═ skugga hrafnsins (Revenge of the Barbarians; Shadow of the Raven) (1984)
Starring: Reine Brynolfsson (Trausti), Tinna Gunnlaugsdˇttir (Isold), Egill Ëlafsson (Hjoerleifur), Sune Mangs (Bishop), Kristbj÷rg Kjeld (Sigrid), Klara ═ris Vigf˙sdˇttir (Sol), Helgi Sk˙lason (Grim), Johann Neumann (Leonardo), Helga Bachmann (Edda), Sigurur Sigurjˇnsson (Egill), Sveinn M. Eisson (Ketill), Flosi Ëlafsson (Erikur), Gumunda ElÝasdˇttir (Fostra), R˙rik Haraldsson (Lawman).
Irishman seeks vengeance against Norway Vikings in Iceland in the Viking Age, c. 900
887 A.D. The Dark Ages. Barbarian waves sweep across Europe. Most feared, the pagan Vikings, who rape and pillage along every coast. The last outpost of civilization is Christian Ireland.
A father reads from the Bible to his son and daughter. Vikings are sneaking up on the family. The mother sees a Viking and lets out with a scream. The father jumps up but is hit with a Viking arrow and goes down. The mother keeps screaming, so the Vikings kill her too. A Viking comes with the Bible over to their leader saying it looks like the Irish don't want them in their land. Another Viking brings the Irish son to the leader and asks what's to be done with him? The order is to kill the boy. The Viking takes the boy deeper into the woods, but just can't bring himself to kill the lad. He tells the boy to get out of here and the boy takes off.
Iceland, twenty years later. A Viking trading ship lands on the coast. The leader on shore asks the trader if there is any news about Norway? The trader says King Harald is still fighting with his nobles. The leader says that many an Earl has fled from Norway. The trader agrees, but says that Harald always sends assassins to kill the Earls who have fled Norway. The leader says one day we rebels will be free to go back to Norway. He says it's been 20 years since their last raids on Ireland.
A mysterious man gets out of the boat and comes on shore. The trader asks if the leader knows the Celt standing with his back turned to the two speakers? He picked the Celt up in Norway. The Celt told him he had business with Thord. The leader asks the stranger about his errand concerning Thord. The stranger says in this bag of his, he has silver to give to Thord. The stranger won't give his name. He says he will give his name when he sees Thord.
One of the men receiving the new slaves goes over to a woman and rips open the top of her dress, exposing her breasts. (brief nudity) The stranger wants to intervene, but knows he mustn't do that, at least not yet.
On the journey to the town, the stranger kills the man who molested the woman slave. He throws a knife that goes in through the man's mouth. While the leader is investigating the body, the stranger kills another of the Vikings. Now the leader with his sword starts coming after the stranger, but the stranger throws another knife into the man's upper right arm. Now the leader can't pick up and hold the sword. He runs to his horse to get away, but the Celt throws a knife into his back. The Celt now tells the Irish slaves that they are free and can to the land of their birth. He tells them to go to a distant part of the land where they won't be found. The formers slaves start walking away.
The Celt now sends the horse back home saying this horse will be the sign of the Celt's coming.
The horse returns home and this alarms the family there. Thord and two of his men go down to the coast to see what has happened. But the Celt has already moved the bodies from the beach.
The Celt goes to a neighbor of Erik. He gives him half of a medallion and tells him to take it to Erik and he will know that the Celt has come. So, the neighbor wakes up Erik in the middle of the night and gives him half of the medallion. Erik matches both halves together and wonders why the Celt has come to see them. He comes out to see the Celt. He asks who the stranger is? The Celt says he just left his father's house in Norway. Erik asks why would his father send a stranger here? The King has newly fallen and now Erik's father has the title of Earl. His father wants him to return to Norway to share his rule. Erik again asks why would his father send a stranger here? The Celt says his father paid him in silver and so he took the job, although his journey was an arduous one. And his father gave him the money to pay for Erik's passage back to Norway. Apparently, the mention that the Celt has money for Erik for his passage, the Norwegian now welcomes the stranger into his home.
Thord doesn't find any bodies at the place where his men met the trader and gathered the slaves. So he decides that they will now go see Erik, who had told them that the Celt had visited him, but left after a short while.
The Celt tells his host that he can't stay long. He has to go on and see Thord. Erik seems puzzled by the Celt's desire to go so quickly. He insists that the Celt stays. The Celt takes his half of the medallion and then places the silver for the passage to Norway on the table for Erik.
The Celt rides on the beach with two men sent with him by Erik. One of the men stops and picks up the knife that the leader dropped on the beach. The man wonders whose knife is this? The Celt says it's the leader's knife. The man asks how can the Celt be so sure? The stranger says because he's the one who killed the leader. The man is going to throw his knife at the Celt, but the Celt first hits the man with another of his many knives. He gets the man in the throat and he goes down. The other rider tries to attack the Celt, but again the Celt wounds him in the arm and he goes down. On the ground, the wounded man asks to be spared. The Celt says he will spare him, because once in Ireland the man saved the Celt. But he will spare the man's life, if only he makes Erik believe that the Celt is dead. And the spared man must leave Erik's house at least until the next day, when the stranger has done of it. The wounded man agrees.
Thord's men come to see Erik. Erik says, so the men have heard the good news that Harald has fallen and now they can all go back to Norway. He adds that the Celt went out riding to tell the fellows the good news. The fellow even had the other half of papa's medallion. The three men want to see the two halves of the medallion. Erik takes Thord inside his house. The leader is beginning to understand that the Celt has some connection to their last raid on Ireland. He and Erik check the money they still have from Ireland and it matches the money that the Celt gave Erik. They are interrupted, by another of the three men, who says they have found the bodies of their men in the sheep's pen.
Everyone rushes over to the pen. Erik looks at the bodies and says it's the Celt who's behind all of this. He shouts to get the horses!
The Celt with the wounded man show up on the outskirts of Erik's farm. He tells the wounded man to go and tell Erik that the Celt is dead. The Celt watches as the wounded man rides to the farm house.
The wounded man falls off his horse as he reaches Erik and the other men. Erik demands to know where is the Celt? The wounded man says that Thord's men came after them, killed the Celt and the other rider and wounded him. He was lucky to have gotten away from Thord's men alive. Erik says the wounded man is lying and for that he is going to die. The wounded man is hit with a spear to his back. He dies.
The Celt has watched as the drama unfolded. Now he leaves.
Now Erik is in trouble for the three men believe that Erik killed the wounded man so there would be no witness against him. Erik denies this and says he will find a witness that will back up what he has said he did. Now he and the men ride out in search of the Celt.
The Celt is now at Thord's farm watching what's going on. He sneaks up into what is called the Temple of the Gods and looks around. A young man suddenly comes in and the Celt has to dive into some hay to hide. The boy's mother comes in and is upset. She shouts that the boy should know better than to hide in the Temple of the Gods. She finds her boy and laughs at him in his hiding place. They both leave the Temple.
Now Erik and the five men with him arrive at the farm. The leader decides to have a private talk with Erik in the Temple. Erik says they have struggled together and have come to this terrible place together and there has always been trust between them. But now the Celt has sown distrust amongst the men. He says the Celt will do anything to destroy them. He adds that the Celt may even be one of the King's hired assassins come to kill the rebels. Thord says he trusts Erik. He adds that he has lost three of his men. They must bring these bodies together for right now and then they will hunt down the Celt together.
As Erik and his own two men ride back to their farm, Thord says for his two men to follow Erik to the farm, but don't let them know they are being followed.
The Celt watches the beach from a hiding place. He sees Erik and his two men rid by. Then he places what look like powder kegs on the beach. He goes back into hiding. Thord's two men ride up and find the powder kegs. They stop and follow the powder kegs to a small cave. The Celt kills first the one man and then the other.
Erik and his men have gotten the three corpses and they start riding back to Thord's place. As they ride along the beach they find the corpses of two of Thord's men. They stop, get off their horses and Erik checks on the bodies. The next thing Erik knows is that one of his men has been hit by one of the Celt's knives. Erik tells his one living man to keep moving because there's a madman after them. Both men ride off. The three horses with the three corpses now run off to Thord's place.
Thord's men see the horses coming and announce: "Here they come now!" A man comes to Thord and tells him there's one more of Erik's dirty tricks. Thord goes out to see the corpses. And now Thord and four more men go after Erik. They discover the two dead bodies of their men and one of Erik's men. Thord doesn't really know what's going on here. He says it's mighty strange of a thing to happen. So he returns to his Temple of the Gods and thinks hard about what is going on that so many men should have been lost. Thord prepares for battle. He and his men ride out. They ride to the outskirt's of Erik's farm. They see Erik and his men are loading up a ship with supplies. Thord's second hand-man says that Erik is fleeing. They decide to attack Erik and his people.
The men loading the ship are all killed. Then they go to the farm house and set it on fire. The people start running out the front door and are killed too. Erik is the last one to come out. He shouts that he has done nothing wicked and the Celt is real. Thord shoots Erik in the heart with an arrow from his bow. Only two people survived the massacre. They let the boy live and also a man described as an "idiot".
Thord and his men return home.
The Celt has been staying in a cave near the Thord homestead. And this endangers the Celt, because the next day they put Erik's body in the cave and then they start to wall up the cave opening. They place a fence of tree trunks in front of the cave.
Thord's brother tells the idiot that he will kill Thord's son by the Irish whore and then he will kill Thord. The idiot doesn't like the plan. The brother goes away from the cave. The Celt gets out of the cave and takes the idiot with him to go get Thord's war horse. The two men ride the horse right across Thord's land. When they reach the Celt's horse, he tells the idiot to keep on riding away from Thord. He adds that no one can catch him, because the war horse is the fastest horse on the island. The idiot takes off.
Thord's men have been out searching, but nobody has found the Celt or the idiot. Thord's brother goes up to watch from the cave entrance. Thord comes and asks him if there is any news? The brother says there's only the ravens that are the only things new here. They seem to be nesting on the ridges now. Thord takes the appearance of the ravens as a bad sign from Oden that the god is mad at him.
The Celt is now back in the Temple of the Gods. Thord's woman comes into the Temple. The Celt grabs her and covers her mouth. He tells her to be calm. It turns out that the Celt is the woman's brother. He reminds her of when they were kids back in Ireland. His sister stops resisting and they hug each other. The brother says he's responsible for all the murders lately. She asks her brother if he is going to kill Thord? Yes. Sister says her son, of course, is also Thord's son.
A raven lands on a sleeping Thord and he freaks out about it. He rushes over to the Temple of the Gods and is freaked out again as the Celt has turned all the gods with their faces to the wall, as if rejecting Thord.
Thord says the gods are mad at them and they demand a great sacrifice: the boy!
The sister wakes up and does not see her son in his bed. She panics and starts searching for him. The boy is up by the cave, but his mother doesn't know that. She hears the boy's father speaking to the men, saying that he is even willing to sacrifice his own son to the gods. The sister shouts out to the father of her son that it was the Celt that turned the god's faces to the walls. Thord asks her why is it just now she's telling him this? She says that Thord didn't believe Erik, so why would he believe her? She goes on to say that they can capture the Celt because he plans to kill the men, but save her and their son. Thord likes the idea of capturing the Celt.
Sister gives the okay signal to her brother. Brother comes down. He walks behind her until she shouts out to the men to grab him. The men surround the Celt, who throws his weapons on the ground. Thord asks him who is he?. He says he is the Celt. That is an evasive answer and Thord demands who is he really? He says King Harald hired him and he knifed Erik's father and when he was dead, he took the broach (medallion).
Thord says the Celt is talking like a mad man. They will hang him up for awhile, and maybe he will regain his senses. The Celt has his hands tied to an ox bow and the oxbow is hung up. The Celt is helpless and the men beat him in his mid-section with a short log. The men also cut the Celt's skin with their knives.
After awhile, sister says she will now go and prepare a feast for the men. Thord tells his right hand-man that they will let the Celt hang for awhile. They must not kill him because they need to find out all they can about this foreigner.
The men go in for their food and drink. Sister has a servant take a supper to the guard. Then she goes out to tell brother that she never meant for things to go this far. She only wanted to save her son from being sacrificed to the gods. She tells him about a place he can hide. She loosens the ropes on the oxbow and then returns to the house. Thord's brother rushes out to check on the Celt. Everything looks okay and he returns to the home.
Now the Celt pulls the oxbow down and frees himself. Sister looks outside and then comes back in the house saying that the Celt has vanished. The men rush out to check on the Celt. They check up by the cave and the guard there is gone. Thord's brother keeps a close eye on Thord's woman. It looks like she is speaking to someone. So the brother comes down to check. The guard is in the attached barn and the man begs the woman not to give him away. Thord's brother comes into the barn and sees the guard run for his life. The brother throws his knife into the man's back and he crashes through the barn wall dead. Thord checks on the dead man. He gives his brother a dirty look for killing the man.
Thord goes inside to interrogate his wife. He tells her to tell him if she helped the Celt? Otherwise he will kill their son. The Celt woman asks will this bloodletting never cease? Thord says it will never cease flowing, unless the Celt is theirs.
Thord comes out after speaking to his gods. Then he tells his men to prepare for a human sacrifice. He is thinking of sacrificing the boy, thinking that will draw the Celt out in the open where they can capture him.
Dad prepares the boy by telling him not to look over as he lays on the table. This is a test of the boy's courage.
It's the mother that breaks down telling Thord she will tell him all about the Celt as long as he spares her boy. The boy runs to his mother.
Now the Celt knocks over the fence covering the burial cave of Erik. He is dressed as Erik with the leather death mask on his face. Thord shoots an arrow into the Celt's chest, but he has protection underneath his outer clothing. This spooks Thord's men and they start running away. But Thord starts to go meet the Celt. Thord shoots another arrow into the Celt with the same result.
The Celt keeps coming down the steps to the cave. Thord's brother is hiding behind a corner of the house hoping to jump out behind and kill the Celt. Now the Celt is very close to Thord, who shoots a third arrow into the Celt with the same results. Now sister yells to her brother watch out behind him. The Celt whirls and throws a knife into Thord's brother's chest. He goes down. Now it's just Thord versus the Celt. Thord asks the Celt first tell him who the Celt really is. So the Celt tells him. Thord killed his father and mother and he stole his sister from the family -- his sister who is Thord's "whore". This last part really shocks Thord.
Now Thord goes for his arrow to kill the Celt without his vest on, but the Celt reaches his knife on the ground and throws it into Thord's neck. The boy runs to his father and throws himself on dad. He cries. Mother tries to comfort him.
The Celt buries all the murder weapons. Now the Celt goes into see his sister. The boy immediately turns his back to his maternal uncle. He tells sister that now he will take her home. She says she is staying on Iceland. Furthermore, she says that her brother has to leave, never to return again. The Celt leaves. The boy is going to try and kill the Celt, but the Celt gets on a horse and is quickly down by the beach.
The boy now digs up the weaponry that the Celt had buried. Will he be the next one to seek vengeance?
Good movie. This is the story of an Irish boy whose family is destroyed by a group of Norwegian Vikings. The boy himself was nearly killed. Twenty years later the Celt is looking for revenge on those very Vikings that killed his parents. The story of how the Celt proceeds on Iceland to get his vengeance is an interesting story with some interesting twists. In history, it was the Vikings wreaking havoc on the Irish, but here the Irish get a bit of revenge.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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