tirsdag 2. november 2010

Hunting Trolls

As a Norwegian, there were many things I feared as a child. The traditional folk stories tell of many frightening creatures that can catch you if you’re not careful. If you waved at the aurora it would come and get you and if you didn’t watch it, the hulder or other scary forest creatures would come for you. However, there was always one specific creature that no other could compete with, the troll. More specifically the big mountain troll so big that they would tower above the treetops and even mountains. My grandparents’ house were surrounded by big mountains and I have clear memories of how I as a child would run back inside after scaring myself with the thought of mountain trolls appearing.

Who wouldn’t be terrified of this?NG.KH.B.06912
As I grew up, my fear of trolls disppeared, yet my fascination of them and other fantastic creatures in the Norwegian folk tradition grew stronger. The past years I have felt an annoyance of sorts when I see how trolls are displayed by the tourist industry. They are being portrayed as human looking nice creatures living in harmony with nature.
Now this is all nice and dandy, but it does however not compute with the real troll of Norwegian folk tales. While you can also find creatures similar to the merry folks in the picture above, there is a clear misrepresentation of what trolls really are. Trolls are are vicious, big and outright SCARY. Perhaps stupid, but scary nevertheless. I suppose a happy family of happy trolls sells better than a big ugly bastard that eats humans.
The reason why this popped into mind was a movie I recently saw called “Trolljegeren” (aka “The Troll Hunter”) which is a Norwegian mockumentary on how the Norwegian government is keeping the existence of trolls secret from the general public. As a movie shot in typical “Blair Witch Project” style it was actually a refreshing take on the genre. Instead of falling into the trap of going for concepts covered a million times before, the people behind this movie chose a very unique and original concept that I personally found very enjoyable. I think most Norwegians that have grown up with the old folk tales and a fear of trolls will feel a connection to this concept. Horror movies have become increasingly popular with Norwegian film makers the past years. This movie made me ponder why so many chose the typical horror film cliche when we have such scary stuff embedded in our culture? Personally I found the trolls in this movie scary as hell(for those who believe in such) and was happy to see a more realistic (as realistic as a troll can be anyway) representation of trolls.
This is a still from the movie where a mountain troll is chasing a car. Immense and terrifying. Yours truly have recovered some of that initial fear of trolls.

For more on this movie, check http://www.trolljegeren.no/

1 kommentar:

  1. Rather than realistic, perhaps true to tradition. I've had similar thoughts about folk tales and mythology in general; so much of it has been watered down, which is infuriating when the original material is so much more evocative and engaging.