What do she-werewolves, women with tails, trolls, and killer violin playing water spirits have in common? Well aside from sounding really freakin' awesome, they're all found in the rich, magical tales of Scandinavian folklore. To even begin to scratch the surface of all of the amazing creatures found in Scandinavian folklore would take a lot of writing, which in turn would take a lot of reading on your part. And you don't want to read that much, right? Good, because we don't want to write that much either. Here's some of the more interesting creatures we came across.
We're starting off with the Huldra because she is the main character of our upcoming Vanguard film, Thale. Legends say she is a beautiful woman with the tail of a cow that lives in the forest. But she's not just your typical sexy lady with a tail living in the woods: she's an oft-evil seductress that lures men into the woods, where they are never seen again. Dudes, if you insist on picking up all of your women in the woods, be careful.
Maras are even cooler than regular werewolves because they are female werewolves. And we can't let the boys have all of the human mauling fun, right? Girl power! Sometimes maras are described as werewolf-like creatures, and other times just as strange wraiths. In either case, you wouldn't want to run into one in a dark alley. In some stories, maras are said to be the cause of nightmares, literally: they lie atop humans and it causes them to have nightmares. Whether it's by some sort of evil power, or just that it would be super terrifying to be straddled by a she-werewolf is uncertain.
Trolls are probably the most popular creature in Scandinavian folklore. These trolls tend to be very big, very hair, and very stupid--a deadly combination. When they're not living under bridges and trying to outsmart goats, they're trying to steal beautiful princesses or cause other kinds of shenanigans. It is said that trolls hate the smell of Christians, so as long as you don't vacation through Scandinavia with a church group, you should be safe. 2010's Troll Hunter was a Norwegian fantasy film that featured a group of students suddenly fighting for their lives after stumbling across a group of trolls.
A Nøkken is a water spirit that plays the violin. Aw, that sounds nice. Who knew water spirits were into string instruments? Except, if you stumble across one, don't ask it to play Pachelbel's "Canon in D Minor". And not just because everyone--yes, even water spirits--hates playing that song, but because this particular water spirit uses the magic of music to lure unsuspecting people to their deaths. Sort of like Nickelback.
To fill more of your Scandinavian folklore fix, don't forget to check out Thale during this year's Toronto International Film Festival--screening times below.
Wed., Sept. 12th, 6:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Thurs., Sept. 13th, 8:45 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 2
Sat., Sept. 15th, 4:15 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 7