Berserker: The Nordic Curse (1987)
By: Devon B. on November 25, 2012 | Comments
Moon Stone (UK)| Region 0, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 | 81 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Jeff Richard
Starring: Joseph Alan Jones, Valerie Sheldon, Greg Dawson, George Flower
Screenplay: Jeff Richard
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Rotten YouTube
I have no idea how it happened, but somehow I'd never heard of Berserker: The Nordic Curse until the Naughties when I found it while looking at VHS rental tapes at a Video Ezy. This was right as VHS was being cleared out of most stores, so I figured it would be for sale soon, and I couldn't just hire it because the store was actually near the in-laws place so it wasn't like I was living nearby. I kept popping into the store for a year hoping to find the tape available for purchase, but it never happened. Then, one day the tape was gone from the shelf and not for sale. I don't know who got that tape, but I hate them. A few years later the film got a DVD release in the UK and despite a high price I ordered it right away. I say high price because, given the cover, the DVD screamed budget release. This is without question the crappiest lookin' DVD I have ever owned, and I once had some Chinese bootleg DVDs. I'm not even sure what the fuck is supposed to be going on in the cover. Who is that guy? Why's it look like he's giving birth? And how's his hair parting like that? Maybe it's not hair and it's a bald guy standing behind a tree, but that doesn't change the fact that this artwork is total shit.

The back is slightly less crap, featuring fuzzy screen grabs and a write up about the story. This write up might not have grabbed my attention like the Australian VHS's did because it doesn't mention the bear. See, there's a bear.

Berserker starts in the 10th century when a berserker lands in the US and gets in a fight with a bear. Then 10 centuries later an old couple get killed in "Little Norway," the very area that five, slightly too old, college students are heading to for some camping fun. Little Norway is a dangerous area because there's a bear in there, and the killings do seem like bear attacks, but given the intro and the title of the film astute viewers, along with those that read the synopsis on the back, will know there's also a berserker in there. The berserker wears a bear mask, so maybe he's a bearserker, actually. The question on everyone's mind is will bear and bearserker meet again? (Answer: Yes!)

The set up is formulaic and Bearserker has some padding(ton bear) but it's an 80s slasher with a bear! That's like the most awesomest use of film ever, and I wish it had started a franchise. I declare any movie where a guy wrestles a bear to be super fantastic, so Bearserker is super fantastic indeed. The movie is not high budget, but the real bear ads some production value because the bear is the best actor in the film. The next best is George "Buck" Flower, who's playing a Norwegian, and I guess he does look like a sea captain so maybe that makes sense since everyone in Norway is undoubtedly a sea captain.

Other, non-bear or bearserker related, elements are pretty low rent. This leads to some unintentional comedy, which helps keep things interesting, and the film serves as reminder to that simpler time when the idea of "hip" youths in a horror film wasn't pretentious and it was okay to ride in a truck bed. Movies just don't have this deft mix of total rubbish and super fantastic anymore, and it's gems like this that keep me scouring through the obscure stuff of the 80s hoping to find another classic from horror's best decade.

Despite its many, many flaws, Bearserker is a classic in the same way Night of the Demon (1980) is. A mishmash of horror genres, Bearserker works for fans of dangerous bears and crazed killers, so really it's going to work for anyone that has any sense of taste at all.
Video
Bearserker is presented full frame. The print has spots and flecks of dirt and isn't very clear. It's about VHS quality, and may have even been sourced from a VHS master.
Audio
The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. It has a bit of distortion and some of the worst 80s music ever, and like the video it's about VHS quality.
Extra Features
This cupboard is bare.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
It may be one of the crappest releases ever, but I love this movie and I'm so glad I own it. I don't know that I'd suggest others pay the hefty retail price for the disc but given the film's lack of quality, by "normal" viewing standards that is, who knows if it will ever earn a better release? This DVD really should retail for about £2, so anyone that finds it at around that price should snap it up.

This is a bit of a spoiler, though I think most people will have worked it out early in the film, but this movie really should've been called Werebearserker. What a fuckin' concept! Seriously, this movie should've spawned sequels. I live in hope that someday someone will remedy this and unleash Werebearserker 2: Would You Like Some Making Fuck? on us all.

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