In the vein of ’70s folk horror, Lord Of Misrule transports viewers to the British countryside for a bit of hedonistic chaos. Directed by William Brent Bell (The Boy, Orphan: First Kill), Lord Of Misrule follows Rebecca Holland (Tuppence Middleton), who has recently taken over as a small-town priest. When her young daughter Grace (Evie Templeton) goes missing at the local harvest festival, a desperate search begins. The closer they edge towards finding Grace, the more secrets emerge from the town’s dark past. Soon, Rebecca must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice to rescue her daughter from the grip of evil.

Jason Newmark and partner Laurie Cook developed the script together, the duo had wanted to work with screenwriter Tom de Ville for some time: “We pitched him the concept of a vicar as a central character battling an evil force that was linked to their city church” explains Laurie Cook, “Tom took this idea and came back with something wholly original, with its own detailed mythology, resetting the story to a rural village and weaving in a backstory about the origins of the church there and its battle with a pagan sect.”

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Director William Brent Bell recalls when Lord of Misrule was first brought to his attention by producer James Tomlinson, arriving with a note that simply read, “This is good.” Within the first few pages, Bell knew he was right. “I was enthralled by Tom’s disturbing pagan mythology with haunting imagery that framed this drama of a missing child. In my experience, it’s rare to find such well-written and beautifully dark material. My head was spinning with ideas for how to make this film, and I couldn’t wait to do it.”

Previously titled Heretic, the story was set in London, pitting the protagonists against devil worshippers. The script eventually took a turn to the countryside, and de Ville created an old superstition (Gallowgog) that would take over the village when the vicar’s child went missing. While de Ville was researching British pagan beliefs, he came across the concept of the Lord of Misrule – anarchic masters of ceremony who used to oversee the old heathen festivities. “I realized that a Lord of Misrule was in many ways an opposite and equal figure to a priest – a figure who could turn faith on its head and push people to do terrible things in their name. There are at least a couple of political figures I can think of in the last few years who have done exactly that!”

Lord Of Misrule hits theaters and VOD on December 8, after making its World Premiere at Screamfest 2023 on October 19. Check out the full trailer below.

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