Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021, dir. Kier-La Janisse)

A history – and a geography – of this mode of storytelling in film and television. More folk than horror, this overlong documentary is somewhat unfocused (depth is sacrificed for breadth), but nevertheless interesting. Feels like a TV series re-edited without titles: something to dip into rather than watch in one go. Worth your time though.

Here’s the trailer.

In Search of Darkness, Part II (2020, dir. David Weiner)

A continuation of the documentary exploration of 1980s-made (mostly) US horror. Much more (4.5 hours) of the same, though with some deeper cuts this time around. Depth is sacrificed for breadth, and the pattern of trailer clip plus talking head per movie gets repetitive, but there’s affection on display for the genre throughout.

Here’s the trailer.

Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman (2021, dir. Jon Spira)

A documentary about now-veteran stuntmen from the UK. Straightforward but fascinating tribune to the likes of Ray Austin, Vic Armstrong, Jim Dowdall, Rocky Taylor, Nosher Powell and Paul Weston: familiar names – if not faces – from TV and movies. A niche and worthwhile, backed with plenty of clips and a a geezerish Ray Winstone narration.

Here’s the trailer.

Out Of Print (2014, dir. Julia Marchese)

A documentary about revival cinema (and the need for there to be 35mm prints of movies), focusing on the New Beverly cinema in Los Angeles. A straightforward but charming little film about cinema, the communal experience of watching together, and about movie-going. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini (2019, dir. Jason Baker)

A documentary on the life and career of SFX legend and actor Tom Savini. Straightforward and positive overview, with plenty of supportive talking heads and clips from across Savini’s output. Everyone seems to like him, and he comes across well, though a little grit in the oyster might have produced something more valuable.

Filmworker (2017, dir. Tony Zierra)

A documentary about Leon Vitali, who turned from acting in Barry Lyndon – abandoning an established career – to become director Stanley Kubrick’s amanuensis from the mid-70s on. Fascinating case study of fan-worship and obsessions, of the tolls that they can take, and of the centrality of lived experience to cinematic legacy. Recommended.

The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist (1998/2019, dir. Nick Freand Jones & Mark Kermode)

The restored festival-circuit cut of this authoritative making-of documentary. An object lesson in how to do this kind of thing. While reliant on interviews, the scope of the investigation of The Exorcist‘s production, release, legacy and UK censorship issues – including excised footage from the film – means that the approach used here remains influential. Recommended.