael S. Collins finds a ghostly subtext in the series’ first two-part adventure.

Fifteen years after its first appearance in CT, my occasional column ‘Monstrous Motives’ serves up its final offering.

“There will be no visitors to the village. It’s been isolated from the outside world. No one can enter or leave.” (The Awakening, 1984, Eric Pringle)

Fiona Moore and Alan Stevens list 50 Cool Things about Horror of Fang Rock, beautifully complemented by Tim Keable’s wonderful postcard art, free with this issue. My sincere thanks to Alan Stevens for helping to arrange this gift. Continuing with the artistic theme, Nicholas Hollands has produced another excellent full-colour layout and Andy Lambert’s wraparound cover is simply fabulous.

I’m grateful to Chrisi Pashley for photo enhancement and Ann Worrall for proofreading. Grant Bull’s evocative ‘Ghosts Within’ closes the issue.

“You have to stay within the village. You mustn’t go beyond the sign.” (Village of the Angels, 2021, Chris Chibnall and Maxine Alderton)

This edition is very likely my final turn in the editor’s chair. It’s been a pleasure to guest edit CT and a tremendous privilege to work with such a talented group of artists and writers. I’m especially grateful to Paul Winter for taking a punt on my editing in the first place, Rik Moran for his patience and Ian Wheeler for his counsel. I’d also like to thank Tony Jordan for his support and for giving me the chance to bow out with this year’s summer double issue.

CT is a wonderful institution in and of itself. I wish its new permanent editor James Ashworth every good fortune.

With all best wishes for the future,