Around the World in 31 Days of HorrorWe now travel to north to Finland. Finland has a long history with cinema and has produced some excellent films. The works of Aki Kaurismäki for example.

The first Finnish horror movie was a 1927 silent film Evil Spells about a curse. In the 1950s there was a boom in the horror genre and in more recent times there has been a plethora hitting the screens. It was really tempting to pick one of my favourite films of the last couple years, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, for today’s entry but I have used it in the past for a Christmas series of posts so I decided to go with something very different.

Today’s pick is the 1952 movie The White Reindeer.

polish_white_reindeer_linenThis eerie film is about a group of reindeer hunters who live a nomadic life on the Lapland. Enter the beautiful Mirjami Kuosmanen, who co-wrote the film. Kuosmanen is recently married to Aslak (Kalervo Nissila) but he has been neglecting her. He goes off hunting reindeer for weeks and when he returns he’s too tired to see to his marital duties. So Kuosmanen goes to the local witch doctor for a love spell. The doc gives her instructions on how to make herself irresistible, not realizing her tragic past. So when Kuosmanen goes off to perform the spell under a sinister-looking shrine in the wilderness things don’t go exactly as planned. She becomes irresistible alright, she’s now a were-reindeer/vampire. She turns into a white reindeer and lures hunters away from their camps to feed on them!

The movie is mostly shot out in the cold snow and it looks fantastic and surreal in black and white. There aren’t many effects, the transformations mostly happen off screen. She’s a woman… Boom! She’s a white reindeer! The movie won quite a few awards at the time including an international prize at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe in 1957.