A programme of classic horror films is coming to the King’s Lynn

Fear in the Fens - Robert Lloyd Parry as M R James 3. Photo: Shelagh Bidwell.
Fear in the Fens - Robert Lloyd Parry as M R James 3. Photo: Shelagh Bidwell.

A series of spooks are set to send chills down spines in Downham later this month when Fear in the Fens Festival returns.

This year’s event spans two days – September 30 and October 1 – with a packed programme of classic horror movies, live performances and talks.

Festival curator Kit Lewis said this year’s festival had been expanded in response to the success of the first festival in November last year.

He said: “Although we like to think of Fear in the Fens as being Norfolk’s own horror festival, people from as far away as Oxfordshire and Leicester come to watch great films and hear our speakers.

“It shows that the interest in the Fear in the Fens format goes right across the country and that this could become an important part of our off-season economy, in the same way that Bram Stoker festival has in Whitby and Abertoir has for Aberystwyth.”

Mr Lewis said the East Anglian landscape had inspired feelings of dread and terror since Beowulf, the first horror story in English, was written here in the seventh century.

He said this was something that M R James, famous for his ghost stories, knew well as he set some of his “most chilling” tales here.

“This is part of the culture and history of the Fens and something that we should be celebrating more.”

Opening the festival on the evening of Saturday, September 30 is the Nunkie Theatre Company and their performance of Casting the Runes – the M R James story which inspired Night of the Demon. Robert Lloyd Parry is set to portray the famous writer.

On Sunday, October 1, the festival will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the film Night of the Demon as it will be the event’s opening film.

Other films screened will include silent classic The Golem (1920) and Psychomania, a cult British film from 1973, starring Beryl Reid and George Sanders.

Once again, in addition to cult cinema classics, the Fear in the Fens Festival boasts special guest speakers with national and international reputations.

These include Gavin Baddeley, Michael Clarke and Robert Lloyd Parry.

Gavin Baddeley is an historian and author of Vlad the Impaler, Lucifer Rising and Goth Chic, and he will be talking about vampires and the living dead in the UK.

Lecturer and expert on folk magic Michael Clarke will be talking about Jewish folk magic and the Qabalah.

Robert Lloyd Parry is an historian, writer and performer who will be sharing his extensive knowledge of M R James’ life and work to explore the writer’s relationship with the East Anglian landscape.

There will also be lots of short films made by local filmmakers being shown on the big screen – some for the first time.

This is in addition to the Frightful Things Marketplace – a collection of dark arts, crafts and horror-related items for sale – with free entry to the general public.

Tickets to individual events are available from £7, as well as VIP tickets providing entry to all the events for £27.50. These are available from www.fearinthefens.com.