From the snowbound reaches of Lapland comes the strange tale of The White Reindeer (1952), which became Finland’s most famous supernatural movie of the 1950s. It’s one with strong artistic overtones, very close to the work of Ingmar Bergman or Guy Maddin.
When a young bride is disillusioned with her rough, cold-hearted husband, she ventures out into the lonely snow-covered wilderness, seeking help from a shaman. Soon the story takes on some weird shape-shifting scenes as the woman transforms into a white reindeer vampire.
Besides the supernatural theme, this obscure gem also has a valuable ethnographic side. It documents the reindeer herders of Northern Finland, but more importantly it taps into the wonderful pre-Christian pagan folklore and the Sami shamanism of the Lapp region.
This isn’t a horror film in the scary sense: it is much more uncanny and eerie. If that wasn’t enough, the otherworldly snow-bound landscapes are absolutely haunting.
Unforgettable flick, and this will be a high-definition screening.
In Finnish with English subtitles and with a short introduction by Jeffrey Babcock.