“Horror movies are queer to their core”

Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen has been attached to movie making since he was a kid. He started out making short films and music videos while he studied literature at the University of Iceland. When he finished his BA-degree in literature he applied for MFA in movie making at Columbia University in New York and was accepted. He moved to New York in 2009 and has lived there most of the time ever since. While he was at Columbia his short films got a lot of attention at genre festivals and that encouraged him to make his first feature film Child Eater which will premier in Iceland on the 28th of October.

Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.
Director Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, where Child Eater premiered on October 15th. The film will premier in Iceland at Bíó Paradís on Friday, October 28th.

“Child Eater is heavily influenced by horror movies from the 70’s and 80’s, like Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. It‘s about a baby sitter, a lost boy and a horrible bad guy who lives in the forest and eats the eyes of children,“ says Erlingur, when asked to explain the plot of Child Eater in as few words as possible. And then he continues: “It‘s my first feature film. I wrote it and directed – and was one of the producers. You have to be involved in everything in cheap independent movie making.

The film is based on a short film that was one of my final assignments at Columbia. That short won the audience award at Columbia film festival and was then shown at festivals around the world. The biggest one was SXSW and there I got contacts to people in the film industry.

It was then that I and my producer, Perri Nemiroff, started seriously thinking about making a feature film. We discussed it over a good meal and a few beers and made plans to make it happen for real. And here we are today, after much work and a lot of stress.“

“Child Eater is heavily influenced by horror movies from the 70’s and 80’s, like Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. It‘s about a baby sitter, a lost boy and a horrible bad guy who lives in the forest and eats the eyes of children.“

You have said in interviews that you are fascinated by horror films. What is it about them that you find so fascinating?
“I‘ve been a dedicated fan of horror movies since I was a little boy so I have had lots of time to try to figure out why they fascinate me so much. There are many factors that contribute to that. Horror films have, for example, lead the way regarding innovation in film technique and directors of horror movies often have more freedom to experiment with imagery and visual effects that might not work in moreconventional‘ genres. When people are watching horror movies there is a kind of agreement between them and the movie maker; we accept seeing things that are outside reality, and are open to a certain amount of surrealism. That does not apply to dramatic or romantic movies, for example, and that affects the approach of the director.

We can also examine this fascination at a deeper level. One of my favorite directors, Wes Craven, often said when asked this question, that fear and terror were feelings that were natural and important to human beings. These feelings are a reaction to some danger that we need to take

A simple night of babysitting takes a horrifying turn when Helen realizes the boogeyman really is in little Lucas' closet.
A simple night of babysitting takes a horrifying turn when Helen (Caitlin Bliss) realizes the boogeyman (Jason Matin) really is in little Lucas’ (Colin Critchley) closet.

seriously but as we grow more evolved and more civilized we get fewer opportunities to experience those important feelings. Most of us live in save surroundings that don’t give chances for us to unleash these feelings. It is necessary and good for us to experience these feelings in a dark cinema with lots of other people.“

Erlingur is gay and he has said that Child Eater is not a gay movie, strictly speaking, but that there are gay undercurrents. What does that mean?
“The gay undercurrents in Child Eater are definitely there, but not very obvious if you don‘t know where to look. There is a gay character in the film, though that is not emphasized in any way and one of the main characters is Lucas, a young boy who is afraid of the dark but still enjoys horror movies. In a way that character is more or less built on myself. He loves going into the woods to watch birds and what he is most afraid of is that he is sure there is someone hiding in his closet.

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On the set of the movie, which is Erlingur’s first feature film.

So there are some themes in the film that speak, directly or indirectly, to queer people; the monster in the closet is a metaphor for some kind of a secret. The monster is a child eater and therefore represents something that makes you stagnate – if it gets you– or grow up, mature and accept oneself – if you get away from it.

But, as I said, these are undercurrents. And most probably some leftover ideas from my literature studies that have rept into the script. But whether people see those ideas in the film or not it is supposed to work as an exciting horror movie!“

Does it matter whether a director is gay or whether there are queer characters in movies?
“Of course it matters that all minorities have a voice and are able to tell their stories in films, both behind the camera and in front of it. I also think it matters who directs. One hopes that the director has some kind of a unique voice that gets heard on the screen and speaks differently to different groups of audience. Queer directors have without a doubt a different view of the world than straight directors. But each director is an individual and every individual has a unique voice so the more diverse voices we get to hear the better, I think.

It‘s about a baby sitter, a lost boy and a horrible bad guy (Jason Martin) who lives in the forrest.
In short the story is about a baby sitter (Cait Bliss), a lost boy (Colin Critchley) and a horrible bad guy (Jason Martin) who lives in the forrest.

It‘s also very important that we get to see diverse characters in films. When people who belong to a minority group see themselves represented on-screen it can have a very good and strong influence.

I personally am always pleased when I see a gay or queer person on film, whether being queer is an issue or not. And as a gay director I am very aware of the fact that there are still very few gay or queer characters on films and TV – especially in Iceland.“

A simple night of babysitting takes a horrifying turn when Helen realizes the boogeyman really is in little Lucas' closet.
The film is heavily influenced by horror movies from the 70′ and 80’s, such as Nightmare on Elmstreet and Halloween. But Erlingur has been a dedicated fan of horror ever since he was a little boy.

You have put forward the theory that horror films are at their core queer, what exactly do you mean by that?
“There are many aspects of the horror film that make it more queer than other genres of films. To begin with the horror art is the black sheep in arts in general and especially in films. It is avant-garde,

Many … themes in horror movies are things that queer people relate to … the bad guy is the other, hiding in shadows or closets. This fear of the unknown is often obvious in grotesque and distorted descriptions of sexual orientation and sexual identity;

different, uncomfortable and touches people differently from other genres. Many people disregard it altogether. So the horror film is queer compared to movies from other genres.

Many of the strongest themes in horror movies are things that queer people – and people from all minority groups in fact – relate to: Fear of the unknown, the bad guy or monster is the other, not one of us, hiding in shadows or closets. This fear of the unknown is often obvious in grotesque and distorted descriptions of sexual orientation and sexual identity; the vampire as a whole, the male killer in Psycho dresses up as his mother, Leatherface in Texas Chain Saw Massacre has a wig and lipstick on his mask – he is in fact in drag, the alien in Alien is both phallic in a male way and feminine in the sense that it’s mouth is literally vagina dentata. Carol Clover has even written a whole book about the flowing sexual identity connection between the male killer and female heroine in the slasher films of the 80’s.

Apparently the bad guy has a thing for eyes.
Apparently the bad guy has a thing for eyes.

These are just a few examples, but the horror film often tries to poke at weak and undefined sexual spots. That may be the reason why the horror movie is always most popular with younger audience, as sexuality is still a horrifying and exciting phenomen when you are a teenager. It‘s very interesting to look at how horror movies represent sexual identity and how they often start out with very stereotypical description of the sexes only to overthrow them completely as the film advances.

That‘s why I see horror movies as queer – because they play with sexual roles and turn the ideas about what is ‘normal‘ on their head.“

Child Eater will premier in Bíó Paradís in Reykjavik the 28th of October, what will you be doing next?
“Yes, Child Eater will premier in Iceland the weekend before Halloween and the plan is to have some kind of Halloween-child eating horror movie theme at Bíó Paradís in connection to the premier. Before that Child Eater had a world premiere at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, but we were chosen to be the closing film of that festival, which was a great honor for us. That screening sold out in less than an hour and they had to add another screening, which was really great! Child Eater will then go to a few other festivals this year and I will follow it – of course.“

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Núðluskálin
          - noodle bar

          Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

          All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
          We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
          Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

          Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

          Seatours
          - adventure cruise

          Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
          and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

          The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

          600x400-seatours-tasting

          This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

          600x400-seatours

          The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

          Birds, possible to spot:
          -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
          -eider ducks
          -shags
          -kittiwakes
          -fulmars
          -white-tailed eagle

          The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
          Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

          Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

          Contact Us


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          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.