“I think I have worked out what God is punishing us for: everything.”—Friend, A Field in England
“So here’s to the mushroom family
A far-flung friendly clan
For food, for fun, for poison
They are a help to man.”
FEATURING: Reece Shearsmith, , Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Ryan Pope
PLOT: The English Civil War rages, and a group of deserters bands together. Through bribes, threats, and hallucinogens, an occultist’s agent induces a scholar, a soldier, and a simpleton to aid him in summoning his master, O’Neal. Once brought on to this plane, O’Neal forces the trio to seek and find a treasure of immeasurable value—under pain of annihilation.
- A Field in England was the first major motion picture to be released simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD, video-on-demand, and broadcast television.
- The film’s budget was a modest £300,000 ($420,000 US) and took only twelve days to shoot.
- No females appear on screen throughout the film, though the eponymous “field” is voiced (in a manner of speaking) by a woman.
- On the film’s release, a craft beer was made available to cinema-goers with the film’s informal tagline, “Open Up and Let the Devil In.”
- A limited (400-count) special edition double-vinyl soundtrack album went on sale accompanying the film’s release. For the true fan, a handful of these soundtracks included a blade of grass purportedly plucked from the titular field.
- The number “320” suggests a strong bond to the spiritual and occult world.
- Giles Edwards‘ Staff Pick for the Certified Weird List.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Seeing as how the film begins with a warning about “flashing images and stroboscopic sequences”, there are any number of images that might qualify (though by their very stroboscopic nature, they may be more of a subconscious kind-of-thing). However, the film’s coupling of sinister madness and unlikely humor is perhaps best exemplified by the shot of five souls romping through the field while in search of the mysterious treasure. (Although an earlier scene with a “giddy” protagonist is impossible to erase from one’s mind.)
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Magic mushroom faerie ring; tableaux “frieze” frames; tent from Hell
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Much like the instrumental meal in the story, the movie’s ingredients all work together toward weird ends—individually they are weird, and together they are greater than the weird sum of their parts. The viewer is presented with a black-and-white period piece with amusing, earthy dialogue and hallucinogens in lieu of sweeping drama and battle scenes. Lightning-fast editing, nebulous exposition, and too many occult nods to count all crash together like an ill planet upon the unsuspecting viewer.
Original U.K. trailer for A Field in England
COMMENTS: We hear a man running breathlessly and see a wild Continue reading 320. A FIELD IN ENGLAND (2013)