17 Comments

  1. The bipedal deer in the Bliss is actually a bit scary. I can’t think of the specific horror or terror film, but I associate this image to stories involving malign gangs of men who would wear animal heads as costume in battle or home invasion.

  2. @ Dana K – Now that you mentioned that, he sort of reminds me of the character “Herne the Hunter” in the old BBC “Robin Hood” series. It’s been a long time since I watched it, but as I recall, Herne was initially a fairly threatening mystical creature, but was later retconned (in the second or third season) into an ordinary huntsman wearing a deer mask.

  3. A stag headed or horned man was a common feature in European, especially Celtic, folklore. It was a prominent figure Patricia McKillip’s “Stepping from the Shadows”; a really creepy book.

  4. Herne the Hunter appears in Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. It’s set in England in the late 40s, and the wood is a Tardis-like affair, only three miles square on the outside but much bigger as explorers penetrate deeper into it and further back in time.

    The wood is is referred to by the critic John Clute as “an ‘abyssal chthonic resonator’ because it creates and is home to myth-images, or mythagos, who are creatures (including animals, monsters and humans) generated from the ancient memories and myths within the subconscious of nearby human minds”.

    Wikipedia continues: “As they are formed from human myths, they [the mythagoes of the title] vary in appearance and character depending on the human memories from which they formed. For example, there may be, over a period, many different forms of King Arthur, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter and others, all looking and acting differently, yet all with the same basic functions and all acting by the rules set by their defining myths.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythago_Wood

  5. I am not usually frightened by ‘spooky stories’, but last week I DID have to stop reading one; it featured people wearing deer/stage heads . . . something deep inside me was really frightened by that.

  6. Re: ‘Mythago Wood’: the idea was exciting but the writing didn’t appeal very much to me; too verbose (or convoluted? I read it a long time ago) despite some good pages.

  7. Hmm…. I’m not really scared of the masks or the horns but there’s something about the jawline and mouth of a deer’s head on a bipedal human body that seems wrong.

  8. I remember liking Mythago Wood at the time, also a long time ago, in the 80s I think. I think it got a bit dense as you got further in (a bit like penetrating the mysterious wood itself)… I don’t remember it being very plot-driven, and perhaps it got repepepititive. The language was probably supposed to evoke the 1940s. I bought a couple other of Robert Holdst’s Mythago books but didn’t get round to reading them.

  9. I’m not familiar with Mythago Wood but I know the feeling when a narrative you’re following gets repepepititive, or even repepepepitititive! 🙂

  10. Since the Rite of Spring centenary in 2013 I have been watching and rewatching many videos of that ballet, mostly performances using the 1987 reconstruction. (An exception would be the amazing Pina Bausch version.) Anyway, since this Deer thread started I’ve been looking to take screen shots where the Bear Men and (I think they are elk) Elk Men wearing their totem heads can be clearly seen. Different productions use them more or less prominently, but I didn’t find really good shots. I think I will go back to the Joffrey debut clips, or the (oof try to spell this) Maryanski full-length single clip one, where the backdrop shows these guys fiercely imagined.

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