24 July 2014

Viy (1967)
75 min.
Directed by Georgi Kropachyov.
With Leonid Kuravlyov, Natalya Varley, Aleksei Glazyrin, Vadim Zakharchenko, Nikolai Kutuzov, Pyotr Vesklyarov, Dmitri Kapka.
Enhanced by its fairy tale narrative and boasting some enjoyable special effects, this Russian horror from 1967 makes for a charming genre watch.

After an unexpected meeting with a powerful old witch, inexperienced seminarian Khoma (Kuravlyov) is shaken to the core, to say the least.

But his troubles have only just begun.

Soon, Khoma is summoned to the home of a wealthy lord in Kiev where he's ordered to say three nights of prayers at the wake of a deceased young woman.

But it turns out the 'young woman' is really the old witch come back to torment him - and she won't rest until she's driven Khoma to his death!

Based on a short story from 19th century author Nikolai Gogol, this spirited little terror myth benefits from its bucolic simplicity, a heartwarming performance from Kuravlyov as the tortured clergyman...and a surprisingly downbeat ending.

Both an allegory on fear and also just a fun supernatural chiller, this comes recommended.

Best scene: without a doubt, the witch's summoning of the 'Viy' at the climax.

Also known as Spirit of Evil.

Russian: ВИЙ.

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