Despite being a joint Swedish / American production the movie was never actually released in the United States. Instead, a newly shot, alternative version entitled Invasion of the Animal People was unleashed on the American public in 1962. Fortunately my fellow Britons were allowed to experience the original, rechristened as Terror in the Midnight Sun.
This is an apposite title for a film set in the snowy wastes of northern Sweden. This world has been turned upside down by the arrival of a spaceship whose crew includes a band of humanoid telepaths and a very hirsute escaped giant. The latter runs amok, much to the consternation of a figure skating American and her uncle plus the latter's scientific colleagues (whose number includes that heart throb of the geological community, the dashing and dangerous Erik Engström). They, together with a band of torch-wielding Sami, see off the extraterrestrial Yeti and his dome-headed masters.
See? I said it was an unforgettable film.
Terror in the Midnight Sun refers not only to the space visitors. It also alludes to the film's principal song, "Midnight Sun Lament". This terrifying acoustic experience kidnaps the music of that famous folk melody, "Ack, Värmeland du sköna" and sets it to new words by Gustaf Unger and Frederick Herbert. The relocation of this song from the county of Värmland in mid-Sweden to Lappland, plus the urban scenes of Stockholm with which the film begins, underscores the extent to which Rymdinvasion i Lappland presents a wildly inventive interpretation of "the North".
It strikes me, therefore, that this unique landmark of cinematic history is a perfect candidate for bringing to a close the Nordic Spaces project in which I have participated for the past four years. This multinational, multidisciplinary exploration of all things "Nordic" could find no more fitting denouement than an icicled, grizzly monster going up in smoke in the company of locals, visiting scientists and a troupe of guests from far further afield.