October Overlook Madness #31 – Valkoinen peura (1952)

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Welcome to Halloween. Finally this madness is ending and we can all give out a puff of total relief, as we turn another page in this book of horror marathons. Today we jump from 1951 to 1952, and we take a look at this strange and weird Finnish film. Why do we do this? On the last day of the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness they decided to talk about ways of celebrating Halloween, and you can watch it here. As I’ve said before, this has been a wonderful year for this marathon of films, and I’m glad of the result, after what apparently is the last year that the CMM will be done in this classic way. We will find a way though, nothing is lost, you’ll get me talking about 31 horror films next year one way or the other. So, what did I think of our last film? Let’s see. Remember that after this last review we do a ranking of the 10 best and the 5 worst films that we had the pleasure to review, so stick around!

This is more than anything else, more than a horror film, more than a fantasy film, a look at a culture that you’d otherwise never know about. This Finnish work even won a Golden Globe for best foreign film, and it remains to be one of the few genre films to get a shot at this award in any “official” awards show, even though this isn’t quite that attached to the horror genre. In a way it reminds you of classic fables of “being careful what you wish for”, and it mostly follows the same structure and even the same kind of ending that has pervaded the entire cultural spectrum, with examples in Japan, United States, and even in Chilean culture. A woman wants to be desired by her husband, and maybe more people, and thus she finds herself asking the shaman of her village to make her more attractive, what happens is that the shaman tells her that she has to go with a concoction that he has created to the totem nearby and ask for that favor. It is then that he is turned into a white reindeer, one of the most beautiful and desired animals by the members of the community, and thus she becomes the most desired among the men. But it does come with a twist that is maybe a cultural element that I can’t understand: the curse/blessing also comes with fangs, that’s right, she not only becomes a white deer at certain moments, she also grows fangs and attacks the men sucking their blood. It makes up for a strange and alien concept that mostly works, but the fact that is an age old tale about being careful what you wish for, it’s somewhat predictable, and thus less exciting. The cinematography is primitive, but it does bring the white of the snow and the contrast between the animals and the landscape quite the incredible look, so besides the limitations, this is a very good looking movie, one of those obscure gems that if you’re looking for a new country to be represented in future lists, you can always turn to this Finland creature feature.

7/10

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That’s all! So, let’s see how it all went down in 2015.

10 Best Films Reviewed in October Overlook Madness 2015

  1. Les yeux sans visage (1960, Georges Franju)
  2. Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
  3. The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton)
  4. Le sang des bêtes (1949, Georges Franju)
  5. Jacob’s Ladder (1990, Adrian Lyne)
  6. Funny Games (1997, Michael Haneke)
  7. American Psycho (2000, Mary Harron)
  8. Sombre (1998, Philippe Grandrieux)
  9. Frankenhooker (1990, Frank Henenlotter)
  10. The Last Man on Earth (1964, Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow)

And the 5 Worst Films Reviewed in October Overlook Madness 2015

  1. The Wasp Woman (1959, Roger Corman, Jack Hill)
  2. Lost in Detroit (2013, Jeff Moore, Benjie Solorzano)
  3. Frankenstein Unbound (1990, Roger Corman)
  4. Paper Rock, Scissors (2011, Heather Wixson)
  5. Night of the Lepus (1972, William F. Claxton)

I mean, if the least worse film of this year managed to make me put out an 18 minute video, I guess it was a good year, what do you think? Happy Halloween!

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One response to “October Overlook Madness #31 – Valkoinen peura (1952)

  1. As I remember it, it’s an interesting look at a way of life not often depicted on screen, and it looks good, but the narrative is a bit rickety and thin. I don’t think the running-time is much longer than an hour; not enough room to develop the story.

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