Tales of the Supernatural (1970)

About the Film

Shot before the term “urban legend” was used, Tales of the Supernatural analyzes the ways in which horror stories ( or “ghost legends” ) are transmitted, the functions of such stories for the members of the group being filmed, and the relationship between transmission and function in the telling of the tales. The film examines the storytelling situation as a unique communicative event, focusing on the kinesics, proxemics and remarks, reactions, and tensions of the participants. The storytellers, a group of American teenagers, were in no way prompted so that the film could portray the event as it actually unfolded. The narration raises certain hypotheses regarding the nature of storytelling, and discusses the role of horror in oral narrative, literature, and mass media. For folklorists and anthropologists, and those interested in communicative events, performance, the processes of narrating, and the functions of legends and beliefs in America, the film is especially useful. Shot with natural lighting only: six candles and the flickering of a fire in a fireside.


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Sharon R. Sherman, the distributor Sharon Sherman, or Folkstreams.