Five lesser-known Viking films by author - SciFiNow

Five lesser-known Viking films by author

To celebrate the release of Slaughtered Gods, the third and final book in the Hanged God Trilogy, author Thilde Kold Holdt runs down five lesser known Viking films.

When I started writing The Hanged God trilogy, an epic fantasy about Vikings and Norse gods, there were few depictions of Vikings in modern media. Now it seems that Vikings are everywhere. From the critically acclaimed “The Northman” to the iconic tv show “Vikings” and the hilarious Norwegian show “Norsemen”.

Below are five films that came at a time where Vikings were not quite as popular and which therefore remain relatively unknown today. Only true Viking connoisseurs will have watched them all. How many do you know?

Valhalla Rising (2009)

Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) plays the silent slave One-Eye out for revenge in this dark tale full of monstrous humans and killings. It’s a film with scarce dialogue that makes me recall some of the darkest sagas I have read. Bloody, cruel, and atmospheric.

Severed Ways : The Norse Discovery of America (2007)

This film is a strange one and like all of the picks on this list, won’t be for everyone. Its indie hand-held shots offer a perspective on the Viking Age that feels both eerie and unsettling. As the camera slows down, it almost feels like the viewer is invited to be another person in the tale. It is brutal and unsettling as it takes us far into the lost woods.

 The Northmen (2014)

I had just begun writing Northern Wrath (Book 1 of The Hanged God Trilogy) when this film came out and I was stoked that the half-giant Tom Hopper (Billy from Black Sails) would finally be playing a Viking.

This film is full of epic fighting spirit and is hence a solid addition to the Viking action genre. It features a small band of ship-wrecked warriors fighting for survival in an increasingly inhospitable place.

The Vikings (1958)

This one is a bit of an oldie. It’s a film from 1958, featuring Kirk Douglas. This film is particularly dear to me because it came out way before the dark Nordic noir genre took over so, this depiction of Vikings is immensely FUN.

The film features Norwegian mountains and fiords, a proper Viking ship, and the Vikings themselves seem to be having a great time, all the time. They know how to party and have fun. They even jump across oars as their ship rows into harbour. A feat I have long wished to replicate.

The Saga of Biorn (2011 animated short)

Last, but not least, we have a short gem. I stumbled upon this short film way before I started writing about Vikings and it is so brilliant that it has stayed with me ever since. It depicts the Viking Biorn who wishes above all else to enter Valhalla. We follow Biorn’s crazy attempts to die an honourable death to be able to feast with his gods in the afterlife.

In Slaughtered Gods, I wrote about an aging warrior who also chases a glorious death, and whenever I wrote scenes with this character, I would think of this short film and chuckle to myself. The Saga of Biorn is a tale that’s still as funny to me today as the day I first watched it.

Thilde Kold Holdt’s Slaughtered Gods, is out now.