Oceaniden (Denmark-2010; short [8:12 min] dir. Gorm Just)
This weekend’s Fright Flick harks from Denmark and features a particular cryptozoological favourite — a hybridisation of Man and Fish. In the past, mummified merfolk have been a standard attraction at traveling “freakshows”, though of course the weird displays oft prove to be taxidermological frauds, such as this rather spectacular one:
The main contemporary image we have of mermaids derives from the famous story by Hans Christian Anderson and has appeared in cinema in romantic comedies such as Ron Howard’s 1984 Splash!, and most famously in Disney’s 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid.
But the connection between mermaids and the Sirens of Greek mythology reminds us there is a dark side to the aquatic mythology of the “women of the sea”, which films such as Hideshi Hino’s 1988 tale of delusion and decay, Mermaid in a Manhole [aka Ginî piggu: Manhôru no naka no ningyo] and the under-appreciated She Creature (US-2001; dir. Sebastian Gutierrez) exploit to good (i.e. nasty) effect.
This weekend’s short film presents a cautionary tale that lies somewhere between the beauty and terror of mermaid folklore — veering more to one side than the other.
Check it out here.