Soviet Film Wednesday: Viy

Viy Poster

In this 1967 film, a young seminarian stays the night in an old woman’s barn during his travels. During the night, the old woman casts a spell on him and flies on his back through the night. When they touch ground again, she suddenly turns into a young girl. Frightened, he runs away.


Soon after, the boy is back home at seminary, where he is summoned to pray for a girl who is dying. Once he arrives in her town, he discovers that the girl he is to pray for is the one he ran from, and that she has died. He is ordered to spend three nights alone with her corpse, praying at her wake. The story is minimalist but creepy nonetheless, and the 1960’s low budget film effects are pretty amazing.

Viy (Вий) or Spirit of Evil, is based on a story by Nikolai Gogol. It was directed by Konstantin Ershov and Georgiy Kropachyov, and stars Leonid Kuravlyov and Natalya Varley.

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