The enchanting tale of Lord of Misrule has completely captivated me, drawing me into a chilling and mystical folklorish universe. The eerie traditions surrounding the Harvest Festival in the enigmatic town are both creepy and intriguing. The film skillfully explores how ancient folklore and tales can influence people’s minds, sometimes leading to destructive practices masquerading as heritage or tradition. The storyline unfolds with a sense of impending horror as the community celebrates the ominous Gallowgog, a feared demon spirit. The chilling revelation of Grace, the innocent little girl, being offered as a “gift” to Gallowgog sends shivers down my spine. Yet, amidst the darkness, Grace’s mother, Rebecca, emerges as a determined woman, striving to rescue her daughter from the clutches of this evil tradition. Rebecca’s transformation into the unexpected Lord of Misrule adds a powerful twist to the narrative. Being a fervent fan of folk horror, I found myself completely engrossed in the film’s narrative. The juxtaposition of fear and celebration, the struggle against ancient evils, and the resilience of a mother’s love make this story not only compelling but also deeply thought-provoking. Lord of Misrule has truly left me in awe, showcasing the darker aspects of tradition while humanizing the characters in a way that resonates with the viewer. What a captivating and chilling cinematic experience!
How Did Grace Get Lost In The Harvest Festival?
Lord of Misrule unfolds with a haunting scene, revealing an abandoned house adorned with portraits, masks resembling Krampus or fauns, and ominous photographs of hands and masked faces. This sets an eerie tone, hinting at the impending gruesomeness that is going to unfold as the story goes forward. The first day, titled “The Gift of Hair,” presents a parallel between the baptism of a child named Emma in the church, symbolizing connection to God, and Grace, a girl who, in a winged dress, cuts her hair to make a doll, symbolizing some sinister practice. Grace then proceeds to harm a rabbit with scissors, seeking permission from mysterious masked creatures. The interplay between demonic deeds and sacred ceremonies forms a captivating dynamic within the film. Then, the day of the Harvest Festival came. Grace, portrayed as a soft-hearted girl, is chosen as a harvest angel for the town’s old festival. Her mother, Rebecca, being a reverend of the church, was skeptical about celebrating this tradition and letting her daughter go to the festival, thinking that these are some sinister practices and people must not continue with them in the name of heritage or tradition. Despite concerns about Grace’s peculiar interests in paganism, wildflowers, death goat masks, and chanting old gods, her parents prioritize her happiness and let her participate.
The festival unfolds joyously, with everyone celebrating except for a masked man preparing for something ominous. He seeks blessings from death goat figures looking like satyr demons, hinting at his mischievous plans. Meanwhile, Grace’s mother observes her daughter happily surrounded by other children, sensing an underlying mystery in Grace’s enjoyment as the harvest angel. The revelation comes when the masked man announces himself as the Lord of Misrule, present to protect the village from the Harvest Blight. He encourages the crowd to chant “Gallowgog” and engages in a staged fight with the menace, delighting the villagers. The festival turns into a chaotic dance around a bonfire, with everyone masked and costumed. Amidst the festivities, Grace’s friend Bryony is seen to be chanting near the bonfire, and suddenly, Grace is nowhere to be found. In a panic, Grace’s mother, Rebecca, searches for her in the woods, following Grace’s sound and laughter. She discovers Grace heading into the jungle with a masked demon creature who was dressed as Gallowgog at the festival. The mother frantically seeks information about Grace from the townspeople, realizing she has lost sight of her. As a viewer, this scene paints a vivid picture of suspense and foreboding, leaving me eager to uncover the mysteries behind Grace’s disappearance.
What Happened On The Second Day After Grace Got Lost?
On the second day, titled “The Gift of Blood,” Grace’s parents, desperate to find their missing daughter, went to the police. Rebecca recounted seeing her in the chaotic woods during the festival with a man dressed like the Gallowgog. However, the police doubted her story, claiming there was no hollow in the woods. Later, when the police came to collect Grace’s belongings for tracking with dogs, the mother, holding a figurine made from Grace’s lock of hair, slept on Grace’s bed. She saw a vision where Grace’s voice urged her mother to find her. Together with the police, they searched the woods and discovered the wings from Grace’s costume. Thus, Rebecca felt closer to finding Grace. As the search continued, the police received a call, revealing a video from the festival. In the footage, Grace was seen with the man dressed as Gallowgog, his face unmasked. Relieved, they believed finding him would lead to Grace. In town, they learned the man was Derry Nash, who lived secluded on Cromwell Bend with his granddad.
Arriving at the Nash farm, an eerie, abandoned place, Rebecca ventured toward a vanity van at the back of the house to find Derry. Mr. Nash, Derry’s granddad, blocked her path and pushed her away, trying to hide something from her. But she went anyway, and inside the van, she saw a horrifying scene —a mutilated animal hanging from the wall. Its body is stretched apart, revealing a chilling display of ribs with torn and bloody skin. Dangling in front of this macabre sight is a doll crafted from a lock of hair, adding an eerie and unsettling element to the nightmarish scene. Under that mutilated animal, there was a message written on a bathtub: “He stands in the fields and waits.” Realizing that the villagers were hiding something from them, Grace’s parents felt isolated and sensed that the place was far from spiritual. Distraught, the mother, holding the doll made from Grace’s lock of hair, slept again. In a vision, she saw Grace in a horned mask, screaming for help in the woods. The mother woke, haunted by the glimpse into her daughter’s terrifying fate.
What Happened On The Third Day After Grace’s Disappearance?
On the third day, titled “The Gift of Fire,” Reverend Rebecca takes the desperate step of addressing the town about her daughter’s disappearance in the church prayer group. She shares her vision and pleads for prayers and assistance, urging everyone to pray to the Lord Jesus for Grace’s safe return. However, a man named Jocelyn, who was dressed as the Lord of Misrule during the festival, dismisses the idea of prayer, revealing that no divine vision guided Rebecca. Instead, he speaks of Gallowgog, the ominous spirit standing in the fields and watching over them. The town organizes a candlelit vigil for Grace, and people come together in prayer, hoping that unity will bring solace. Yet, disturbing rituals continue, with Bryony and her parents tying locks of hair and bloody chicks coming out of eggshells. These events underscore the town’s deepening entanglement with an ominous presence. Rebecca, seeking answers, strolls around the town and encounters Ida, who says something cryptic about an entity that is waiting and watching. Inviting Ida home, Rebecca attempts to say prayers to give her comfort, but Ida insists that “he” wouldn’t like it. Ida forcefully directs Rebecca’s attention to the goat prince, tearing locks of hair and uttering the ominous phrase “all is as it is,” revealing the pervasive influence of the masked entity. Rebecca, troubled and seeking insights, learns from the townspeople about the folklore surrounding Gallowgog and the spirit of the land. The revelation includes a dark history of sacrifices and an eerie black barn built for Gallowgog.
In 1621, Tobias Bron claimed to be in contact with Gallowgog, promising miracles in return for the children of the town. The villagers, oblivious to the heinous nature of the ritual, continued sacrificing children, believing it was a heritage tradition to ward off Gallowgog. Jocelyn’s revelation about his son, Thomas Abney, who disappeared 12 years ago during the harvest festival, adds a personal dimension. He connects the signs—The Gift of Blood, The Gift of Souls tied in hair, and The Gift of Fire burning in the fields—leading to the awaited Midnight Sun behind the Black Barn, revealing Gallowgog’s glory. Despite losing his own child, Jocelyn clings to these beliefs, which felt quite unsettling for me as a viewer. Rebecca confronts the police about withholding information on Thomas, but they discourage her from digging deeper. But she talks to Jocelyn, who shares his experiences and believes that Grace is in the Black Barn with Gallowgog. Returning to the forest, Rebecca hears a man scream, denying involvement in her daughter’s disappearance. As she approaches, she sees a vision of the ominous Black Barn, where loud chanting emanates, further deepening the mystery of Grace’s fate. The narrative unfolds with tension and intrigue, leaving viewers anxious to unravel the secrets surrounding Gallowgog and the town’s dark rituals.
Was Grace Finally Saved?
On the fourth day, titled “All is as It Was,” Rebecca, Grace’s mother, meets Bryony at school, the last person to see Grace before her disappearance. Bryony behaves rudely, initially denying any knowledge of Grace’s whereabouts. However, she eventually reveals a secret nature club in the school’s basement, where they make dolls with their locks of hair. Pictures of masked creatures, including Jocelyn’s, are displayed, hinting at their involvement. Bryony shows a photo of the Lord of Misrule with Grace, taken when she was chosen as a “gift” for Gallowgog. Bryony recounts the town’s belief in Gallowgog, a spirit demanding gifts. Grace was deemed to be the ultimate gift, chosen to bring Rebecca to Gallowgog. Bryony discloses that both the Black Barn and Grace will disappear as the celebration for Gallowgog ends. Rebecca realizes the town’s complicity in these dark acts and understands she must fight for her daughter alone. Praying for guidance, Rebecca has a vision where Grace instructs her to find her using the third sign: fire. At a vigil for Grace, Rebecca witnesses townspeople, including Jocelyn, chanting the ominous phrase “All is as it is.” She confronts Jocelyn, but he declares Grace is with Gallowgog. When Henry, Grace’s father, calls the police to see if they have funded her, they reveal that the case is closed. At the vigil, chaos ensues, and Rebecca learns the town is deeply intertwined with Gallowgog.
Meanwhile, Derry Nash and Rebecca are seized by the masked old families, who took her daughter from her. The clan of the old families, wearing black robes and masks, got hold of Derry and chopped his head off. Rebecca witnessed it, and she was horrified. However, she saw that the man who was in the mask and killed Derry was Jocelyn himself. Rebecca faints witnessing all this before her eyes but when she wakes up she sees that she is surrounded by masked townspeople, followers of Gallowgog. Jocelyn claims revenge for their leader’s death, intending to sacrifice Rebecca for her role as the church’s reverend. As tensions rise, Rebecca’s husband, Henry, becomes their target as they set his head on fire. Realizing the futility of resistance, Rebecca accepts her fate. The townspeople force her to participate in the sacrificial ritual, tearing off the locks of her hair and making a doll. Amidst chants, the midnight sun appears, revealing the Black Barn in the woods. Grace was there, her eyes shut with a cloth, her hair tangled with the woods and stems of the trees, trapped with no way to leave. Rebecca untied her and urged Grace to go with her. Grace, seeing her mother, was happy but also afraid, thinking that Gallowgog wouldn’t let them go. The thunder of his footsteps echoed in the barn, and Rebecca began praying for her daughter in the name of Jesus. The goat prince growled, intimidating Rebecca and hovering over her. However, she took out the hair-locked doll in front of the demon, and he let them go, seeing her courage. Rebecca, with her daughter, faced Jocelyn’s fury for breaking their pact with Gallowgog. Jocelyn threatened to harm her, but Rebecca asserted that she did the most courageous thing, taking back Gallowgog’s blessing—her child—from the barn. Thus, Rebecca declared herself the Lord of Misrule, following Gallowgog’s sign, while criticizing Jocelyn for spreading fear in the village through rituals and the sinister black sun. To end the madness, the masked goats, representing the townspeople, pierced Jocelyn’s heart with a shooting arrow, ending his life, and finally, Grace and the townspeople were saved from all this madness.
As a viewer, these scenes elicited a mix of emotions in me, from tension and fear to relief and triumph. The suspenseful atmosphere and Rebecca’s courageous act create a gripping narrative and have made me empathize with the character’s struggles and celebrate their victory over the dark forces. As the sun rose and a new day began, the church bell rang, signaling a symbolic rebirth. Rebecca and Grace stood before the townspeople, ready to embark on a new narrative of almighty God’s power.
Lord of Misrule‘s ending suggests a potential shift in the town’s belief system away from the dark rituals and traditions that had them in a chokehold. The ringing church bell symbolizes the possibility of awakening and enlightenment, suggesting a departure from the sinister practices associated with Gallowgog. I think this ending implies a transformative journey for the townspeople. Rebecca and Grace, as symbols of resilience and courage, stand before the community, poised to lead them toward a path of righteousness. The intention is to encourage the townspeople to abandon the madness linked to ritual and tradition and embrace a more virtuous and enlightened way of life. While the scene doesn’t explicitly reveal the future actions of the townspeople, it leaves room for optimism and a collective choice to follow a path guided by faith and morality.