By Odin’s Beard! Other Norse Myths in Film

With Thor being this weekend’s big release, I thought I’d run down some other films that lean heavy on Asgard.

1. The Virgin Spring (Odin)
This 1960 Ingmar Bergman film is a stark morality tale about a man dealing with the rape and murder of his daughter. The film also explores the relationship between religion and morality, redemption, vengeance and justice. The daughter’s rape and murder may also have been put in motion (unconsciously) by her stepsister, an Odin-worshipper, and the god himself even briefly appears in the film. This film is a brutal masterpiece.

2. The Mask (Loki)
The Jim Carrey superhero-fantasy-comedy was released the same year as Ace Ventura, Pet Detective and Dumb & Dumber, making 1994 the height of Jim Carrey’s comedy film career. Carey plays Stanley Ipkiss, a shy bank clerk who finds a mysterious mask that grants him trickster powers, makes him impervious, and lowers his inhibitions. He later learns that the Mask is a depiction of the Norse trickster god, Loki.

3. Erik the Viking (Fenrir, Ragnarök)
This film uses a lot of names from Norse mythology and Viking history, but it also features Fenrir the wolf swallowing the sun, starting Ragnarök as the film’s McGuffin. Python-alum Jones directs, but his cut is much too long, so the Director’s Son’s Cut, clocking in a much tighter 75 minutes is the best way to see this one.

4. Clash of the Titans/Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, (The Kraken)
Although the name Kraken is from the Norse sagas themselves, the idea does stem from other mythological Norse beasts, and the term originated in Norway c. 1250. A gigantic cephalopod, the Kraken has been popular in films, appearing in both the original and remake of Clash of the Titans, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End.

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