Usually the domain of fantasy, fairy folklore becomes pretty dark when you dig down into the pre-Disney origins, especially when we consider Grimm fairytale literature as an early inspiration to such a cinema scene; some horror movies will run with that macabre genesis! Here are 5 films you can watch that embrace the nasty side of the Sidhe of Ireland – a nation famously rich with folkloric heritage.

Leprechaun (1993)

The elephant in the room, but not quite as silly as the wild sequels would have you believe. The original Leprechaun was simple and violent, its titular antagonist was a cruel and powerful force not to be trifled with. While not exactly following much in the way of traditional tales, no one was stolen away and forced to dance until their feet were destroyed. For example, it had something of a stealing away plot with Warwick Davis’s capricious Leprechaun wanting to force a young Jennifer Aniston into a marriage. Still somewhat silly, there’s a dark edge to the first in the series that carries some weight to how you shouldn’t be messing with the ‘Good Neighbours’ at all, or else there will be consequences…

The Hallow (2015)

A modern take on the otherworldly fae snatching away children, that does some interesting choices with bold imagery. Meshing together the traditional association of fungus to fairies, and a contemporary aesthetic of semi-science removed from magic, The Hallow is a visually arresting update of fairytale tropes – confidently featuring some innovative action scenes on top. That flaming scythe sticks in the mind long after the credits have rolled.

Troll (1986)

Frequently overshadowed by its glorious ‘disasterpiece’ of a sequel (which features 0 trolls), Troll feels more like an 80s fantasy movie for kids. Only leaning on the horror deliberately, however, as opposed to just being accidental nightmare fuel as with similarly styled movies. It has a weird amount of fidelity to the idea of the Aos Si, an Otherworld, that is colliding with our mundane reality. Troll is underrated, but too weird to be considered a forgotten classic. An interesting watch that will not become anyone’s new favourite, yet could be worth a movie night with friends for the curious.

The Hole In The Ground (2019)

Something of a companion piece to The Hallow in that it’s a beautifully shot semi-update of older ideas, this time using the idea of ‘The Changeling’. A tense thriller leaning into psychological horror for a lot of its runtime, all the hints seeded across the first two acts contribute massively into a climatic finale. A little slow paced at times, the gorgeous cinematography easily carries it through the quieter setup and consolidates the claustrophobic endgame.

Unwelcome (2022)

A 2022 offering, although the release schedule has been a little chaotic. This is a very interesting one, however, for drawing on the stories of a specific kind of goblin: A Redcap. These goblins need a constant supply of blood or else they will die, so what happens if they aren’t given enough offerings to keep them happy? They will come look for the nearest supply of blood, and they aren’t too worried about how they get it. Unwelcome is set to come to streaming services just before Halloween, and is set to be a great spooky season pick for 2022.

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