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The Finnish Eurovision Song Contest 2006 winner, monster hard rock group Lordi, stars in Dark Floors, a $6 million horror movie, from Finland's No 1 producer, Solar Film's Markus Selin. Fortified by the local firewater, intrepid correspondent Jorn Rossing Jensen visited the filming location in Oulu, Finland.

"In most cases music is a killer for a horror film; Lordi will perform the theme song, and that's it," said leading Finnish Finnish producer Markus Selin, of Solar Films, referring to Finland's most popular rock group, Lordi, who play roles in Dark Floors - a horror movie from a country without horror traditions.

Lordi, whose Hard Rock Hallelujah won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest by a record number of 292 points, released their Arockalypse album in Japan, and toured the US on the main stage of OzzFest, with Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb of God and Static-X. They also opened a restaurant in their home town of Rovaniemi, northern Finland, the gateway to Lappland.

"an idea for a film"

“After Lordi’s win in Athens, the group's leader, Mr Lordi, said in an interview that he had an idea for a film, which he would like to make with me. I contacted him, and he told me about the project - a horror movie in the American slasher tradition, adding Japanese style, set at a hospital,” added Selin, of Solar Films.

Selin, who has for the last four years delivered the No 1 local top-grossing films on the Finnish charts – his V2 Dead Angel is the 2007 leader – packaged the $6 million feature, which was mainly shot in a former factory for Nokia components in provincial Oulu, otherwise known for its annual Air Guitar World Championships.

About 380 metres of corridors were set up to represent a five-floor hospital - ”one scarier than the other, and hospitals are good for fear, anyway” said director Pete Riski – to be invaded by Mr Lordi (Tomi Putaansuu) and his group of Amen the Unstoppable Mummy, Awa the Vampire Countess, Ox the Hellbull and Kita the Alien Manbeast.

Scripted by Veli-Pekka Hänninen and Riski, from the idea by Mr Lordi, the film follows a father breaking into a hospital to take home his autistic daughter, when creatures from a dark world mount an attack, leaving mutilated bodies everywhere; survival rests solely on the little girl.

In a mainly UK cast – the film is shot in English -12-year-old Skye Deva Bennett plays her first lead role as Sarah, the hospitalised autistic girl. Local actors and extras are used for smaller roles; ”we found a lot of amputated people in the neighbourhood, which was exactly what we were looking for.”

Back in London, Bennett, who has so far mainly appeared in television films and commercials, takes classes in drama, song and dance at the Jackie Palmer Stage School, besides being a figure skater at national competitions and working out in swimming pools and at the gym.

“I love to act very much, and I would definitely like to do it for a living,” she said. “It was my agent who got me into the audition for the movie. Many of my schoolmates are Lordi fans, and they think it’s pretty cool that I am in a film with them. Otherwise I am not a great fan of horror movies. At home, my father watches them and he has shown me some, but they don’t scare me. Neither do Lordi – they are almost like family, and they take good care of me on the set. What really makes me afraid are ventriloquists’ puppets,” she concluded knowingly.

"genuine soul mates"

Both Mr Lordi and Riski grew up in Rovaniemi – where a square is now named after Lordi, following the Eurovision victory – and they started to make horror movies together when they were 15. Mr Lordi went on to study directing at the film school in Torni, graduating with a Lordi music video - the only time he appears without his mask.

”One day I hope to make my own film, but right now I am too busy with the band. Pete (Riski) and I are genuine soul mates, we always know what the other thinks. He has directed all our videos, and I trust him completely,” he explained. - Dark Floors will be released in Finland on February 8, 2008, with international sales to follow.

Published December 13, 2007


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Dark Floors

Dark Floors

Mr Lordi all masked up

Lording it at Cannes

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