Halloween and the weeks leading up to Christmas is the right time for genre movies to be released on home video. People are in the mood for horror, the nights are getting darker and if you’re the cool uncle you need to place scary films under the Christmas tree.
This autumn several Scandinavian films arrive in a video store near you, or more likely, in an internet mailorder site. We’ll also remind you of a Swedish cult zombie film that has been restored and is being screened at the cinema (but just once and very locally).
After having been shown in 45 cinemas across Norway, Vidar the Vampire is now available on DVD from Norwegian retailers (via distributor Another World Entertainment). The film premiered at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund in 2017 and went on an extensive festival tour few Norwegian independent films could compete with. Written and directed by Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland, the film (original title: VampyrVidar) is about the titular man Vidar Haarr, a sexually frustrated bachelor farmer who leads a Christian, monotonous and strenuous working life on his mother’s farmstead in the western outskirts of Norway. In a desperate attempt to break free from routine, Vidar prays to a higher power to grant him a life without boundaries. Unfortunately, his prayers are heard and Vidar wakes up one evening as the Prince of Darkness in sin city, Stavanger. As Norway’s once prolific horror film scene is trying to keep its head above water with indie productions, Vidar the Vampire tries to make up for its lack of funding and backing with originality. Also scheduled for a DVD and Bluray release in Sweden on October 31st by Njutafilms and in Denmark on DVD on October 22.
AWE is also releasing Reinert Kiil’s Juleblod (meaning “Christmas blood”) in Norway on , a film that was shown in Norwegian theatres before Christmas last year. The logic if releasing it on home video before Christmas this year can not be disputed. Every year for the last 13 years, a killer has struck on Christmas Eve, giving him the nickname Santa Claus. Police investigators Rasch and Hansen try to solve the mystery before the killer strikes again, but despite their efforts, it seems that Northern Norway will see the crimson again. A group of friends who are gathering to celebrate the holiday do not realize that a crazy Christmas killer is on the loose and nearby. The film will also be released in Sweden on Bluray, DVD and VOD by Njutafilms on November 28 under the title Midvinterblod (“Mid winter blood”), and in Denmark on DVD and VOD on November 26 under its original Norwegian title.
Arriving on DVD and Bluray on November 5th is the Swedish The unthinkable (original title;Den blomstertid nu kommer) with a story that suggests what happens if Swedish infrastructure and society are attacked by a hostile force. The film title refers to a Swedish summertime hymn, but the disaster movie is far from a cosy pastel summer fantasy. It is midsummer and war alarms are set off. Phone lines, TV and the internet are down, helicopters explode in the sky, and a series of violent attacks take place around the country. Set in a post-apocalyptic near future, Alex returns to his home town to patch up with his estranged father. He also tries to reunite with his youth love, Anna, during their attempt to save themselves and survive until a new Sweden emerges. Extras include director’s commentary, deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage and production diary.
An honorable mention also goes to the Swedish retro pop culture celebration Videoman (original title; Videomannen), directed by Kristian A. Söderström and starring Stefan Sauk, Lena Nilsson, Morgan Alling, Sven Wollter and Amanda Ooms. Ennio, a VHS collector with a drinking problem, finds a valuable movie – a rare edition of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie – that could save him from eviction. When the movie gets stolen he starts a desperate hunt for a perpetrator. An alcoholic woman obsessed with the 80s is a victim of work place bullying and struggles to develop a relationship with her grown up daughter. These outsiders, joined by nostalgia and broken dreams, starts a romance and make each other self aware, a step in the right direction when trying to solve their respective problems. At the same time, Ennio’s life is starting to look more and more like an old Italian horror film. To be released by Studio S in Sweden on DVD and Bluray on November 14.
A special mention also goes to Die Zombiejäger (2005), possibly the first Swedish zombie feature, made by the Lloud Kaufman of Sweden, Jonas Wolcher. There might be a new DVD of the film in 2019, but for now the film is making a brief theatrical comeback in Gothenburg on October 26 in a 2K restored version. At the event screening there will be special makeup stalls, cosplay, actor appearances and a prop exhibition. The film was summed up like this in our review: “Most things are “bad” in Die Zombiejäger, from the DV images to the make-up and acting. But that is, in a way, by design. The problem is not beer money movies like this that fail to be good enough for a mainstream audience; the problem is professional films with a million dollars that fail to entertain. And Die Zombiejäger never fails to entertain, even if it is on the so-bad-its-good level.”
While you are planning your shopping, order a copy of the very limited edition Hermit: Monster Killer that was released on DVD in April. Inspired by American genre films such as Tremors and Grabbers, as well as the Norwegian Troll Hunter and the British Shaun of the Dead, Ola Paulakoski’s campy Troma-esque feature takes place in Värmland in Eastern Sweden. A region where people are happy. Clean air, crystal clear waters, green forests. The perfect life, until the day the bad thing happened. The day the MONSTER came! A mysterious beast that threatens to tear the town apart and eat every man, woman and pet it comes across!