Lordi are a band whose image - much like that of their idols KISS - provides endless opportunities for the band to explore other creative avenues than simply just music, from comic books to movies, which they have done. Film indeed seems the perfect medium for Lordi, as the band's monster costumes are heavily inspired by horror movies, and their 'Blood Red Sandman' music video acts as a direct tribute to Evil Dead. It then seems only natural that Lordi would eventually end up appearing in horror films of their own.

The band's first and to date only full-length feature Dark Floors came out in 2008 and was a pure-blooded horror film where the members of Lordi portrayed the monsters that were out to get the film's human characters. However what many outside of the band's core fanbase might not know is that Dark Floors was not the first time Lordi dabbled in making their own horror film. In 2004 alongside their second album The Monsterican Dream, Lordi released a half-hour long horror short film called Lordi's The Kin, which much like Dark Floors has Lordi portray the monsters that torment the film's characters.

The Kin centers around Anna - a young woman in the middle of working on a book about monsters and the supernatural. In the middle of stress and exhaustion of trying to finish her book, she goes away for a weekend to her deceased mother's old house with her sister Julie to clear out old stuff. But as visions of monsters refuse to leave her alone, increasingly sinister truths about her family start to become apparent. And well, that's about all I can say about the story and plot of the short as that's more or less all that I understand about it.

Mr. Lordi whose story idea the short is based on envisioned the film as being a dreamlike story reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode. During the writing and shooting of the short director Lauri Haukkamaa however apparently took out scenes crucial to the narrative and replaced them with his own dramatic scenes, resulting in the finished film leaving a lot up for interpretation. While Dark Floors has an ending that doesn't fully explain everything, the majority of the film is still an easy to follow conventional narrative. This is not the case with The Kin. Both films to some extent deal with time, using elements of time travel and alternate timelines in the narrative, but while Dark Floors is easy to follow, The Kin is a film I've been watching for ten years now and I'm still not quite sure what happens in it. The things the film implies however if my interpretations are correct are genuinely unsettling and disturbing.

This is the thing The Kin succeeds in - actually unnerving you. Through music and visuals, the film manages at times to build a dark atmosphere, Anna's small working space especially feeling almost claustrophobic as a location when the feeling of dread builds. As for the members of Lordi, even they appear frightening in the short. Now this might not seem like such a big deal due to the fact that Lordi's costumes are heavily inspired by horror movies and thus seem like they would fit in a horror film perfectly, but the fact that Lordi are best known as a band - a Eurovision Song Contest winning band no less - can't help but diminish the shock factor of their appearance. Dark Floors suffered due to this, as while the film builds atmosphere perfectly and is a very tense film, Lordi themselves don't appear very frightening as they rock the same costumes in the film that they did when they performed at Eurovision. As a viewer you're just too used to seeing them to be scared of them.

The Kin has an advantage in this respect as it's made pre-Eurovision with a different line-up and different costumes. The costumes Lordi wore for their second album are some of the nastier they've worn, which works to the film's advantage as the band genuinely look like monsters that belong in a horror movie. Mr. Lordi's appearance at the end of the film for example with him standing in a dark forest setting with church bells and sounds of babies crying in the background is genuinely chilling, not to mention the band's then-drummer Kita's appearance in a dark space lit only by a flashlight as his bright red eyes stare directly at the camera being startling.

Lordi's The Kin might harbor some amusingly wooden acting, poor special effects due to no doubt budgetary reasons, and a narrative that is extremely confusing to say the least, but for fans of the band the film is definitely worth a watch just for Lordi's appearances, and for others it can be seen as a curiosity for more than a few reasons. For cinephiles looking to discuss and share interpretations the narrative of The Kin is ripe for analysis, and depending on how easily startled you are the film may offer some mild spooks due to a heavy atmosphere and a couple of well-handled creepy and gory scenes utilizing the then members of Lordi. Which of these categories you fit into as a viewer is up to you to decide. As the tagline of the film reads - "Know thyself".