Friday, February 21, 2014

Viy (1967)

Today's film is from Russia.  The film is Viy and it is exciting old school horror. It reminded me of Evil Dead II because it is funny and has fantasy and some horror. It takes place a long time ago. Three students from a seminary are enjoying their break.  They come across a farmhouse and demand shelter and food.  The only inhabitant they see is a creepy old lady.  The creepy old lady makes them all sleep in separate areas.  She approaches the one in the barn, Brother Khoma.  She approaches him half menancingly/half flirtatiously, and he is creeped out.  Then she hops on his shoulders, rides him like a horse, and they take off flying.

He does not like flying with the creepy lady at all, and screams to be let down.  When she does, he smacks her with his belt.  I don't blame him.  She collapses and transforms into a beautiful young woman.  This is way too shocking and Brother Khoma runs off.  When the students return to school, Brother Khoma is told by his teacher that the daughter of a rich lord has died and requested that he say the prayers for her.  He is scared because he knows this daughter is really the witch.  He travels, gets drunk a lot, then at night he goes to the church to pray for her.  He will do this for three nights to pray for her soul.  By order of her father, he is locked in.  By listening to what the townspeople say, it's obvious they know she was a witch.

Brother Khoma lights all the candles in the church, then begins chanting his prayer.  The girl bolts upright in the coffin and starts walking toward him.  He draws a magic circle in chalk and that keeps her away.  Each night the witch gets more and more powerful, and Khoma gets more frightened.  There are monsters, demons, and coffin surfing.  

When the camera is focused on Khoma, the picture wobbles as if to simulate drunkenness, so we can feel how Khoma feels, because he is constantly drinking.  He is forced to return each night even though he doesn't want to.  The last night, the witch summons more demons, including the most powerful Viy.  Can Brother Khoma overcome his fear or will he fall victim to Viy?  I will give this film a 7/10.

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