The White Reindeer Blu-ray/DVD

Monday, 01 April 2019 11:47

“The White Reindeer” is a Finnish folk-horror about a frustrated woman who is bewitched by a shaman into a vampiric, shape-shifting reindeer. Pirita (Mirjami Kuosmanen) is the woman in question, left alone in snowy, bleak Lapland when her husband Aslak (Kalervo Nissilä) goes on a long herding trip. At night Pirita becomes the white reindeer, luring man after man into a valley before transforming back into her human form to drink their blood.

Fans of Hammer Horror movies from the 1960s and 1970s will be very familiar with the type of tale on offer here, but the movie feels quite fresh thanks to the shift to Finnish culture and a more documentary-style approach. This is almost a silent film thanks to there being very little dialogue, and atmospheric orchestral backing to keep things moving.

Directed by Erik Blomberg, the film is only just over an hour long which is perfect for such a slight plot; one’s wonder at the glittering, snowy wastes and hundreds of cuddly reindeer does start to flag by the end.

As a horror fan who thinks they have seen it all I welcomed this little curiosity; the picture’s simplicity and direct story-telling are part of its charm.

Special features include:

  • Limited Edition ‘O’ Card Slipcase [2,000 copies ONLY]
  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a 4K restoration completed in 2017 by the National Audio-visual Institute of Finland
  • LPCM audio (original mono presentation)
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Feature Length Audio Commentary by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger
  • “Religion, Pleasure, and Punishment: The Portrayal of Witches in Nordic Cinema” – a new and exclusive video essay by film journalist and writer Amy Simmons
  • “With The Reindeer” – Erik Blomberg’s 1947 documentary short
  • Colour Test Footage
  • 1952 Jussi Awards Ceremony featurette
  • Reversible Sleeve
  • A collector's booklet featuring new writing by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and journalist Philip Kemp

The Blu-ray’s picture quality is very sharp with a little grain, though it does occasionally become a bit ‘smudgy’ for a few seconds. Watching the brief colour test footage after the main black and white film is eye-opening in terms of how it takes you out of the fairy-tale world, and into the real world.

“The White Reindeer” (1952) is out now on dual-format Blu-ray and DVD (two discs), courtesy of Eureka. The main feature has a running time of 68 minutes approx, carries a 'PG' certificate and retails for £19.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:53

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