Viy (1967)
January 8, 2022 4:09 PM - Subscribe

A young seminary student is ordered to preside over the wake of a witch in the church of a remote village. This means spending three nights alone with the corpse with only his faith to protect him. Classic folk horror from Russia, 1967.

Currently streaming in the US on Shudder.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This movie is 76 minutes long. The first 66 minutes are good, an interesting little folk horror that makes terrific use of what seem to be real rural locations, particularly a shabby little Orthodox chapel. It's interesting as an artifact, as a look into another time/culture, and as a window into a different view of horror.

Then the last ten minutes are goddamn holy shit awesome, operating at about three gears beyond everything that preceded them.

There is no way Guillermo del Toro didn't see this and have it in mind when working on Pan's Labyrinth. No way.

Holy shit. So good.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:11 PM on January 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

I love this movie, which is also currently free in the US on Tubi (hit CC if you don't see its English subtitles). I particularly understand the many Google results that compare the second half with Sam Raimi / the Evil Dead movies. Incidentally, it's based on a story by Gogol, who claimed it was folklore but probably made it up entirely.
posted by Wobbuffet at 4:49 PM on January 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

Severin films recently released it on blu-ray.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:00 PM on January 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Severin is just the coolest. If/when they come up with a streaming service, I'll pay anything.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 PM on January 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wobbuffet, thank you so much for that Gogol story link — what a ride!
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:51 PM on January 9, 2022

This film is a lot of fun and much better than the remake. Though a very different movie, Mario Bava's Black Sunday is based on the same Gogol story (allegedly). Speaking of Severin, I plan to revisit this one via their soon to be arriving in my office Folk Horror set (which looks fantastic).
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:32 PM on January 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I am obsessed with that box set. A good friend just got the super deluxe version that comes with crazy extras like an amulet, maps, etc. I'm more jealous than I've been of anyone since a fifth grade buddy got the GI Joe aircraft carrier for Christmas.

I'm headed over weekend after next to binge watch a bunch of it with him.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:08 PM on January 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just got the box set as well although not the super deluxe one.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:17 PM on January 9, 2022

A bachelor retired friend (haha of course he is!) let me know that he got the deluxe version by sending me a single sentence email:
"Hey Ashwagandha, I just bought a plate!"
But that set is likely one of the best sets I've seen in years. Many of those titles never had a North American or, in a couple cases, world releases on any physical media. Also a lot of them are even hard to find outside of private torrent trackers. Man, even the fact that they are releasing a remastered Eyes of Fire (which had a single VHS release!) is something to celebrate! Severin out did themselves.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:59 AM on January 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Mario Bava's Black Sunday is based on the same Gogol story (allegedly).

Not just allegedly, Gogol gets a shout-out in the opening credits.

I loved VIY when I saw it a couple years back. The last 20 minutes or so feel like a direct precursor to the sort of wiggy, surreal stuff that Sam Raimi would end up doing with Evil Dead 2 a couple of decades later.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:18 AM on January 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I watched this again last night, first time in 20+ years, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. One thing I forgot is how earthy and funny it is. Also forgot that the great Aleksandr Ptushko did art direction on this - I think Mefites might be familiar with his epic fantasy films he directed that were riffed on in MST3K: The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, The Sword and the Dragon, and The Day the Earth Froze.

Also if you're into big mustaches you will be well satisfied.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:35 AM on February 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

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