Updating and correcting “Medieval Movies: Films of the Viking Era,” to include films released since the last edition. And discovered there were many other films as well…
I’ll be posting comments on some of the ones not covered before for the next month!
Red Mantle, The (1967)
aka Hagbard and Signe aka Den Røde Kappe
Poor costuming and poor acting, with antiseptic scenery that is found dynamic and romantic by some people. The plot is based on an ancient legend, concerning Hagbard, the son of a slain Norse king. The music is by an acclaimed Icelandic band but seem oddly out of place. Very nice scenery.
Hammer of the Gods (2013)
aka Martelo dos Deuses aka Tanr lar n Çekici
If they set out to create the ultimate farby fantasy dream of macho larpists, they could not have done better! Lamellar armor, fur cloaks, swords across the back, short sleeves, filthy barbaric fashion and ominous black outfits. A passing knowledge of controversial theory is shown, abs there is a questionable bisexual question, who Is disliked because he is cruel and dirty not because of his sexual likes. The CGI is rather pedestrian and certain clumsiness. The film as a whole has a certain violence that would-be stylish and reminds you of an incompetent Tarantino.
Viking Quest (2015)
aka Vikings aka Le Clan des Vikings aka The Viking
Are there no new Harryhausens, at least in films of this caliber? The story hinges about a version of the Greek myth of Perseus and the kraken, but the CGI is rather awkward. Farby costumes look like they were made of artificial fibers, and even the very acting seems uninspired and clumsy. It does feature tattoos, of course, and braided beards. And did they get a discount on the furs used in costumes? The central character, Erick, just a modern nerd misplaced in this Viking fantasy universe probably to appeal to the gamers that seem the primary audience, but it seems as if the writers just tried to throw as many stereotypes against the wall and hope that a couple stuck. I did love the earrings worn by Erick, the Viking Ben Franklin!
Hammer of the Gods (2009)
aka Thor: Hammer of the Gods
Not presented as anything but a farby fantasy film suitable D&D “epic” with a tendency to try to confuse this with the Marvel Comics version. Ludicrous overacting, well as more than ludicrous costume and armor. Terrible CGI and special effects, which can be the only redeeming aspect for a film of this kind, especially when the “action” scenes are so static and clumsy. Confusing, jerky and often too dark cinematography that at least hides the farbiness of some of the armor. The number of nasal guards are incredible, and I do not think any are accurate.
Viking Blood (2019)
aka Alma de Guerreiro aka Viking—L’anima del Guerriero
So much better than many of its companion films. Costumes are adequate though not overwhelmingly accurate, and there are many furry cloaks just because that is what some viewers expect to see. There is, of course, a female warrior with a sword across her back, but many of the sets and props are exceptional. The cinematography is pretty well done, and the film deals with the Conversion in a fresh and interesting way. Since so many films today are copied…homages to other films. This film reminded me of Sergio Leone’s Man with no name films, down to the Ennio Morriconesque music.
Breay, Claire and Joanna Story (Editors). Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
Catalog from the British Museum Exhibition, well written with magnificent illustrations of artefacts.
Crawford, Sally. Daily Life in Anglo-Saxon England
An outstanding book dealing mainly with the physical culture, drawing on the latest research. One of Greenwood’s excellent “Daily Life Through History” series.
Cunnington, Cecil Willett and Phillis. Handbook of English Medieval Costume
According to some historical costumers, Cunnington is the single most valuable source for costumery.
Ewing, Þor. Viking Costume
Overview of aspects of Norse clothing, drawing from earlier sources, archaeological investigation and the author’s own conclusions.
Graham-Campbell, James. Viking Art
An introduction to the six main styles of Viking art, updated to reflect recent archaeological discoveries.
Heaney, Seamus(Translator). Daniel Donoghue (Editor). Beowulf: A Verse Translation: A Norton Critical Edition
A collection of pertinent artefacts along with what I consider to be the finest translation of the poem. And the translated text is a great source for stories to tell around the campfire!
Jesch, Judith. The Viking Diaspora
A recommended look at all aspects of the culture.
MacWelch, Tim. The Ultimate Bushcraft Survival Manual
Boy Scout manuals on camping as well as survivalist manuals on camping ar useful, but this is considered an excellent source. It examines how native peoples around the world and throughout history have made their own shelter, weapons, tools, and more. If you want to learn more about traditional ways of survival, this is a recommended single volume.
Mould, Quita. Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York
One of the profusely illustrated, phenomenal books from the York Archaeological Trust, showing finds from excavations in York, plans and small essays on the craft. This one features leather work, including shoes and scabbards of the time.
Owen-Crocker, Gail. Dress in Anglo-Saxon England, Second Edition
Excellent source on the details of Anglo-Saxon costume. Minimally useful as practical guide as most of the information is aimed at researching the entire kit. Highly recommended!
Williams, Gareth. Johnny Shumate, Illustrator. Weapons of the Viking Warrior
This deals most with the weapons of war but can be used as well to determine about utility tools.
Wolf, Kirsten. The Daily Life of Vikings
An excellent look at the Norse culture of the Viking Age, using the most current citations. One of Greenwood’s excellent “Daily Life Through History” series.
Coalcracker Bushcraft. “Flint and Steel Basics.” Accessed 15 December 2021.
Connor Fitzgerald. “The 5 Best Campfire Lays and How to Build Them,” Accessed 8 December 2021.
“First Aid Manual.” Accessed 16 December 2021.
Hands on History. “Bedroll for Viking Hiking.” Accessed 15 December 2021.
__. “Clothes for Historical Trekking.” Accessed 15 December 2021.
__. “Sleeping Shelters aka Tarps.” Accessed 13 December 2021.
“How to Tie 7 Basic Knots.” Accessed 12 December 2021.
“Regia Anglorum—Basic Clothing Guide.” Accessed 6 January 2021.
“Viking Games.” Accessed 21 December 2021.