Horror movie lists: Fairies and trolls

Horror movies are obsessed with folklore. However, most of the time, it’s some ancient evil from faraway lands which sometimes can verge on xenophobia but most of the time is just a nice comment on how white tourists/people just can’t be bothered to respect other cultures and therefore should die (one of my favorite horror sub-genres is dumb tourists getting cursed on their holidays).

BUT Europe has some pretty cool terrors hiding in their fairy tale-vaults as well. For this list, I picked fairies and trolls because Europe is big and it would be an endless list but also I know a lot of creepy fairy-movies and this one troll movie that I really want to include.
Now, as all the other lists, this will be an ongoing collection of movies that I liked that cover this. There are the occasional spoilers, especially when it comes to the theme of the movie, I mean, that’s a given but you know the internet.

So let’s get started.

Trollhunter (2010)

This movie is one of those weird mixtures of horror and comedy that Scandinavians have somewhat mastered (ex: “Dead Snow”). It’s a found footage kind of movie about some young movie makers following a weird old dude who illegally hunts bears. Well, you guessed it, it’s not bears that he’s hunting.

The movie is fun, fast-paced and I loved the creature design because it’s basically the live-action version of traditional troll depictions such as Theodor Kittelsen’s and John Bauer’s. As a lifelong fan of gruesome fairytales, I am very much in love with this movie.


The Hallow (2015)

I love Irish fairy tales because most of them are absolutely terrifying. Give it up for the toy industry to convince people that fairy folk is cute and adorable when all the legends and tales speak of kidnapped children, curses and everyone vanishing who dares to step one foot in a foggy bog.

“The Hallow” is about a couple and their newborn baby in a very remote house in the woods. This movie is wild, I can tell you that. The story itself is not really new but the execution is fun and veers into exciting towards the end.


The New Daughter (2009)

This movie is based on a short story by John Connolly who has published a very gorgeous short story collection around fairy folk (“Nocturnes”). I know that some people generally avoid Kevin Costner movies but he’s done some pretty cool darker movies in the last decades, so bare with me.

“The New Daughter” is about a divorced father (obviously, whenever the father is the protagonist, the mother needs to be out of the picture for unknown screen writer reasons) who moves to the countryside together with his teenage daughter Louisa and younger son (who is only there to up the stakes). One day, Louisa goes walking through the nearby forrest and stumbles upon a weird mound and keeps returning to it. Hilarity ensues.

Changelings are a very horrifying concept of Irish folklore. It’s when the fairy folk switch out human babies (mostly) for their own kind. Horror movies have a long history of doing the switcheroo because what’s more terrifying than not recognising your own kid anymore? Well, for me it would be my own cat since I don’t have any kids but you get the gist.

It’s not the most mind-blowing movie of all times but I like the concept, there are some very nice eery ideas in there and the acting is alright.


Thale (2012)

Two crime scene cleaners discover a hidden woman at a crime scene. She has a tail and doesn’t appear fully human. Finding out who she is and why she ended up in a cellar of a dead man turns into a dangerous adventure. This is more a dark fantasy than outright horror horror movie but I allow it!

This movie had a budget of 10.000 US-Dollars and it looks fantastic. Give it up to Aleksander L. Nordaas who also did the Cinematography and editing because this is a fantastic low budget horror.


Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

I don’t really like the ending of this movie but I adore it for the visual richness and terrifying fantasy. I remember seeing this at the movies and giggling because I recognised all those fairy tale stories from the toad under the tree to the mandragora root that supposedly helps with pregnancies. The real horror – as so often – is of course man-made. The trauma of war, in this case del Toro’s version of the Spanish Civil War and all the horrors that come with ordinary people trying to survive through it, is told through the perspective of our heroine Ofelia whose mother married a sadist Falangist Captain.

If you want a feel-good horror movie for a popcorn-night with friends, I advise against this one. It’s basically the Debbie Downer of this list. But it is a visual treat and has some stories (it’s a lot of stories within a story, in a way but it’s no anthology, only our heroine, like all fairy tale heroines, needs to go through several challenges) that will keep you awake at night.

4 thoughts on “Horror movie lists: Fairies and trolls

  1. Thank you very much for this list 🙂
    I was looking for horror movie with “fairy lore” and I think I’ll watch “The new daugther” 🙂 (having already seen the Hallow)


    1. Oh, you’re welcome. It’s so weird, fairies are so good for horror but hardly ever featured (I also recommend Pan’s Labyrinth, Don’t be afraid of the dark and Hole in the Ground, if you haven’t seen them already).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen both already 🙂 And liked both ! And now I’ve also seen “The new daughter” (and rewatched “The Hallow”, coz why not) and I had fun with it, thank you 🙂

        But yeah, I wish there were more fairies in horror. Especially irish ones.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.