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"Dead Snow"
Bar Harbor
kestrell and I watched "Dead Snow" yesterday. It's a somewhat silly horror Norwegian horror movie. A group of young medical students vacationing in a remote cabin in the woods accidentally disturb some undead Nazis. Gore ensues.

One interesting feature is that the zombies are rather non-traditional. Notably *not* mindless. They don't talk with each other, but they definitely are capable of coordinated action. Not nearly as decayed as many versions. Preternaturally strong, and reasonably fast (except when he plot calls for them not to be). We see them bite people, but that seems to be more about savagery than about 'hunger for human flesh', as far as I could tell. They clearly do enjoy mutilation, though, as one memorably disturbing scene makes eminently clear. Their Oberst is clearly still in command, and he's even less decayed than his men. He actually does speak at one point in the movie: one word only, but it's a doozy.

After the fact, I was reminded of a story gyzki told one halloween, about a norse revenant of some kind, though I misremember the details. Hey, gyzki, were these filmmakers merely following old local custom about what the undead do?

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Man. What's with the appeal of zombie Nazis?

It's good to have enemies that you can feel no compunctions about killing. Nazis are famous for that, zombies nearly as much so, so why not combine the two.

First off, I note the interesting synchronicity with my own LJ entry this morning :-)

I was probably telling the fight with Glam, from Grettir's Saga; I remember a similar undead in Laxdaela Saga, and I know there's others I can't recall on the spur of the moment. To generalize about the walking dead from the Icelandic sagas: they were usually troublemakers while they were alive, but that's usually the only personality trait to carry over; once they start walking after death they are undecayed (though their skin may have turned black), preternaturally strong and tough, maybe a little larger than they were in life; there's some indication that Glam may be able to stretch and distort his body, but maybe he's just stretching in a more normal way; they like to destroy property - smashing up buildings and killing livestock; not much given to biting people, much more likely to break every bone in their body (Glam does this to a horse, too, which is pretty scary); Glam gives a rather lengthy speech as he lays a curse on Grettir, but otherwise they don't talk much as a rule.

So yes, your Nazi zombies sound pretty consistent with Old Norse undead. Main difference is that the Icelandic walkers are solitary, they never work together or have a chain of command. If ever the Nazis ever go up on the roof of a building and start kicking it apart then that's definitely a reference to the Norse tradition.

Nothing so specific as that, alas. Most of the property damage is actually inflicted by the hapless students...

Fascinating. If you haven't read it already, you and gyzki should both check out 'Vampires, Burial and Death' by Paul Barber. It explains how many cultures traditional notions of the behavior and powers of the undead originate in the natural properties and behaviors of decaying corpses.

I have read the book--he doesn't have a clue about the Icelandic sagas--he's better with the Austro-Hungarian Empire outbreaks. I'd like to see Glam(Who does all those neat things gyzki listed above, and it's no wonder that Grettir for the rest of his life was afraid of the dark) explained away as misinterpretation of a rotting human corpse. Or then again, I would NOT like to see this explanation.

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