Blood of Beasts: the HypnoHair, the Bearface, and the Awful, Awful Wardrobe

Dec 20th, 2005 | By | Category: Columns

Recently, a movie came out that takes the audience on a whirlwind fairy tale adventure, melding mythology old and new to create a world of imagination. A cast of mostly unknown actors have thrown their weight to the crafting of this timeless tale, and finally, finally, it is getting the retelling it so richly deserves.

With a brave young heroine, a saintly beast, and glorious costumes, who could help but love Blood of Beasts?

Blood of Beasts stars Jane March, who turned in a spellbinding turn in The Lover and then dropped off the radar. Apparently rent was due or something, though, because she slips into a fishnet top and a chiffon skirt (no, really) as Freya, the daughter of a Viking lord.

Freya’s onetime fiancé has been lost for years or months or something, and as the movie opens, her father is pressing her to marry the young guy whose name I never catch because his extensions are sewn in right under his bowl cut, creating a hypnotic sway of just the bottom two-thirds of his hair, which, when I see it, causes me to forget everything else I have ever known.

We’ll call him Jake.

So, Freya doesn’t like Jake, because he is an enormous tool. In case the HypnoHair has not told us enough, we are treated to a nice bassoon blast on the soundtrack whenever he says something. And by “says” I mean “reads off a cue card phonetically.” Not so bright, is Jake.

Good thing he has a lieutenant, played by the plucky Jimmy Olsen from Lois and Clark. (No, I’m serious. You can go check. It’s him.) Jimmy is bright and honorable and is clearly in for an ass-beating from the corrupt Jake, but we pretend that we have never seen a movie before, and maintain some suspense.

They live in a picturesque Viking village that is maddeningly accurate. It actually drove me to distraction, because with a budget of ten dollars they managed to create a stunningly accurate set of weapons, armor, etc. given their limitations. Then they put Freya in a chiffon skirt. It is beyond my ability to comprehend. Don’t get me started on her “lace-up shift” sewn by Mrs. Perkins’ first-grade class. Just– just enjoy the village.

However, this Viking village is being threatened by plot holes from the past, as Freya’s father and every other Viking in the whole village (oh, strategy, why?) depart to find the first boatload of Vikings who sucked enough to get captured and probably killed.

I’m just saying.

In any case, over Freya’s objections, they all travel to the forbidden island (hint #1), push aside the hanging bodies of their dead companions (hint #2), and move into the corpse-strewn keep (hint #3 people, for fucking serious).

Shockingly, they are attacked. I know! It’s crazy! Look out!

In the heat of battle, Freya’s dad goes down and is menaced by a guy in a bear suit who clearly got lost on his way to the set of The 13th Warrior. Jake, his extensions trembling with fear, calls everyone back to the boat, over Jimmy Olsen’s strong objections, and leaves the king for dead.

Totally awkward.

The Vikings return home like a bunch of little kids who got rained on, and Freya is double-pissed because her dad is probably dead, and because it means she’ll have to marry Jake, whose bassoon has gotten cranked up to Phantom of the Opera levels suddenly.

Well, Freya’s not about to take a bassoon lying down, so she suits up (in actual armor, thank God), takes her buxom maiden friend, and sets sail in the smallest boat I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, my shower is bigger than that, and I live in New York.

As they paddle across the waters, we cut back to the corpsey keep, where Dad wakes up and finds himself locked in a bamboo cage and guarded by the bearface gent, who assures him that the cage is to keep Dad safe, because bearface can’t trust himself.

(At this point in the screening, intrepid co-viewer Eileen snorts,  “I’ve heard that before,” which means that if you’re a bearface, heads up, because you totally have a shot.)

Freya, Warrior Princess! At this point, you can play back the first attack, because it goes about the same, except Freya has half a brain, so when she’s menaced by the beast she has her maiden try to shoot him in the back as she negotiates from the front, and while this might be an underhanded tack, if I were suddenly confronted with a bearface, I would probably not sweat enlisting my buxom friends to pull a little two-for-one on his ass, is all I’m saying.

Shockingly, this doesn’t work, because blah blah plot hole magic blah blah gratuitious Odin name-dropping.

Long story short, Freya agrees to stay, and the maiden and Daddy ship off, and I think this is pretty cool of the bearface and of Freya, I have to say, because even though they are clearly only doing it because the script told them to, Freya totally admits that it was her idea, and the bearface lets her take responsibililty. For the crappiest movie in Craptown, this isn’t a bad subtext to have.

Oh, look, it’s Jake. Talk about bad subtext. And by “subtext” I mean “hair.” He wants the throne for himself, which is totally a surprise to Justin Walin, who has clearly never seen evil before, even after all those years with Teri Hatcher. Justin’s conscience is disturbed, but he is under the spell of the HypnoHair, and can do nothing.

But you know who can do something? Freya and Bearface, who run around and bathe and play hide and seek and talk about their feelings, and at this point I figured I had a few minutes to kill and went to go see Narnia.

Let me tell you, that Narnia guy totally stole from this movie. They should sue.

I mean, young female heroine? A journey by unbelievers into a world of magic? Pagan god name-dropping? Crappy costumes? Uh, hello? Copycats.

(And speaking of copycats, you have got to take a look at the cover art for this movie. There hasn’t been such a skillful ripoff of Lord of the Rings before or since. Genius. I mean this. Look at this movie. If you were the sort of idiot who tries to find movies based on cover art that looks familiar, they would totally have gotten your rental dollar. Nice job, guys.)


So, the two plots converge when Daddy goes back for his daughter and finds out that she’s totally dating Bearface, and there’s a big fuss and she’s brought home against her will and then makes Jake fight for her hand against Bearface. Standard stuff.

So Jake and Bearface square off, and while the fight is clearly unfair (who can win against the HypnoHair? No one, my friends, no one at all) there’s still lances and spears and a dirty shot and OMG FREYA GETS IN THE WAY BEST MOVIE EVER.

As Freya lies dying, Bearface transforms into her old fiancé, and if you’ve never seen a movie before I bet that surprised the hell out of you! It totally reminds me of the scene in Narnia where you think Edmund is dead, BUT HE IS TOTALLY NOT. Man, do I love a surprise.

Also, that’s where the movie ends, because if a woman is smarter than the men, she has to be punished for it. By dying. And by dating a bearface.

Poor Eileen. She’s in a lot of trouble.


Genevieve is a prolific writer of speculative fiction living in New York, but you’ll never find her there because millions of people live there and Genevieve likes her privacy. Examples of her fiction can be found in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Federations, and numerous other magazines and anthologies. Her first novel is forthcoming in 2011. Also? She has terrible taste in movies.

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