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John’s Horror Corner: Dead Snow (2009; aka Død Snø), an extremely bloody Norwegian movie about Nazi zombies inspired by Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi.

January 23, 2019

MY CALL: Strongly inspired by Peter Jackson’s Dead-Alive (1992) and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise (1981-1992), this was silly and fun with some outstanding levels of gore, ridiculous circumstances and a healthy dash of manic humor. MOVIES LIKE Dead Snow: For more Nazi horror, go for Green Room (2015), Yoga Hosers (2016), Manborg (2011), Hellboy (2004), Zombie Lake (1981), Oasis of the Zombies (1982), Frankenstein’s Army (2013), Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991), Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003), Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012) and Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017).

What ever happened to nice cushy resorts? Working phones, indoor plumbing, people who you can call for help nearby… not here. A group of Norwegian medical students venture to an extremely remote arctic cabin for winter sports and party shenanigans. After learning the dark history of Nazi occupancy in the region, they discover a small treasure chest filled with gold coins that fuel Nazi zombies with murderous rage like the greedy Leprechaun (1993).

A combination of a lively soundtrack, congenial energy and playful flirting of the characters, prepare us for the kind of entertainment fueled more by fun gasps than frightened screams. Despite the opportunity to be quite dirty, the insinuations of sex lacked gratuitous nudity—keeping things much more classy than, say, the graphic sex scenes of the Wrong Turn sequels.

This gory film wears its Jackson-Raimi-flavored influence clearly on its sleeve. Once our zombies are introduced, some decent gore gags transpire—LOTS of intestines and head smashing and blood splatters, a head being ripped open and the brain plopping to the ground (like Dead-Alive, referenced additionally by Jeppe Beck Laursen’s Braindead shirt), some feisty applications of severed heads, chainsaw stuff (Evil Dead), and someone actually repels using intestines like rope!

This movie was very entertaining, and very dumb—or maybe silly is a better word. I mean, it’s something of a horror comedy and I’m pretty sure the writers knew exactly what they were doing. But even in a genre littered with characters making poor decisions or events that make no sense or monsters “magically” appearing in the darnedest places and times, this movie ranks high in this territory. But not to its detriment really. This movie is much more about sheer mania and the lovely stark contrast between a bright red blood-splattered face against the blaring white of the arctic landscape; a LOT of blood and a LOT of white snow. As the gore ramps up, circumstances grow ever more ridiculous.

I appreciate a good outhouse scene (e.g., The Hills Have Eyes II, Friday the 13th part V). Outhouses are places of vulnerability, claustrophobia, potential grossness and awkward humor. Drag a victim into the well below and, well, yeah—it’s gross. Even more so, I enjoyed how the gore continued to amplify as the film continued. Even when I thought it was already very bloody and gory, it subsequently reached Evil Dead (2013) levels of chunky massive quantities of gore such that the whites of one’s eyes practically glow against their gore-caked face. We even enjoy the utter screaming insanity of a chainsaw self-amputation.

Written (in part) and directed by Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead), I was happier with this film than I expected. I expected fun and dumb and probably mostly forgettable. What I got was silly and fun with some outstanding levels of manic gore. I’m now very excited to see part 2!

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