Ghosts in the Machine. Folklore and Technology On-screen in Ghostwatch (1992) and Host (2020)

RODGERS, Diane (2023). Ghosts in the Machine. Folklore and Technology On-screen in Ghostwatch (1992) and Host (2020). In: EDGAR, Robert and JOHNSON, Wayne, (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror. Routledge.

[img] PDF
Rodgers-GhostsInThe(AM).pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 9 April 2025.
All rights reserved.

Download (277kB)
Official URL:


Folklore is an integral element of Folk Horror; film and television with supernatural themes often present the performance of folklore (mass-mediated ostension) in order to create a plausible context within which to spook audiences. On Halloween in 1992, the BBC broadcast Ghostwatch, which, presented in the guise of live television, became one of the most complained-about television programmes of all time. The broadcast played with the medium of television itself in order to test the credulity of audiences, featuring a number of techniques blurring boundaries between fact and fiction. The 2020 British horror film Host dealt with this idea head-on, in which a group of young people meet in a Zoom chat during lockdown to hold a séance online. Although framed around a traditional ghost narrative, the background presence of COVID-19, lockdown isolation, and the now-familiar format of Zoom itself are what bring additional unsettling eeriness to Host. This chapter proposes to examine Ghostwatch and Host in terms of their place in a lineage of Folk Horror film and television playing on the format of technology itself.

Item Type: Book Section
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2021 10:14
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 15:30

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics