Five years of Nordic Fantasy

This week, NordicFantasy.info celebrates its fifth anniversary. On September 23, 2010 our first post was made, and we now enter our sixth year. That’s not a brief moment in internet terms!

Our very first post was a review of Body Troopers (1996), a children’s sci-fi movie about medical mysteries. It was Norway’s first major special effects movie and is not only entertaining for the kids, but educating as well. It was symptomatic of its time; infotainment is a Norwegian tradition, but in the 1990s, genre movies made for pure entertainment was a growing trend, especially within the action and thriller genres, and Body Troopers placed itself somewhere between a “useful” movie to watch and a “fun” movie to enjoy. I don’t think you can place The Troll Hunter (2010) – another special effects movie (that premiered the same year as this blog) – in the “obviously useful” category but you can possibly do that with The wave, this year’s local blockbuster. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that not even safe little Norway is protected from the forces of nature.

The wave also had another purpose, albeit a smaller one. It made Nordic Fantasy rethink its boundaries and internally redefine our meaning of science fiction and fantasy. We don’t cover action movies, unless they have an element of magic, superstition, aliens or monsters in them. The wave is fiction based on reality, but it is also a science fantasy, in the sense that it exaggerates, expands, streches and speeds up. Since very few disaster movies are made in the Nordic region – The wave is the first one, if your definitions are strict – we decided to include the genre in our areas of coverage from now on. We’ll get back to the genre later. It’s nice to grow, develop and expand, even as a blog. It’s even nice that Nordic genre movies also expand, grow and develop. Our region is on a wave of progress….

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Last fall we reported on nearly 140 upcoming movies, TV projects and short films from the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres. Some of these have already premiered, such as the Finnish The Shadow Seamstress, which is a period thriller/horror movie set in the 1930s. That is in itself unusual for a Nordic genre movie. It’s interesting to notice how Finland is creeping up behind Norway as a solid force in Nordic genre films, with everything from the big-budgeted Iron Sky 2 to wacko indies such has Bunny the killer thing and The curse of The Plywood, about love, loss and death – with nudity, gore and plywood. The Finns are crazy, but in a good way, and we need that in the Nordic film scene.

What: NordicFantasy.info is dedicated to the documentation and promotion of genre movies from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland (the Nordic countries). The website aims to inform about films, video and TV within the science fiction, fantasy, exploitation and horror genres, as these genres are the smallest up here, and deserve more attention. NordicFantasy.info does not cover crime movies, thrillers, action films or comedies.

There is a lot to look forward to. The first sequel to the movie that kickstarted Norwegian horror comes out on October 9th. Dark Woods 2 has a lot to live up to; in 2008, Norway’s second most popular newspaper Dagbladet’s readers chose 2003’s Dark Woods (original title; Villmark) as the scariest Norwegian movie ever. Not that many had been made until then, as it was the first proper Norwegian mainstream horror film. Norway does not have a great tradition for sequels, so nobody raised an eyebrow when Dark Woods did not get a sequel until 12 years later. A sequel that probably will arrive faster is Thale 2, which is not yet confirmed but still continuing the trend of mythology based movies. In that category is also the coming Swedish Stallo, a “troll thriller” with supernatural elements in which the characters will have to face human-like creatures who eat human flesh. Do not confuse that movie with the Norwegian Stallo: The curse of the shaman, a 35.000 euro indie film based on Sami mythology, involving a beast created out of blood and mud by an evil shaman. Expect this movie in January 2016.

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Now that we have this website’s 5th anniversary on our hands, we also wanted to launch a make-over. Things are still pretty much in the same places, but you will notice a few visual changes, which we hope will be to your liking. We have furthermore added two new sections; the most important is the Artwork Gallery, where posters, concept art and video packaging are displayed for any sci-fi, horror, fantasy or exploitation movie or TV project anchored in the Nordic region. Previously we had this section on our Facebook page but it actually belongs on our website, and now it finally has its proper home here. Check back often, as we’ll add not only new and upcoming artwork, but also posters from old movies and classics. You’ll also see that there is a page called Everything – this is where every article written on Nordic Fantasy is listed. It is yet another way to find content, if the text search, tags, categories or date of publication is not enough. Happy surfing!

Why: Fantastical movies are the least produced genre in the Nordic region and it has often difficult to export movies to foreign markets. Nordic movies are mostly known for being very artistic or very mainstream. In fact, sci-fi has never been an important part of Nordic cinema, and horror emerged only in the 00s as a genre to depend on. I discovered that there is no single, good resource on the net that collects information, news and reviews specifically on the topic of Nordic speculative cinema.

evil-ed-headsplit-largeThat’s not all though. To further celebrate our first five years, we are giving away two copies of the Swedish cult classic, Evil Ed. Now, this is not just a random horror movie. The film’s DVD artwork is one of the most striking and graphic film representations to come out of Scandinavia; a head is split in two with an axe. This image is so cool that we chose to use it as the Nordic Fantasy symbol on Facebook! When we tried to use the image in an advert, Facebook rejected the ad, claiming it was too nasty. Evil Ed is a splatter satire about film censorship in Sweden, and tells the story of a film editor slowly going insane by the violence he sees on screen. A movie about movies – we like! We have two DVDs to give away, all you need to do is enter the competition.

Thank you for reading this blog, and here’s to the next five years!

Best greetings from
Glenn, editor
Steinar, research

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