October is Halloween month and Halloween is horror movie time! ?
The Nordic countries seem to have found their niche in dark depressing crime drama (like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), but it’s not all we do. In the past 10 years, a few surprisingly good horror and horror/comedy movies have come out. Here are some of my favourites:
Ragnarok (Gåten Ragnarok, Norway)
An archaeologist is investigating some mysterious remains from a Viking gravesite and find clues hinting at events connected to Ragnarok (the end of the world according to Nordic mythology) and also to a location in the remote and uninhabited wilderness in the northern end of Norway.
In true Indiana Jones style he forms a small team and set out to uncover the rest of the story. As it turns out, there are things far worse (and far more alive) than ancient Vikings lurking in the depths of the earth…
This is more of a monster/adventure movie than straight up horror, but it’s definitely worth a watch as you get to 1) see some seriously gorgeous landscapes, 2) listen to the lovely Norwegian language, and 3) meet a pretty badass female character who ends up saving the nerdy guy way more than he saves her.
Frostbitten (Frostbiten, Sweden)
A geneticist at a hospital in north Sweden is conducting shady experiments on a comatose patient. One of his medical students steals a bottle of the pills used in the experiment thinking it’s drugs, and the pills are subsequently spread among a group of his friends. Unfortunately, the comatose patient is actually a vampire and the pills are actually capsules of vampire blood. Slowly, all the people who have taken the pills are starting to change.
Now, vampires are always bad news, but when you’re above the arctic circle and it’s in the middle of winter… then they’re REALLY bad news. You have yourself a true vampire’s paradise when dawn is a whole month away.
This is a low-budget but still charming horror/comedy movie. Kinda cliché vampires, but it’s funny and the eerie setting makes the movie a bit unusual.
Dead Snow (Død Snø, Norway)
If I say “Nazi zombies going on a killing spree in the Norwegian mountains”, what would you say?
To enjoy this you will need a certain type of humour, so don’t bother if your answer is “sounds pretty fucking stupid”. If you’re like me though and think it sounds brilliant, then you should definitely watch this! :D
Dead Snow is a horror comedy about a bunch of students going on a skiing holiday in the mountains where they manage to wake up a legion of dead nazis. It’s very very cliché is a lot of ways, and very very original in others.
Here it became and instant cult classic, and it has gained a lot of international attention as well.
Has some sequels, but I haven’t watched them yet.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Finland)
A local hunter and his son accidentally manage to capture a real Santa Claus outside their homestead in northern Finland. Realising this is something unusual and probably valuable, the hunter attempts to sell it to a multinational corporation digging around a nearby mountain. But a real Santa is not what we think it is, it’s far from the jolly sled-riding character we are accustomed to and a lot more dangerous than you can imagine. And by the way, what is that corporation actually digging for again?
I know the premise sounds kinda stupid, but it’s actually a good movie. It’s unusual, creative, funny, and some scenes are really quite scary.
It’s based on a set of hugely popular short films made by director Jalmari Helander. If you can’t find the full length movie, at least watch the short film Rare Exports Inc. and the Official Safety Instructions!
Trollhunter (Trolljegeren, Norway)
Trollhunter is about a small group of students (of course) making a documentary about illegal bear hunting. They start following someone they think is a poacher, but it turns out he’s something much much worse than that. He’s a troll hunter, and the students are about to learn that not only do trolls actually exist, there is also a national conspiracy to cover it up.
This is one of my favourite movies ever. The story is interesting and the effects are impressive considering it’s not Hollywood. Like Dead Snow, this reached cult status and international acclaim as soon as it came out. If you’re only gonna watch one Nordic horror movie, make it this one! ?