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The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent


Title: The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent
Year Of Release: 1957
Running Time: 66 minutes
DVD Released By: Lionsgate
Directed By: Roger Corman
Writing Credits: Irving Block (story), Lawrence L. Goldman

Starring: Abby Dalton, Susan Cabot, Bradford Jackson
Taglines:
Fabulous! Spectacular! Terrifying! The raw courage of women without men lost in a fantastic Hell-on-Earth !
Alternate Titles:
The Saga of the Viking Women
The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent
Undersea Monster
Viking Women (UK)

Review Date: 2.19.07 (updated 1.1.10)

Shadow's Title: "Sexy Blonde Chicks vs. The Evil Brunettes"

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DVD
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent/Teenage Caveman (Double Feature)

Characters
Desir – The woman who first proposes the idea that she and all the other Viking broads build a boat and go in search of their missing men. Isn’t it just like a woman to feel that she needs to constantly keep tabs on her man? Still, you’ve got to admit, Desir is pretty damn smokin’ hot.
Enger – High Priestess of the Viking women. Since at one point in the film she offers a prayer to Thor and calls down his anger on the Grimolts, we can assume that she is good at her job. Another job she is apparently quite good at is scheming, conniving bitch. It must come with the dark hair.
Asmild – Desir’s younger sister. While Desir has a certain raw, primitive allure for those who just want a wild, rough roll in the hay, Asmild here has more of that sweet, demure, girl next door kind of vibe…in an ass-kicking, stick a spear in your gut, Viking woman way, of course.
Dagda – She opposes the trip, saying that it will lead to the death of them all. She was quite wrong on that matter. The trip only led to the death of most of them. She hardly ever spoke again after being wrong. Why can’t more women be like that? Oh yeah, that’s right…they’re never wrong.
Thyra – A Viking woman with no man of her own, thus she has no reason to go looking for the lost men. Yet, not having a guy in her life is the very reason she votes to go on the trip. After all, how is she ever gonna find one if she stays? Eventually she hooks up with Ottar for reasons all her own.
Ottar – When the Viking men sailed away, there was one guy who stayed behind. Yep, that would be this guy. I think he knew he couldn’t compete with the other men when it came to fighting. This is evidenced by how many times he has the living crap beaten out of him by Zarko.
Stark – This loser is the king of the Grimolts. Apparently they are a people who make very little distinction between their leaders and their village idiots. It looks like his wardrobe was picked out by the local guild of blind men. He looks more like the court jester than the freakin’ King!
Senya – Think Stark is a loser? Get a load of junior! He's the biggest whiner on any continent, let alone Grimolt country. All he does is whine and pout like a five-year old denied a visit to Chuck E. Cheese. And get a load of that accent! I didn’t realize that the Grimolts originally hailed from Brooklyn!
Zarko – One of Stark’s flunkies. The man is just in love with his whip and takes very opportunity to haul out the damn thing so he can crack it at someone. It’s almost as if he was using it to compensate for something else that was not functioning properly. Beats Ottar senseless multiple times.
Vedric – Desir’s long lost love for whom she has sailed halfway around the world. He's also the leader of the Stonjold Vikings because of his renown as a fierce and skilled warrior. Sounds like a real badass, right? WRONG. He showed all the tenacity of an elderly librarian.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

The sequel had an even longer title: The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent II: Revenge of the Giant Mutant Sea MonsterAfter seeing the old American International Picture logo amidst the clouds, along with some mildly ominous music, we fade into a book sitting on a desk. There is no title on the cover, but there is a rather fancy emblem depicting an old Viking longship. As the heroic music swells, the camera zooms in on the book, leaving its bottom half out of frame so somebody can sneak their hand in there and turn the pages without being seen. The first page reveals the film’s ridiculously long title while subsequent pages list the actors and production personal that are to blame for this experience.

The final page with credits (listing Roger Corman as producer and director) is turned and the next one reveals to us a map that looks like it was drawn hastily by some basement-dwelling dork as part of his latest Dungeons and Dragons campaign. It certainly looks to have been conceived as such. Seriously, I don’t recognize any place on it. Scandia? As far as I know, that’s a chain of miniature golf places, though I do suspect it was a name used in ages past to denote some part of what we now term Scandinavia. Stonjold? That certainly sounds Viking-ish, but doesn’t ring a bell. Land of the Danes? Is that supposed to be Denmark? Cuz if it is, the landmass denoted as such looks nothing like Denmark. Off to the side we can see something called The Unknown Sea, which makes you wonder how it found its way onto a map if no one knows about it. A lucky guess? Decorating the area reserved for the sea is another longship as well as a sea serpent, the latter no doubt being a representation of an aquatic here-there-be-dragons warning.

No sooner has the page with the map been unveiled than an announcer suddenly chimes in with some background information for us. Oh, great. I’m still having nightmares over the CLOWN in Invisible Invaders. As he speaks, the camera zooms even closer to the map, before gradually fading into a shot of a rocky beach somewhere.

“In the days when the world was young and the gods had not yet abandoned the race of men, there lived in the land of the north, a great and stalwart people. When their own rocky shores and forbidding mountains could no longer yield them a livelihood they bade farewell to their women and ventured fearlessly into the unknown.”

Personally, I’m guessing that there were other reasons to leave the women behind, like how they tend to nag guys on long trips about getting directions or how they constantly need to stop and pee, but I digress. The shot of the rocky beach now transforms into a new shot of another rocky beach, complete with mountain in the background. On the beach itself, small figures can be seen in the distance working on the frame of a ship that is under construction. The announcer continues:

“After waiting for their warriors’ return three years, a band of brave women gathered to decide whether they should embark on a search for their men. They cast their votes in typical Viking fashion.”

Apparently, this voting method is conducted by throwing their spears at one of two trees. One tree represents making the voyage while the other tree signifies staying put. While it may not do too much at allowing for privacy during the voting process, it does eliminate any chances for confusion (dare I say the word chads anyone?). Looking at the two trees, we see that both have four spears apiece embedded in their sides. Suddenly a new spear impales one tree, making it five to four. Nearby there is a small group of ladies and the one who just threw her spear announces in a loud and oddly monotone voice, “I vote we go!”

The next voter walks up, hurls her spear and hits the exact same tree, only somehow the number of spears in its side has been reduced to four again, the new one now making it five. The woman announces, “We stay!” Ok, hold the damn phone. Which tree is which? A minute ago one chick hit that tree and cast a “go” vote, and now a few seconds later her spear is gone and the next broad hits the same tree and casts a “stay” vote. Am I missing some subtleties in the Viking voting system? Is the purpose just to hit any tree and declare your vote aloud, with a miss categorized as a non-vote? What was I saying a minute ago about avoiding confusion? Well, forget it.

So now the next woman walks up and prepares to throw her spear. Dagda, the one who just voted to stay, stops her and mumbles something about the gods being offended and an omen of disaster. How does she know which way this woman – whose name is Thyra by the way – was going to vote? Another gal approaches and a mildly tense argument ensues about whether to go or to stay. The new woman is Desir and it was she who proposed making the trip. She asks the others if they wish to die unloved, then launches into a speech about how the gods are displeased with those who cower in fear, how Vikings make their own fate and how long they have been without their men folk. I’m sure there was something in there about needing new clothes, shoes and jewelry as well, but I tuned out.

It should be noted at this point that all the women shown thus far (about a dozen or so) are blonde, with the exception of one raven-haired gal seen leaning against a tree and taking in the whole scene with all the outward concern of someone who just upped their Prozac dosage by a factor of three. Also watching events from behind a nearby tree is some blonde guy in dark clothes. Yes, you heard me...a guy. I guess when all the other men took off for places unknown, this dork was left behind. Either he was known for his uncontrollable flatulence and was told to stay behind lest he find himself fed to the sharks for his unwanted aromas, he was too much of a flat out chickenshit to join the others and ended up cowering behind a bush when the other males were packing for their trip or he plays for the other team, feeling more comfortable spending time with the ladies and sashaying around in less constricting undergarments. Whatever the case may be, he is hanging around watching things unfold.

“A longship? You people must be blind. It’s very clearly a dog chasing a cat.”So Desir is trying to drum up support for her proposal to go men hunting. Figuring the others need a positive omen, she gestures to the sky where a freak cloud formation looks exactly like a Viking longship with its sail unfurled. She points to this as a sign that their men beckon, needing their women as much as the women need them. Determined, Thyra now throws her spear, hitting the tree that I originally thought represented staying, but now seems to signify going on the trip. This seems to amaze one chick named Asmild, who asks Thyra why she votes to go when she has no lover overseas. “Am I likely to find one here?” Thyra asks in response. I guess that depends on which team she is playing for.

It is now Asmild’s turn to vote. She looks at Desir, who is her older sister, but the only advice she is given is to decide for herself. She thinks for a second and then lugs the spear in a truly lame manner. Somehow (through the magic of the movies no doubt) it manages to fly across the field and hit one of the trees, rather than flopping to the ground a few feet away like it appeared to do. Asmild it seems, has voted to make the trip. This annoys that woman named Dagda, who remarks that in order to please her older sibling, Asmild will destroy them all. However the vote is now tied and there is but one vote left to be cast – that of Enger, the dark-haired woman standing quietly off to the side. She happens to be the Priestess for this group and Dagda is sure that she will vote to stay, since Enger hates Desir and wants the other woman’s man for herself.

However, Enger shocks them all by voting to go. Really, this should come as no surprise to anyone, especially the viewer. If Enger truly desires to hook up with Desir’s man, how is she ever gonna do so if the men don’t return? Not one to stand around and wait, she is the proactive type, setting out to get what she wants…and I’m sure that if Desir met with an unfortunate accident along the way, that would be all the better. The only thing this proves is that backstabbing and conniving over each other’s man is nothing new in the realms of women. Guys, they’ve been at it for centuries and have honed their skills with deadly precision, so watch out!

Desir now walks over to Enger and thanks her for the way she voted, but the dark-haired woman declared that she wants no thanks and then stomps off, announcing that there is work to be done. As all the ladies leave the area, that lone man – Ottar – approaches Desir and says that he doesn’t trust Enger. Desir dismisses his concerns and says that she is happy that Enger is going. Ottar then says that he plans on going with them. Desir tries to dissuade him, saying that it isn’t worth the risk. That has me wondering…maybe this guy was left behind by the other men as a sort of failsafe or backup in case they never returned. He could father a whole new generation of Viking kids. Talk about a dream come true! No wonder he wants to go – he wants to make sure the other men are never found so he can lay claim to all that booty! Yeah right. Desir talks some more about her brave words belying the fact that she knows the voyage is going to be quite dangerous.

Now we see all the ladies walking down to the beach in order to work on the ship. Dagda presses Enger on the issue of her aiding Desir’s quest, but the Priestess just passes it off, claiming the other woman had a good idea and that it should be followed up on. This doesn’t fool Dagda, who puts two and two together and realizes that if at the end of their voyage, Desir is not around to be enfolded in her lover’s arms, he just may very well look elsewhere for comfort…like in Enger’s direction. The dark-haired woman again passes it off, but her cold, distant demeanor has us believe that is exactly what she is thinking. Likewise, Dagda doesn’t seem convinced by Enger’s words and gives her an appraising look as the other walks away.

Now we get a montage of shots that detail the women working on the boat. The construction seems to be accomplished mostly by taking large mallets and banging them haphazardly against various pieces of wood, with about as much force as one puts into knocking on someone’s front door. How any nails got hammered via this approach is beyond me. One shot shows several women using a large saw to cut some wood. Two are holding a log steady while two more, having taken up positions on either side, push the saw back and forth in hopes of cutting the log into two pieces. At the speed at which they were moving, coupled with the sheer lack of any force being applied to the sawing motion, it must have taken the better part of a day to achieve their goal. Finally, the craft is finished, provisions are loaded aboard and it is pushed into the water and launched.

Watch closely as the longship is pushed out from the beach. On the far side of the ship, so that it is between them and the camera, are a couple of guys! You can tell these two are men because of their short hair. I guess the ladies couldn’t push the boat out on their own, so the producers called in these two to help out, placing them on the far side of the vessel to help conceal their presence. Either that or there were more men left behind like Ottar.

Alas, as the ship hits the first wave that is rolling towards shore, its rudder comes loose and floats away. I knew there was some shoddy workmanship on display here! The women quickly use an oar to steady the ship, but one gal complains to Desir that they cannot handle the ship with just a single oar. Desir looks at them and says, “We’ve got to,” and then turns and stomps away. WTF? It’s not like they were a hundred miles from land when this happened. They’re only twenty feet from shore! Row back in, retrieve the damn rudder and attach it again! Is that really going to be such a hassle or waste of time? You people have waited three years for your men, I don’t think another few hours is gonna kill you. Evidently it would, as the sail is soon hoisted and the voyage begun.

What are they…about 500 feet above the ocean surface?!Night has now fallen and everyone is passed out asleep, with the exception of Desir and Thyra, who is manning (womanning?) the lone steering oar. A couple of shots here are quite funny, as rear projection was no doubt used to convey the idea that the big prop ship was afloat on the ocean. The problem is, the way things are angled, it makes it appear as if the boat is flying about a hundred feet above the water rather than sailing right on it.

Asmild now awakens and talks with her older sister, asking if she truly thinks they will find the men. Desire thinks they will. Asmild agrees, adding that at that point their leader Vedric, will ask Desir to marry him. Asmild wonders aloud at what it would be like to love a man, have him give her a ring and claim her as his own. See? Women have just got to work that damn ring in there somewhere! Love just isn’t enough. They’ve got to have that bling as well. Sheesh. Desir tells her sister that she will know all these things in the fullness of time. In other words, shut up and go back to sleep.

At the stern of the ship, Thyra is manning the steering oar and gazing up into the starry sky with a gleeful expression on her face…no doubt imagining all the bling she is gonna get when she lands herself a man. Close by are a bunch of animal furs, which seem to be moving. Unsheathing her knife, Thyra pulls back the skins and prepares to stab whoever is under them, but it is just Ottar. She asks what he is doing there and he replies, “Starving!” Typical male, thinking about food. He inquires about something to eat and then asks her to not let the others know that he is aboard. Since they are still close to land, they might turn around and take him back. Well, I got news for you pal: if they ain’t gonna turn around after sailing all of twenty feet in order to fix the rudder, they sure as hell are not going to come about after a full day at sea just for your sorry ass.

Movement alerts Thyra, so she pushes Ottar back down under the furs. Enger approaches and wonders whom Thyra was just talking to, but she claims to have only been speaking to herself. Enger doesn’t seem too worried, as all she came for was another fur. She reaches for the one that is concealing Ottar, but Thyra claims those are still wet from the ocean spray and has her take another. The priestess then returns to her sleeping spot.

Thyra now uncovers Ottar and reveals that Enger gives her “the creeps.” Really? I didn’t realize that that particular bit of colloquial slang was in such common use a thousand years ago. Ya learn something new everyday! Ottar agrees with Thyra’s assessment of Enger and then inquires again about some food. She hands him something to eat and while he is scarfing it down, asks him why he hid aboard the ship. Now, here comes the chauvinist speech of the century! Get this: he says that someone had to protect “you women” and that it is ridiculous not to have a man along on a dangerous voyage. Thyra counters this by saying that is ridiculous to not have a man, period. Ottar then goes to mumble a lame attempt at flirtation, telling Thyra that he was glad she protected him from Enger and that up until now he was always intimidated by her. She responds to this by telling him to get some sleep and then pulling the furs over him again. Fade out.

Day arrives and we see the longship adrift on the ocean. Well, actually it’s adrift about a hundred yards from shore, as the obvious swell of surf in the foreground gives away the nearby presence of land. Then it’s another rear projection shot that makes it appear as if the ship is flying at an altitude of fifty feet over the water. Asmild spots something in the distance, points to it and instantly proclaims it to be a monster. Someone else calls out that it’s a sea serpent. Could it be the titular sea serpent, finally showing up in this film? Uh…no. It’s just a bunch of whales. Ottar laughs and makes fun of the women for being so jittery.

First of all…when did he reveal his presence to everyone aboard? Second, does he really think it is wise to mock a bunch of Viking chicks while deep at sea? He could find himself doing the doggie paddle home if he doesn’t watch his mouth. Desir just smiles at him and tells him to polish the swords. After all, stowaways must earn their keep. He gets to work but reminds them all that at some point they will be happy that he came along. No doubt this will occur when it comes time to read a map.

As Desir stands there, gazing out on the ocean and no doubt dreaming about the jewelry her man will bestow upon her when she finds him, Enger is up to no good. She loosens a rope amongst all the rigging, which causes the yardarm to collapse, nearly falling right atop Desir. I have to say that for this to happen, everyone on that ship must be freakin’ blind. The vessel is not all that big to begin with, and no one is ever more than a few feet apart, so for Enger to accomplish that without being seen is just silly. Then again, if all the broads on that boat were like Desir, staring off into the distance, daydreaming about men and gold rings, then I can see how it could have easily worked. Desir thinks it was an accident, but Ottar says that it could not have been, since he tightened the ropes himself and they must have been deliberately loosened. Desir dismisses the event and encourages everyone to return to whatever it was they were doing (dreaming about jewelry of course). Of course, everyone should have turned and looked straight at Enger, because if anyone has reason to loosen a rope and try to kill Desir, it would be her, and everyone knows it. Alas, this doesn’t happen.

Sometime later, be it hours or days, we see the ship on a calm and peaceful ocean. There are a couple more flying boat-rear projection shots and then Desir notices something floating in the water nearby. She instantly jumps in and swims to what seems to be a long wood pole with some rope still attached to it. She hardly has time to examine it when she notices a stock footage shark in the distance, so she turns and begins swimming back to the ship. Thus begins the mismatched footage chase sequence. We are treated to alternating shots of Desir and the shark. The problem of course, is that Desir is plainly splashing about in deep open water while the shark seems to be leisurely swimming in about three feet of water near a beach. Naturally, Desir makes it to the ship with just seconds to spare before the shark would have gotten her. It’s further interesting to note that the final shot of the shark shows a completely different type than the one shown during the “chase” sequence. I suppose Corman figured the audience wouldn’t know one species of shark from another.

Desir is barely back on board (barely is right, take a look at that skimpy outfit) when Ottar points off into the distance and yells, “Look there!” Oh my god! It’s the Sea Serpent! Finally!! Ottar calls it the monster of the vortex and says that he thought it was only a sailor’s tale. To bring the creature to life, we get some cheap ass puppetry work that would seem a better fit in a film like Reptilicus. Desir yells, “Let’s get out of here” and one wonders what she thinks they can do to speed their escape since this is still centuries before the outboard motor will be invented. Unless, of course, the boat really can fly. Ottar tells everyone to begin paddling and before you know it, they are trying to navigate some rather choppy seas. Evidently the sea serpent brought a storm along with it because one minute all is peaceful on the ocean and the next there are waves so high, I was fully expecting to see George Clooney sail past in a fishing trawler. As the Viking chicks (and lone dude) struggle against the rear projected stormy sea, the monster continues to circle…in rather calm and still waters I might add. It swims up to the ship, raises out of the water and lunges at the vessel several times, roaring like an elephant as it does so. Amazingly, no one is eaten or tossed overboard. Pity.

I can only surmise that the Viking gods are not all that pleased with this little jaunt across the sea, despite what Desir tried telling everyone earlier. You’d think if the gods really wanted them to make this trip, they would enjoy smooth sailing and few obstacles. I’m afraid that doesn’t seem to be the case. They’ve now found themselves under attack from a giant sea monster, a massive storm has appeared out of nowhere to batter their little love barge back and forth like the S.S. Minnow and they’ve lost their rudder, thus having no way to properly steer the ship aside from a single oar. If all that was not bad enough, lightning now strikes the sail mast, setting the ship…or in this case, the cheap model used to represent the ship, on fire. And to make matters even worse, the spray from the sea has no doubt ruined more than one perm.

With the ship now going up in flames faster than a cross at a KKK rally, women start screaming and diving overboard as if those long-dreamt of jewels were spotted floating nearby in a chest. Before you can say, “the tiny ship was tossed,” everyone is in the water and splashing around like two-year olds in a bathtub. Somehow the sharks, in addition to the sea serpent, have lost interest in the people now in the water, because no one is gobbled up whole. Pity. We then see the ship circling the bowl, literally. Round and round it goes as it sinks into a giant whirlpool, which is obviously the vortex which Ottar alluded to earlier. Gradually the ship vanishes from sight down the whirlpool, taking with it my hopes for a painless movie. Fade out.

Fade in. We’re on a beach somewhere, which amazingly enough looks a hell of a lot like the same beach were they built the ship. Hell, none of the beaches in this film look anything like the fjords that the Vikings called home. Indeed, they look much more like…Southern California. Anyway, the survivors of the boat wreck are laying on the sand, trying to pick themselves up. Of the twelve females and one male that began the trip, we are now down to six gals and one dork…er…man. I guess the other women were either gobbled up by the sea serpent or were pulled down to a watery grave by that vortex thingie. Either way, it’s a mixed blessing. On one hand, there is a lot less exposed female flesh to see…not exactly a good thing when talking about tanned, blonde chicks like these. On the other hand, we realize that the chances of an emotional outburst over a cracked fingernail has just gone down dramatically.

We see that the survivors include Desir, Asmild, Enger, Dagda, Thyra and girlie man Ottar. Plus there is a sixth woman who has yet to be named. As they pick themselves up off the sand – appearing to be recovering from the world’s greatest beach-held rave as they do so – they notice a bunch of morons on horses just a few yards away. These guys all…and I do mean every single one of them, have dark hair. All of them seem to be sporting some type of wool vest and one wastes no time at producing a whip and cracking it at the gals. This gets Ottar fired up and he tries to grab the whip away from the other guy, but since his opponent is on horseback and has better leverage, Ottar just ends up kicked to the sand.

The riders quickly round up the newcomers and begin to march them away, keeping them in line with a few cracks of the old whip. A long distance shot shows them all making their way down a road somewhere in the southern Californian countryside – how this terrain could be mistaken for anything outside of North America is beyond me. On a couple of occasions Ottar attempts to make a break for it, but the riders are able to keep him in the group by herding him with their horses as well as letting loose with their whips. After all where there’s a whip, there’s a way.

“I’ve come to the realization that these low cost, historical re-enactment camping trips are not all they are cracked up to be.”At one point while this enforced march is underway, Ottar asks Thyra if she is afraid. She replies that she is too numb to be afraid. Ottar admits that he is worried about her, after all, the worst that can be done to him is that he will be killed or made a slave. He leaves it unsaid what could be her fate, but I doubt it’s being put to work in the kitchen. She just says that she “would like to see them try.” I wanna know why he is so sure that there isn’t any one of these guys on horseback that doesn’t butter his bread on the other side. There very well may be worse things in store for him than death or slavery. He could find himself bent over a barrel some night and being made some guy’s bitch. Noticing that these two are flapping their gums, one rider circles around and lays into Ottar with his whip. Ottar falls to the ground and Thyra tries to wrest the whip away from the rider, but she is just thrown to the ground as well. After the rider exhorts them to “get up!” the march continues. Later, Enger tells Desir that these guys on horseback “Can be handled” as “they are only men.” Indeed, throw some beer and snacks their way and they’ll be set.

Eventually all the walking leads them to a village clustered around a large castle. The matte painting used to achieve this vista is actually pretty good for the day. For no other reason than to be a colossal asswipe, the leader of the riders hauls out his whip and gives Enger and Desir a couple of whacks as they stand there gazing at the castle. I guess that means, “Move!” Somehow, I doubt the same approach would work for me when trying to get The Other Half out of Bed, Bath and Beyond in under two hours. There is some more walking, more whip snapping and at one point they pass by Ro-Man’s cave in Bronson Canyon. Then they reach the castle where all the riders dismount, grab a captive by the wrist or arm, and proceed to push/pull them inside.

They are now inside a large hall. Desir notes that it is a very impressive building “for these heathens to have built.” Ottar claims that they didn’t build it and that Vikings did. Desir points out that there have never been Vikings in this land. Ottar responds by reminding her that there could be Vikings in this land that never returned home, so they would never have heard of their exploits amongst these “savages.” Don’t you just love the way that they automatically assume a position of superiority with these people, calling them heathens and savages, despite being in this land for the very first time and not knowing a damn thing about what the local culture is like? It’s like they’re Americans travelling abroad in Europe or something.

The music now launches into an overblown fanfare and in walks some dork in what is no doubt the height of local fashions. However, he looks like the costume department just exploded around him, littering him with an assortment of clothing pieces from different eras and cultures. He has a hat that looks like one of Genghis Khan’s hand-me-downs, a metal breastplate that looks like something King Arthur wouldn’t be caught dead in, cloth leggings and shirt that resemble something procured at the local Goodwill, a ratty sheep’s wool vest thrown over his shoulders and knee-high fur boots that look better suited to much colder climates than the desert outside. So what the fuck is he? A Mongol? A Knight of the Roundtable? A Peasant? An Eskimo? Who the hell knows.

So Mr. Fashion walks over to the newcomers and gives them the once over, stroking the women’s hair or caressing their faces. He makes his way down the line and when he gets to Thyra, she brushes his hand away when he goes to touch her. Before Mr. Fashion can do anything, Ottar appears out of nowhere and is instantly up in his face, telling him to keep his hands to himself. Ottar further expounds on the fact that if Mr. Fashion spoke a civilized tongue, he’d have a few choice things to say to him and then punctuates his short speech by calling the other guy a couple of names like “big slobbering dog” and “big slob.” After that vocal outburst, I’m beginning to understand that whatever Ottar is known for – be it cowardice, poor fighting skills or an inability to grow a beard – it sure as hell ain’t for his razor sharp wit.

Mr. Fashion grabs Ottar by the hair and asks just what the little man would say to him. Ottar seems surprised that this guy can speak their language. Hello? A short while ago the lead rider was yelling at you to “get up” while cracking his whip. Didn’t you notice then that these people know your language? Idiot. Mr. Fashion now reveals that he knows a few words of the Vikings’ tongue and that he picked it up from some of their countrymen. Listening to him speak, it is obviously that in this case, “a few words” is synonymous with “one hundred percent fluent.” Upon hearing this news, Desir steps forward and asks if these countrymen from whom Mr. Fashion learned their language were from Stonjold and if their ship bore a dragon shield. Mr. Fashion has no idea, as all ships that enter their waters are destroyed by the vortex and the “great beast.” He does admit that there were a handful of survivors, but when Desir presses him for names, he doesn’t know.

Mr. Fashion – who is actually Stark, King of the Grimolts – sees a new arrival to the hall and greets him as Senya, his son. Senya is a whiny little bitch of a man and wants to know when his father is going to join them on the boar hunt. Then he takes notice of all the half-naked women in the room and inquires if these are the new slaves. Stark corrects him, saying that these are their guests and that they will be accompanying them on the hunt. At this Senya gets all whiny-bitchy again at the thought of allowing women on the hunt. He approaches Desir, touches her chin and then slaps her. Naturally this just about sends Ottar into convulsions, as he instantly tries to jump Senya. Stark explains to his son that these are Viking women and that they are very different from the females of other lands.

While Stark is conversing with his son, Thyra notices that one of them is wearing Vedric’s bracelet (Vedric being Desir’s long absent love). Stark now invites them to go on the boar hunt, but wonders if they are not tired from their long journey and more ready for some rest. Ottar, who has somehow appointed himself as the group’s spokesman (perhaps because he is the only male?), claims that Vikings are never tired and accepts the offer. After Stark, Senya and the lead rider, who the King calls Zarko, have left, Desir asks Ottar why he agreed to the hunt. He explains that it will be much easier to find out what is going on “in that cave” with their hosts busy at the hunt. I am assuming he is referring to Ro-Man’s cave that they bypassed a short time earlier.

We now see a large group of people outside, sitting on horses. Stark - we can tell it’s him because of that asinine hat he wears - brandishes his spear and calls out in a badly dubbed voice to have the dogs unleashed. Two whole dogs are set loose, but they make enough racket for at least five. The canines bound off across the landscape and everyone spurs their horse to give chase. We are then subjected to several shots of riders galloping across the land that, because of the filming locations, makes me feel like I’m watching an old western and these guys are Indians on the proverbial warpath. Everyone is so caught up in the spirit of the hunt, that no one notices when Ottar reigns in his horse, stops and then turns back the way they came. We can only assume he is heading to that cave to take a peek at what’s inside.

The day Arnold the pig annoyed Lisa Douglas for the last time.Several more boar hunt scenes now ensue. We even get to see an actual boar! At least, it looks like a boar. Senya has broken away from the rest of the group and seems to be closing in on the beast. He raises his spear to hurl it at the creature, but when he rides under a tree, the low-hanging branches hit him in the head and he falls to the ground with a truly unmanly, and rather whiny, cry of pain and surprise. As the others race on in a different direction, Desir falls to the back of the group, no doubt intending on following Ottar’s example. Senya picks himself up off the ground and is literally crying from his fall like some pussified man-bitch. The Boar returns, probably wanting to gut the moron who tried to kill it, and Senya tries to run away but cannot seem to outmaneuver the animal. Naturally, this only causes more blubbering and whining on his part. Hearing his pathetic sobbing and screaming, Desir steers her horse in his direction, comes barreling along and manages to impale the boar with one quick throw of her spear. The animal squeals like the stuck pig that it is, but even this pales in comparison to Senya’s sissified shrieking.

Desir dismounts and walks over to check on Captain Cream Puff, who is mortified that he was saved by a girl. His bemoans this fact quite petulantly, sitting on a rock like a spoiled child and sounding like he just got off the train from Brooklyn because of his accent. Desir asks him if it isn’t better to be alive than the object of his father’s anger, but Senya disagrees. In a display that gives new meaning to the words “whiny,” “kvetchy” and “effeminate,” Senya explains that because he is a Prince and held to a higher standard, by saving his worthless ass, she has disgraced him. His fate is to be exiled. She responds by picking up his spear and handing it to him, saying, “Here, you killed the boar with that spear.” My only problem with this tactic of hers is this: his spear was dropped when he hit the tree branches and doesn’t have a drop of blood on it, while hers is currently sticking in one side and out the other of a boar. How will anyone believe that he killed it?

As Senya admires the spear – no doubt thinking up a grand tale to spin about his valiant struggle with the beast – Desire notices his armband. She asks him where he got it and before he can think about his response, he blurts out “from a yellow head captive.” He instantly realizes his mistake and asks her why she wants to know, the whine in his voice back in full effect. She begins grilling him on the man in question. Is he alive? Is he a prisoner? Are there others? Senya starts to panic when he hears others approaching on horseback, and tells her to leave him alone (all quite whiny I might add). She asks if this is how a prince repays those who have saved him and he relents, telling her to come to his room later and he will tell her everything he knows. He reminds her not to get caught or they will both be in trouble, adding that his father forbids him from talking to people. Well, I can see why! His dad probably doesn’t want anyone else to discover what a whiny bitch he has for a son.

Stark and the others now arrive. The King is quite elated to see that his son has killed a boar and hails him as a mighty hunter. He’s probably heaving a huge sigh of relief that Junior wasn’t caught playing with dolls or discovered in women’s attire which, given Senya’s demeanor, is very much in the realms of possibility.

We now return to the large hall we saw earlier, where a massive celebration is underway to mark Senya’s accomplishment. Everyone is seated at a number of tables, drinking, eating and whooping it up. Well, let me re-phrase that. All the Grimolts are engaged in these activities while the Viking women sit around and look about as happy as Pastor Fred Phelps at a gay rights rally. One Grimolt woman is up and dancing around the room, if dancing is the term you wish to apply to her movements. At first I thought she was in the midst of a seizure, then I wondered if perhaps there were ants crawling between her butt cheeks. I finally came to the (horrifying) conclusion that her gyrations were just a natural part of the dance. At one point she even hops up on one table and jiggles around for the enjoyment of all the men. It’s just too bad that paper money had yet to be invented in these parts, as a lap dance would be a welcome sight right about now. The dancer finally jumps down and is eventually swept off her feet – quite unwillingly I might add – by Zarko, who has been trying to kiss Asmild but keeps getting rebuffed. He runs off with the screaming, struggling women and vanishes behind a curtained area.

The debauchery continues, with a new loser trying to put his dirty paws all over Asmild. Big sis Desir sits at the King’s table, taking it all in and looking very displeased. Secretly, she takes a knife and discreetly stands before heading in Asmild’s direction. To paraphrase Dolly Parton from 9 to 5, I think she’s planning on transforming that guy from a rooster to a hen with one swipe of the knife. However, Senya has seen her take the knife and gets up, announcing that he wants to test the strength of the “great Viking women.” He removes his cape and hands it to Desir, ordering her to set it down…which she does, hiding the knife within its folds. Then she tells him that they are now even and that he is on his own. So he was helping her hide the knife?

First there was poker, now comes strip arm wrestling!The two of them now make their way to a large stone cooking pit, the sides of which are about three feet high. They rest their elbows on it and begin to arm wrestle! Naturally, Senya wins. He is a man after all, even if he is a colossal wuss and whiner. King Stark seems happy that his loser offspring has bested somebody, even if it is a female. Then Desir and Senya go for a second round. This time the struggle is much longer and the Viking woman prevails over the Grimolt sissy boy. King Stark is not pleased and calls an end to the proceedings when the pair seems ready for a third round. He announces that there is no reason to test themselves against these women, as they are their slaves to do with as they please (the thinking of about ninety percent of the male population, I believe). Desir and Senya quietly return to the King’s table.

There is a sudden pounding at the door and two guys in wool vests (the easy way to discern a Grimolt it seems) haul in a struggling Ottar. Let’s pray to Odin, Thor and every other Norse god that these two are not planning to do to Ottar the same thing Zarko had in mind for the dancing girl. I guess the sheer frivolity of this shindig made Stark, Senya and all the other Grimolts forget to wonder just where Ottar was this entire time. They were probably too busying staring at all that cleavage and tanned female skin to bother with such trivial matters like where the lone male had wandered off to. Way to keep on top of things there, you dolts…or should I say Grimdolts.

What follows next is truly pathetic. Ottar gets loose and proceeds to leap around the room, trading punches with some guys, rolling in the floor and wrestling with others, waving torches at some and even sword fighting with a couple. All in all, the homoerotic connotations of this scene have sent my head…and stomach, into a tailspin. Eventually, Zarko manages to pin Ottar to the ground and belts him one, knocking the Viking man out cold. Zarko then picks him up and unceremoniously dumps him on Stark’s table. I sure hope dinner was over! The quickest way to have a meal ruined is to have some short, smelly, unconscious blonde man dropped on your food. The king splashes Ottar’s face with liquid, rousing him and then comments on his taste for fighting. “I’ll show you some Vikings who have lost that desire,” he adds before gathering up his cheesy Mongol hat and walking off.

We cut to an exterior scene, where Stark and his soldiers lead all the Vikings into Ro-Man’s cave. This is supposed to be at night, or at least that us what the piped in cricket sounds would have us believe, but it’s actually day for night photography. The bunch marches through the caves, passing by a skull and bones at one point. Stark claims that the owner of said skeletal remains was not a Viking and then leads the group onward. Eventually they come to a large cavern where a group of Blonde dudes are picking away at the wall with picks and other mining equipment while guards watch over them. Recognizing one of workers as her long lost love, Desir races over to Vedric, who at first is not sure if she is real. Kick him in the balls, that will convince him you’re real! A couple of the other Viking broads (Dagda and that nameless one) see their long absent boyfriends and rush to embrace them as well. Thyra looks a bit depressed that she has no man to run to, but a hand on the shoulder from Ottar makes her smile.

Enger comments on how touching the scene is, which incenses King Stark, who then orders all the couples separated. The guards swarm over the Vikings, pulling women away from their men. Two of them yank Thyra and Ottar apart and the latter begins to protest that they are not a couple. Then he pauses, looks at Thyra and asks if perhaps they are. Don’t expect an answer to that too soon.

Meanwhile Stark is annoyed that Desir spurned him but now finds comfort in the arms of a “slave.” She protests that Vedric is not a slave, but a warrior – the leader of the Stonjold. Stark claims that anyone brought to his lands by the great vortex are his to do with as he sees fit. He remarks on the short life span people have in the mines, but how the women will live as long as their beauty pleases him. Then he orders all the women removed. Ottar insists that he remain behind with the men and so he is, Thyra giving him a look of longing before being forced out of the cavern.

“By the time we return, you had better have dinner ready and on that table!”The women are taken to a large holding cell for the night. Stark comments that his men are already fighting amongst themselves to see who gets to claim one of these new women. Desir defiantly claims that they will never submit to savages. Stark retorts by telling them once they know a Grimolt warrior, they will soon forget their blonde boyfriends, but for the tonight they get to rest. He and his men file out and the ladies are left to ponder their situation. One wonders what they can do if their men were unable to escape. Dagda insists that she would rather die than have one of the Grimolts touch her. Thyra has a dreamy look in her eyes and is praising Ottar’s action at proving himself a man. Desir gets fed up with the pessimism and reminds them that they are not beaten yet. They have discovered that their men are alive, so they must find a way to get to them, free them and escape this country. Sure, hon. And what are you planning to do after breakfast? Desir spots a barred window set into the wall. Thyra notes that no one can fit through, but Asmild steps forward and claims that she can do it. The others help her as she struggles to squeeze through it.

Meanwhile, down the in the caves, Vedric and the others are relating to Ottar what happened to them when they arrived here. It seems Stark wasted no time in capturing them after their battle with the sea serpent and put them to work in the mines. They tried to escape more than once, but after each failure, Stark had two of their number chosen at random by lot and then executed. Now they are unwilling to risk each other’s lives in another escape attempt, but Vedric announces that they must give it another shot, as they cannot leave their women in the hands of “those beasts.”

Outside, Asmild is running across the land while the other women wonder if she will make it to her destination. Then the door to their cell opens and a guard allows two old serving women to enter with a bucket and a large tray of…something. It cannot be food because they just ate at the celebration a short time ago. One of the older gals reaches for Dagda’s clothing and begins to unlace it. Perhaps they were sent here to bathe the Viking women and get them prettied up for the next day? Whatever the case, Dagda refuses to let the old hag undress her and a pushing match erupts between the older women and the younger one. The commotion gets the attention of the guard, who opens the door and helps pry the Viking chicks off the old women. While he is distracted doing this, Enger sneaks out of the cell and escapes. The guard and the old hags leave and the others now notice that Enger is gone.

Back outside, Asmild has located the cave that leads to the mines. Inside, all the Viking men are snoozing except for Ottar, who is trying to smash his chains with a rock. Eventually Asmild rounds a corner and sees the men, along with a snoozing guard between her and them. Ottar notices her, but doesn’t make a sound. He awakens Jarl, who sees Asmild and then holds out his chained arms. The meaning is clear: get the keys to unlock these damn things. She looks around, picks up a large rock and then smashes it over the head of the sleeping guard. It’s instant coma time for that poor jerk. She quickly grabs his keys and unlocks the chains on the prisoners. She and Jarl share a brief, but meaningful look, so one must assume that like Asmild, Jarl is also single. Now freed, the Vikings pick up their mining tools – a bunch of large mallet-like hammers – as well as the coma guard’s spear and begin making their way toward the mouth of the cave.

They exit and are almost instantly set upon by Stark and his soldiers. A vicious melee erupts and we see Enger watching from a short ways away. At least one of the Grimolts gets a spear right in the gut, but all of the Vikings are captured alive. Ottar tries to make a break for it, but Zarko chases him down and once again beats the living shit out of him. The Viking women are now marched out and shown their captive men. Desir reveals to Stark that they are betrothed to these men and this love for them is what drove them across the sea in search of them. Stark wonders how deep this love may be and just what they will do to prove it. Vedric cautions Desir to be wary of Stark, but she is not afraid and says her love for him is equal to any test the Grimolt king might devise.

Stark now shouts something about how all Grimolts are protected by the great serpent, “god of the vortex” and suddenly points into the distance. We see the ocean far away and there, not too far from shore, can be seen the shadowy form of the sea serpent as it raises out of the water on cue. The effect to accomplish this is about as cheesy as you can imagine, but given that it is supposed to be night and things are dark, it can be overlooked…even if in reality, one would never be able to see that far at night. Stark has had enough tomfoolery for the evening and has the men returned to the mines while the ladies are taken back to their cell.

Now we see Stark enter his private chambers…followed by Enger! So that’s where she went when she escaped the cell! She went straight to Stark and betrayed the others! That’s how they knew to be waiting outside the cave for the escaping prisoners. She now talks about her reward for warning him. It seems she wants Desir killed. Gee, I wonder why. Stark thinks it may be a waste, since Desir is so…desirable, but Enger claims that the other woman is no more desirable than she. Stark grabs her in anger. He sees through her game and knows that she really wants Vedric for herself. Enger admits to this, but Stark knows that Vedric’s heart belongs to Desir. Enger implies that once Desir is gone, he could be persuaded to love her instead. This gives the king an idea. He thinks it would be good sport to see Vedric tempted before Desir is killed, so he gives Enger his ring and tells her to go to him. Is that ring like a free pass to journey anywhere in the kingdom unmolested? I guess so.

“What do you think I can get for this on ebay?”Enger approaches the cave and a sleepy guard (I swear it’s the same damn guy every time we see a guard) blocks her path. She shows him the ring and he lets her pass. She makes her way to where the men are zonked out and awakens Vedric. She then tries to convince him to escape with her, leaving the others behind. She proposes the two of them start a new life together far, far away. There is some more pointless talk and he then comments on her beauty. She says that she has much to offer a man. He responds by saying that in time, he hopes she chooses a worthy warrior for her mate. She claims to have already chosen one, the implication clear. Vedric says that his love belongs to Desir. Spurned, she gets up and leaves.

Enger returns to Stark, where she tells him that she wants to see both Desir and Vedric die. What was that saying again about hell hath no fury? She asks the king to kill them, adding that if he grants her this, he will never regret it. Stark grabs her and informs her that she will indeed have her desire and afterwards, he will let her demonstrate her gratitude to him. Yuck. I don’t like the sound of that. I’m betting he isn’t expecting her to cook or clean for him. Nope, I’m sure he has other activities in mind.

The next day dawns and a sizable crowd - about twenty five to thirty people (which probably represents everyone who worked on this film, be it actors, writers or the sandwich guy) – has turned out see both Desir and Vedric burned alive at the stake. Each one of them is tied to a stake a few feet from the other. This area looks remarkably like the same spot where Senya hit the tree and fell on his whining ass during the boar hunt. Two Grimolt flunkies approach the doomed duo and drop another armload of branches onto the sizable amount already piled up at their feet. Scratch that. The piles of wood seem to be located several feet in front of each prisoner. There is no way that lighting them on fire is gonna cause Desir and Vedric to go up in flames. Get all nice and toasty? Yes. Reduced to BBQ? Nope.

King Stark now speaks and announces that his son Senya will have the honor of lighting the sacrificial fires. Then he adds that the Grimolt gods are compassionate and will only require a single sacrifice on this day, wondering who it is that will live and who will die. Naturally, both Vedric and Desir beg to have the other spared. However, Stark has a different game in mind. Whoever it is that begs for their own life first will go unharmed. I think deep down, he fully expects both to burn to death, each one refusing to save themselves at the cost of the other’s life.

He orders the fires lit, so his girlie-man son sashays over, takes a torch from Zarko and after a brief pause, lights the two lines of the gunpowder-like substance that leads to each stake. Stark reminds them they there is still time to beg for life, but again each one demands that the other be freed, claiming life would suck without them. Vedric turns to Desir and begs her to save herself. She refuses. She then exhorts him to save himself, as she would perfectly understand and is willing to go up in flames. He refuses. The wood piles begin to go up in flames (good thing they are situated so far from the stakes!) and Thyra turns away, unable to watch. Ottar is there to comfort her. Desir now tells Vedric that if he truly loves her, he will save himself. Leave it to a woman to drop something like that on a man.

There is some sudden thunder and lighting, and for a brief moment I thought Thor himself was going to show up to kick some Grimolt ass, but no such luck. At the very least I expected some rain to put out the fires, but it seems even that isn’t going to happen. Vedric bids farewell to Desir, who reminds him that they will soon be together forever in Valhalla. Unable to take it any longer, Ottar pushes away from his guards and jumps down from the rock on which he was standing. Instantly he is grabbed by Zarko. Twice now this particular Grimolt has beaten his ass severely, and one wonders if it will happen for a third time. The answer is yes. There is a brief struggle, which ends with Ottar laid out on the ground, Zarko beating him repeatedly with his whip. The Viking ladies had also tried to put up a fight, but the Grimolts have gotten things calmed down once again. It seems that Vedric and Desir are fated to go up like a pair of sparklers on the Fourth of July.

As the flames get higher, Desir looks at Enger and something changes within the dark-haired woman. She rushes to Stark and demands that the pair be released, saying that it would be a sin to prevent two people who are fated for one another from being together. Stark informs her that once the sacrificial fires have been lit, the gods require their due. There is more thunder and lightning at this point and Stark points to this as proof that the storm god licks his lips in anticipation. Enger calls his gods false and then walks a few feet away. She begins praying to Thor, beseeching him and the other Viking gods to protect them and show these infidels their true power.

“I have the powe….OUCH!!!”It now begins to rain (I knew it!) and all the gathered Grimolts are looking rather nervous. They soon begin departing the area in mass, with the exception of Stark, Senya and Zarko. The downpour soon has the fires put out. Senya unsheathes his sword for some inexplicable reason and soon after it is struck by lightning, illuminating the girlie-man with its electric incandescence. He cries out to his daddy and then falls over dead. Stark rushes to him while Zarko makes like all the rest and runs away. Ottar, who is now awake again, frees Vedric and Desir. Stark shouts out orders for all the Vikings to be killed, in exchange for the life of his son, but one wonders just who the hell he is talking to as all his lackeys took off running long ago.

Not waiting for his flunkies to return, Stark brandishes his own sword and rushes Vedric, who can only fight back with a long branch pulled from one of the wood piles. There is a brief (and lame struggle) between the two. Vedric manages to get the sword away from Stark, and then using what looks like a karate chop to the neck, causes the king to fall to the ground. He holds the point of the sword to Stark’s neck at which point the king asks to be killed quickly. Vedric says that he has no desire to kill him, only to leave in peace. WTF? This is the guy who randomly put two of your men to the sword each time you tried to escape, yet you don’t wanna see him die? I’d have at least cut off an ear or a finger or maybe even carved "DORK" into his forehead.

Some time has now passed, but we don’t know whether it is the next day or later the same day. Stark leads a procession of Grimolts to a rocky hilltop where a fiery pit is located. Bringing Senya’s body along on a stretcher with them, it’s obvious that this is his funeral service. Either that or the worst BBQ picnic in history. Once the ceremony is underway, Stark claims that his son will not enter the afterlife alone. He has Senya’s sword brought forth and then tosses it into the pit. Next, some poor Grimolt woman is picked up by Zarko and thrown, kicking and screaming, into the fires. Finally, Senya’s body is dumped into the pit. Stark claims that his son’s death will be avenged. Fade out.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

Fade in. We see all the Vikings, both men and women, walking across the land. Since they have not gotten anywhere near the sea yet, I’m guessing this – along with Senya’s funeral – is all taking place later on the same day. Back in Grimolt land, Stark and his men have mounted horses and are now in hot pursuit. At one point the group of Vikings stops to check their surroundings. Vedric says that he thinks this is the way to the sea. Thinks? C’mon dude! Just last night you could see the ocean from the mouth of the mining cave. You should have known in which direction to walk. Sheesh. Helen Keller could find her way better than this guy. Ottar now says something about seeing a strange mountain when they were first brought in this direction. He has the others wait while he runs to the top of a nearby hill to get a better look at the surrounding countryside.

In addition to finding the correct path to the sea, he also spots the Grimolts closing in on their location. He runs back and informs the others of this and the group hastens towards the shore. We now get several alternating shots of Vikings running like hell and Grimolts racing on horseback. Oh yeah, with the occasional shot of the dogs the Grimolts are using to track their targets. At one point, Enger drops to the rear of the Viking group and when no one is looking, slips off in a new direction, removing and dropping her bracelet as she does so. A little further on she drops the other one, no doubt purposely leaving a trail to follow. The dogs eventually arrive at the point where the two trails diverge and after a brief pause, follow the path that Enger took.

“Down! Down! Bad doggie!”The Vikings finally arrive at the beach and spot their method of escape: several long boats that look like glorified canoes. Desir now notices that Enger is missing and asks where she is. It turns out the dark-haired woman is busy running from dogs and men on horseback. Finding herself trapped when she encounters a cliff, she can only stop and wait for the dogs to arrive. This they do, and they quickly set about tearing her apart. She lets out a scream that can be heard at the beach, if not the New World. The others realize that Enger gave her life in order to save them. With no time to lose, they race for the boats.

Meanwhile, Stark and his cronies have come across Enger’s body, which amazingly enough, is not in several pieces after the dogs finished with her. In fact, not only is she in one piece, but there isn't even the slightest laceration or bruise on her, just a small trickle of blood at her neck, denoting a bite wound there. What, where those vampire dogs? Did they drain her of blood or something? Was one of them named Zoltan, by any chance? Anyway, Stark mutters something about how all the Vikings shall die and soon he and the other Grimolts are rampaging towards the beach.

After several more shots of people running across sand and others racing on horseback, the Vikings finally reach the boats and begin pulling one of them toward the water. However, Zarko has found a shortcut and managed to get he and his horse to the beach faster than the other Grimolts. He arrives at the shoreline (in a ridiculous instant where the film has been sped up to help portray speed on his part) just as the Vikings push their boat into the sea. However, Ottar slips and falls. When he picks himself up, he notices Zarko nearby. He seems to contemplate rushing to join the others or fighting the Grimolt. I guess having his ass whipped three times was too much for his ego to take, so he turns back and faces Zarko for one final confrontation. He pulls his opponent off the horse and the two begin struggling in the surf as Stark and the others approach. Ottar manages to get the upper hand and he drowns Zarko in the shallow water by holding his head under the surface. The other Grimolts arrive and Ottar swims out to join the others on the boat. Not about to let them escape, Stark and his men grab a second boat and prepare to launch it.

A storm seems to have come out of nowhere, because when we see the Vikings paddling their boat, the seas are pretty damn rough. Also, it’s another rear projection shot that makes it appear as if their canoe is floating about a foot off the surface of the water. Thyra sees Ottar and helps him aboard, calling him the bravest of all the Vikings. I see lots of Boom-Boom in the future for these two. Everyone begins to paddle like mad now: the Vikings to escape the Grimolts and the Grimolts to catch up with and capture the Vikings. Asmild worries that they will never make it and Jarl assures her that the Grimolts won’t harm her. I guess he plans on snapping her neck or something if they cannot get away.

Soon enough, they come upon the vortex. Someone shouts that they are too close to avoid it. Vedric urges going on, as it would be better to take Stark and his men to hell with them than to be slaves. For his part, Stark has ordered his men to slow down and back off. The sea serpent now arrives and begins swimming around in calm waters, despite a storm raging around the small boats. It rises up next to the Vikings but then submerges again without doing anything. Vedric produces a sword from somewhere (it must be the one he took from Stark) and hefting it, offers a quick prayer to Thor. Then he hurls it at the sea serpent, impaling the beast atop its head, right between the eyes.

Wait! Where was Kirk Douglas?The Vikings paddle on while the monster goes nuts, splashing around in the sea like an epileptic on a surfboard. It bypasses the Vikings and swims towards the Grimolts. Stark orders his men to get them out of there, but they are not fast enough. The great sea serpent grabs their tiny boat and snaps it into kindling with its jaws. Well, its more like a puppet sticks its head out of the water and grabs a toy boat before squeezing it really hard. The screams of the Grimolts who are torn limb from limb or eaten alive can be heard from the Viking boat. Vedric and Desir embrace and we see the sea serpent slowly sink below the surface, presumably having finally died from that sword sticking out of its head. Fade out.

Fade in. The Vikings are paddling their little boat. The weather is nice, the sky relatively clear and the sea quite calm. In the distance they see the shores of home. Whew! They must be freakin’ tired to have paddled such a long distance. Vedric turns to Desir and caresses her cheek (not that cheek!). I guess they get to spend the rest of their lives together. Presumably Asmild has hooked up with Jarl and we know now that Thyra and Ottar will be making babies. Somebody is going to have to do it. After all, of all the people than ventured across the sea (at least two dozen total) only about four or five couples will be returning. They had better start reproducing in order to get their people’s numbers back up to what it once was!

Oh, yeah…The End.

 

Review

James H. Nicholson, a sales manager for the RealArt Production Company, and Hollywood lawyer Samuel Z. Arkoff were the first to really realize the ticket buying power of the teenage movie-going audience. They formed the American Releasing Corporation in 1954 in order to cater to that market. Two years later the name was changed to American International Pictures, but the focus on youth-oriented action, comedy and horror films remained. Thus began thirty years of AIP films, categorized by low budgets and quick shooting schedules – the epitome of the “B” movie.

Nicholson and Arkoff also began to target what they saw as a hole in the movie market: second-run movie theaters and drive-ins that were unable to afford first-run Hollywood blockbusters, and thus losing their audiences. Realizing that if they were able to fill that widening hole with inexpensive films sold to exhibitors at lower costs, they could turn a tidy profit. Because it was the exhibitors who bought the films, AIP made sure to appeal to them first and foremost. This was accomplished, not by showing them completed films, but by devising titles for potential movies and having a poster commissioned to reflect the name and basic idea. These posters would be shown to the exhibitors and if there was a favorable response, the film was quickly greenlit and just as quickly shot and in the can. However, if the response was none too flattering, the concept was dropped and quickly forgotten. In this way they only financed films that they knew would sell and in turn began giving the larger studios a run for their money with their sudden success.

Director Roger Corman was linked with AIP from the very beginning. In 1954 he was looking for a distributor for The Fast and the Furious, a low budget film he was producing. Nicholson and Arkoff liked what they saw, seeing the film as exactly the type of movie going experience they were hoping to sell. They made a deal with Corman, formed American International Pictures and soon he had become one of their main directors, garnering a reputation for getting films shot fast and cheap. Viking Women and the Sea Serpent was one of nine films he made in 1957. With a story by low budget FX maestro Irving Block – polished up by Lawrence L. Goldman – and featuring a cadre of thespians who appeared regularly in AIP fare, the film typifies the sort of high concept/low yield product for which the studio is best remembered.

I really was rather shocked when I viewed this film for the first time in over thirty years. After years of reading a host of negative things about it, most of which seemed to be targeted at American International Pictures and Roger Corman in general rather than this film specifically, I suppose all those non-flattering remarks began to taint my already dim memories of the film. I was expecting crap but instead, got something much better. Reflecting on it all, I now wonder if this movie has unjustly garnered a bad rap over the years. While it’s true that many of the early films brought to us by AIP and/or Roger Corman were lacking in many different areas – some just being outright crappy or boring – this one has enough going for it that the lover of B-Movie cheese should be able to overlook any shortcomings and focus on the positives while simultaneously dealing with any perceived failings.

The Storyline.
As with the vast majority, if not all, of genre films from the 50’s, the storyline here is pretty straightforward and told in a linear fashion. A group of Viking women embark upon a trip to locate their missing men after three years of waiting for their return and end up having a few adventures in the process. It couldn’t get much more simple than that. Things start off in the Viking land of Stonjold where the ladies make their decision to make their historic trip, then moves to their time onboard their ship and fateful confrontation with a sea serpent before detailing their encounters with the Grimolts and the realization of what happened to their men. Finally, after plenty of melodrama in that foreign land, the ladies and their men escape and must flee back to their native country, facing down the Grimolts and the sea serpent one last time. The one positive aspect to the story is that the film can never bog down too long at any one point. One set of circumstances has barely arisen before something happens and the characters are plunged headfirst into a new situation. While in many films this might contribute to a frenetic sense of action and make for a overly paced plot, here it just helps keeps things moving, as there really isn’t a whole lot of depth to be explored anyway.

Characterizations & Acting.
With the short running time, coupled with the quick pace, there really isn’t a whole lot of time to develop any of the characters. Certainly none of them, with a single exception, show the slightest bit of growth throughout the film. The Viking women are all shown, again with a single exception, to be brave, honorable people on a heroic and romantic quest to find their lost mates. They are the heroes (or in this case, heroines) of the movie and as such are above reproach. Well, almost above reproach. That exception in both the previous examples is high priestess Enger. Initially she is portrayed as a scheming, selfish and murderous woman out to get what she wants no matter what the cost may be. She is the only one changed by film’s end, having realized the error of her ways and eventually redeeming herself by saving the others through self sacrifice.

On the other side are the Grimolts, who to a man, are shown to be morally decadent if not outright evil. And I really do mean to a man, as all the Grimolt women are shown to be either servants or slaves, kept around solely to entertain the men in the case of the more attractive and/or younger ones. In fact, Grimolt society seems positively patriarchal and chauvinistic in the extreme. Women seemingly have no rights whatsoever and at any moment may be called upon to offer up their bodies to a horny male or worse, be sacrificed in some heathen ceremony. All in all, not the sort of place where most self-respecting women would want to visit, let alone live. Hell, I’m male and there is no way in hell that I’d take up residence there, but that might have more to do with the severe lack of TV and junk food than anything else, not to mention the fact that the place is a total dump. Naturally, not a single one of the Grimolt men undergoes any type of growth or transformation. The closest any of them comes to change is Senya, who seems willing to offer small amounts of help to Desir and even displays a bit of hesitation near the end when lighting her sacrificial fire, but still appears too indoctrinated in Grimolt customs to make any changes that might openly defy his father. It doesn’t really matter, as all of the Grimolt men come to bad ends.

When it comes to acting skills, this movie runs the gamut from pretty good to passable to damn near non-existent. As Desir, the leader of the Viking women, Abby Dalton really gives it her all. She really gives the impression that she was throwing herself into her character, displaying the proper amounts of spunk, passion, anger and sadness when the moment calls for it. She is able to instill a likability to Desir that has little to do with her looks and more to do with her personality and outlook on life. Likewise, Susan Cabot as Enger is believable with her cool, calculating demeanor. She is noticeably different from the rest of the women not just by the color of her hair, but by the way she carries herself and interacts with others. While most of the other women turn in adequate jobs, they almost all have a line here or there that is delivered with something that can only be termed a momentary lack of talent.

As for the men, this is where we start getting into “miscast” territory. This is no more true than in the case of Jay Sayer and his portrayal of Senya. It’s not so much that he didn’t give it any effort, but that his accent pretty much kills any suspension of disbelief. That and his constant whining. I don’t know if the latter is a result of bad acting or bad directing, but it sure did get annoying fast. Richard Devon as King Stark fares better, but only because he just needs to look mean and angry then shout out orders at his lackeys. That pretty much sums up every boss I’ve ever had.

FX.
This is not an FX heavy film by any means, but there are a few moments scattered throughout that require some old fashion movie magic to help sell the ideas behind the story. The more commonly seen examples of these, as well as the most successful, are the various matte paintings utilized to help broaden the settings beyond cheap sets and location shots. Some showcase wide vistas, like the Viking land of Stonjold seen from the sea or the Grimolt castle glimpsed from a distance, while others just expand on the aforementioned cheap sets, such as the matte painting used to expand one of the castle halls from a dressed stage to a vast, high ceiling chamber. All of these matte paintings are really quite good and even look more convincing that similar shots seen in bigger-budgeted, color movies of the day.

On the flip side of that coin however, are the FX that do look rather crappy. These would be any model work done for the film as well as anything used in conjunction with the titular sea serpent. The model longship, glimpsed a few times before it goes down the throat of the vortex like a plastic toy flushed down the toilet, is somewhat unspectacular. Especially when it is on fire, then it just looks ridiculous. Faring worse is the miniature canoe and people that are seen getting chomped by the monster at the very end. Seriously, I think I staged more convincing encounters with sea monsters as a kid when playing with my rubber toys in the bathtub. Worst of all is the sea serpent itself. While it doesn’t look too bad when seen swimming around, its eyes just barely peeking above the surface of the water, it loses all credibility when it lifts its head and roars like an elephant. Then we can plainly see that it is nothing more than a hand puppet. It’s almost a relief when it is hardly shown in the film.

Straddling the fence between good and bad FX are the many rear screen projection shots. Most of these pop up when showing people at sea – the actors are nice and dry aboard their prop ship while the rear screen projects images of the ocean. The problem is that all too often, the boat in question seems to be too far off the water. At the end, when the Vikings are trying to escape, we see nearly the entire canoe they are occupying, but no water under them…just in the background. Worse, several shots of the women in the longboat make it appear as if the ship was several dozen feet off the surface of the water. While these are comical and easy to spot, they don’t hinder things too much.

Music.
We have another serviceable score from B-Movie music legend Albert Glasser. While I would personally say that nothing jumps out as truly remarkable, neither would I say that the work here is just run of the mill or pedestrian. There are several themes are that are pretty good, just not memorable. There are moments that are adequately rousing while others requiring a more subdued feel benefit from a lighter touch.

Technique.
When dealing with this type of movie, especially from this time period, there really is no way the word “technique” can be applied to the finished product. The film was shot competently enough given the low budget and time constraints, which were a standard element to any American International Pictures production. There really are no groundbreaking moments in the movie, either behind or in front of the camera, though a few decent matte paintings can be seen here and there. The movie is not exactly “action packed” but moves along quickly enough that before you know it, it’s over and you realize that not much of anything actually happened. In spite of the sea serpent in the film’s title, this really isn’t a monster movie and said beastie only puts in a couple brief appearances. No, the main purpose here seems to be showcasing scantily clad attractive women bouncing around in the sun. In this the movie excels. Hell, at some points it seems more like some sort of ancient beach party film than a historical adventure. Who cares that these ancient Vikings are speaking modern colloquial English when there is all those tanned thighs and bosoms to drool over? Of course, there is an aura of “cheapness” that hangs over everything, from the rear screen projected oceans to the hand puppet monster to the Bronson Canyon locales, there is no mistaking the inherent lack of money. However, if anything, this particular aspect contributes towards the film’s greatest strength: it’s sense of fun. Not having any money, Corman did the best he could to make an entertaining film and when compared to many of AIP’s other films, I think he succeeded wildly.

The Summation.
Viking Women and the Sea Serpent is not a 1950’s classic by any means. That categorization is reserved for films like The Thing, Forbidden Planet or even The Blob. The film cannot really be deemed a good movie either, as it is lacking in so many areas. However, there is still something alluring about the film, be it the brisk pace or all the attractive women, that makes it watchable…or at the very least, a step or two above boring. This mysterious X factor probably has more to do with the appeal that such cheap 50’s cheeze has for so many people (like myself) than anything else. It’s hard to imagine your average mainstream viewer sitting down in front of this film and not falling asleep by the halfway point. Rather, the positive attributes (and yes, they do exist) need to be appreciated by those who have cultivated a love for such cinema. This film will no doubt speak more to such individuals than anyone.

 

Expect To See:
Castles
Castles - The Grimolts have a big castle where they drink lots of beer, stuff themselves like pigs and then try to get fresh with the ladies. It’s exactly like your average fraternity house.
Dancing
Dancing - There is only one woman who dances in this film and after witnessing her performance, I must conclude that she is in serious need of some anticonvulsants.
Desert Hijinks
Desert Hijinks - I have no idea where in the world exactly the Grimolts are supposed to live, but there is no doubt that it is an arid, desert-like land.
Ocean Hijinks
Ocean Hijinks - While there's lots of sailing in this film, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as exciting. At least, not until the sea serpent and vortex are encountered. Even then...meh.
Romance
Romance - Asmild ends up with Jarl in the end and Thyra is stuck with Ottar. It’s almost as good an outcome as your average episode of The Love Boat.
Sea Terrors
Sea Terrors - A single giant sea serpent pops up twice. Just ignore how it is brought to life by bad rear screen projection. It also helps to overlook how it is played by a hand puppet.
Skin
Skin - Lots of skin on display here, both male and female. Since this was filmed fifty years ago (has it been that freakin long already?) don’t expect things to get too exposed.
Swords
Swords - While there are a lot of people running around with swords, it isn’t until the end that we get a bonafide sword fight…and even then it only lasts about a minute.
Underground Hijinks
Underground Hijinks - Plenty of walking, skulking about and running around in the caves. However, all of that is eclipsed by the sheer amount of talking that takes place in this location.
Violence
Violence - People get impaled, beaten up, whipped, burned alive and eaten by a giant sea serpent. At one point, rape is implied. Kind of surprising given the lighter tone of the film.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 15
Dead animals: 2
Instances of sexual assault: 1
Women who set out on trip: 11
Women who return: 5
Viking men located and brought home: 4
Evil Blondes: 0
Evil brunettes: Too many to count
Times Zarko beats Ottar’s ass: 3
Times Zarko snaps his whip at someone: 16
Percentage of movie in which sea serpent actually appears: 1.89%

00 Mins – How did they ever expect to fit that title on the Marquee?
14 Mins - Attacked by a puppet.
24 Mins - Nice to see that her lipstick survived the shipwreck.
26 Mins - Um…dancing? Around here we call that convulsing.
29 Mins - Zarko beats Ottar’s ass.
38 Mins - Asmild “rocks” the guard to sleep.
40 Mins - Zarko beats Ottar’s ass again.
44 Mins - Respect the bling.
48 Mins - They’re too far from the fire to even get burned.
51 Mins - Zarko beats Ottar’s ass yet again.
63 Mins - Uh, oh. It’s the giant pupp...er…sea serpent.


Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time one of the Viking women pines for her long-lost man, take a drink.

 

Images Click for larger image

I think I can see the
Keep on the Borderlands
.

Stand back everyone, she’s
getting ready to throw.


 
And women today think they
have it tough.

Viking men learn the cost
of not reciprocating.



“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

 
An accidental flush led to the
Tidy Bowl Man’s early demise.



Level 9, Ganon’s castle! Finally!

 
"Girl, check out these new boots."


“Dude, you’re gonna hurt yourself.
Leave the tabletop dancing
to the women.”

Burned at the stake by the
depth perception-impaired.



“God, get me out of this cheap-ass
production and I swear I will
never badmouth the SAG again.”

“Use a little less lighter fluid next
time, Harry. We’re just having a
BBQ, not lighting a signal fire that
can be seen from space.”


“Ok, the first ass who starts
singing row, row, row your boat
gets thrown to the sharks.”

Stark discovers that Enger’s choice
of limburger cheese sandwiches for
lunch is having a negative impact
on her chances of receiving
mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Hedora’s less oily cousin, Guido.


“Hello. Have you seen my cousin
Reptilicus anywhere around here?”

 

Immortal Dialog

Desir and Asmild discuss men.

Asmild: “Dou you really think we’ll ever find the men?”
Desir: “Of course we will, Asmild.”
Asmild: “Then Vedric will ask you to marry him.”
Desir: “Yes, he will.”
Asmild: “What is it like to…to love a man as you love Vedric? I wonder if I’ll ever know what it means.”
Desir: “Some day you’ll know.”

Shadow’s comment: Yeah, someday you’ll know all about men: raised toilet seats, dirty clothes on the floor, the lawn going three weeks without getting mowed and their need to always hold the TV remote.


Thyra discovers Ottar hiding under some furs.

Thyra: “Ottar, why did you stow away?”
Ottar: “Somebody has to protect you women. It’s ridiculous not to have a man along on a dangerous voyage.”

Shadow’s comment: Well, somebody has to be there to NOT stop for directions and refuse to believe that you’re lost.

 

Keep In Mind
  • Rudders are not necessary components in order to successfully operate a longship.
  • It’s possible to “outswim” a gigantic whirlpool in the middle of the ocean.
  • Blonde = Good. Brunette = Bad.
  • Getting hit in the face with a whip is just a mere annoyance.
  • The best and most precise tool for underground mining is a big freaking hammer.
  • Contrary to their reputation, Vikings were solemn, subdued and reluctant to fight.
  • Waving a sword around during a lightning storm is not a good idea.
  • Nine people can successfully paddle a canoe across an entire ocean.



This Film & Me

I have very dim memories of watching this film on TV way back in the mid 1970’s when all of the films produced by American International Pictures were constantly being played on both late night television as well as Saturday afternoon monster matinees. While I plainly recall watching it, the only thing about the movie that really remained in my memory were images of the sea serpent itself. Even after so many years had transpired, I remembered that the beast barely appeared in the movie. When the late 1980’s rolled around and I was fully in my VHS buying phase, I was never able to locate this film, or very many other AIP flicks for that matter. As a result, many more years would pass before I would see the film again. In fact, since it never aired on television (that I could find), I would not get the chance to view it again until it was released on DVD last year. After giving it another look for the first time in roughly thirty years – and really expecting to find utter crap after many of the things I had read on the film in the interim – I was very surprised to discover that the movie was really quite watchable, despite its low budget pedigree. It’s a fun film, plain and simple.

Shadow's rating: Five Tombstones



The Good

  • Lots of scantily clad hot chicks
  • Short running time and quick pace
  • Really good matte paintings for the era

The Bad

  • Bad puppet used for monster
  • Too many contemporary slang terms bandied about
  • Viking lands look eerily like Southern California
  • That horrible dancing woman

The Ugly

  • Stark’s wardrobe
  • Senya’s whining
  • Senya’s accent

 

 

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