Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Honourable Mentions: Draugasaga

Draugasaga was a 1985 made for TV movie from Iceland and the first thing to warn is not to confuse the Scandinavian draugr with drauga. The draugr is a restless dead, sometimes associated with blood drinking/flesh eating and seen by some as a vampire type. The drauga is Icelandic for ghost and thus the title translates to ghost story and it is just that.

It was written and directed by Viðar Víkingsson and it was set in a TV studio where night watchman Runolfur (Rúrik Haraldsson) is utterly convinced the studio is haunted by a red haired ghost, to the point that he starts whenever he sees any woman with red hair. From the start we know something is going on when a photographer develops a picture of the model, with Runolfur by him, and the face of the ghost superimposes over the photo, eventually turning the print black. The negative is normal.

Rúrik Haraldsson as Runolfur
When Sonny (Kristján Franklin Magnúss), a medical student, takes up the position of the other night watchman he quickly develops a relationship with Elsa (Sigurjona Sverrisdottir). Occasionally we see back to the war years and Elsa’s grandmother – who would seem to be the red haired ghost – and a relationship with an American airman. Elsa’s mother won’t talk about her mother and the flashbacks to the two see them played by the same actors as Sonny and Elsa.

the ghost
Ghost-wise we see Runolfur plagued by the ghost and he has a heart attack and dies, but it is obvious (and becomes revealed) that it is Sonny dressed as the ghost. Of course, we already have an idea that there may be something in Runolfur’s belief in the ghost and perhaps the dead do not like to be mocked? All this is fair enough but why, you might wonder, is this being featured on a vampire blog?

dressed as a vampire
When the relationship between Elsa and Sonny first develops she makes them up – when the studio is empty for the night – her as her grandmother and him, for no real reason, as a vampire. He plays the part, in jest, and in the morning – having fallen asleep together in the rehearsal room – they have to get back unseen to their own clothes in makeup. They do bump into a member of the public and Sonny asks him his blood type. When the man says O negative, Sonny pulls a face and says bleurgh.

wearing fangs
So, the mention is for dressing up and acting like a vampire, albeit essentially fancy dress and in jest. Later, when he is dressed as the ghost, he puts fangs in again. The film itself is rare but worth a watch as a ghost story, the pacing is right and there is a sense built through of something about to happen that keeps the viewer expectant. The imdb page is here.

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