EYES OF FIRE (1983)
The seminal American folk horror film, unavailable on home video for decades, now debuts in a new 4K restoration from Severin Films, overseen by director Avery Crounse.
Set in 1750 in the colonial era of what would eventually become America, an adulterous preacher is ejected from a small British colony with his motley crew of followers, who make their way downriver to establish a new settlement of their own beyond the western frontier. Protected by the mysterious powers of the mad witch Leah, and feeling themselves guided by providence, they traverse through Shawnee territory to a forest enchanted by strange spirits — brought to life through incredible handmade optical effects — unaware of the heart of darkness they have wandered into.
As scholar Bernice Murphy has noted, the spectre of the colony that fails is one of the most powerful narratives in the American psyche, and embedded in EYES OF FIRE’s criticism of colonial expansion and genocidal conflict is the story of a community that turns against itself in the wilderness — marking it as a significant precedent for Robert Eggers’ THE WITCH. Before the term folk horror became part of the vernacular, a film like EYES OF FIRE would have been called a horror western, or perhaps less specifically, a “weird western.” It is a tale of the American frontier where all are strangers — uprooted, unstable, and increasingly untethered to whatever belief system guided them to the New World in the first place.
Come join us in the valley where the lost blood gathers, and the trees speak of forgotten horrors. (KIER-LA JANISSE)