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A young priest is ordered to preside over the wake of witch in a small old wooden church of a remote village. This means spending three nights alone with the corpse with only his faith to protect him.

Writers:

Konstantin Ershov, Nikolay Gogol (story) (as Nikolai Gogol) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leonid Kuravlyov ... Khoma
Natalya Varley ... Pannochka (as N. Varley)
Aleksey Glazyrin Aleksey Glazyrin ... Sotnik (as A. Glazyrin)
Nikolay Kutuzov ... Vedma (as N. Kutuzov)
Vadim Zakharchenko ... Khalyava (as V. Zakharchenko)
Pyotr Vesklyarov ... Rektor / Dorosh (as P. Vesklyarov)
Vladimir Salnikov Vladimir Salnikov ... Gorobets (as V. Salnikov)
Dmitriy Kapka ... Overko (as D. Kapka)
Stepan Shkurat ... Yavtukh (as S. Shkurat)
Georgiy Sochevko ... Stepan (as G. Sochevko)
Nikolay Yakovchenko ... Spirid (as N. Yakovchenko)
Nikolay Panasev ... Uteshitel (as N. Panasev)
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Storyline

Getting lost, wandering home whilst on leave from his seminary, novice monk Khoma stays in the barn of an old woman. A scuffle breaks out. Later, he is summoned to stand and pray over a young dead woman, in the local church, for three nights. It is here that, while in the long, dark nights of the locked doors, the dead regain life, the souls of Hell taunt the young monk to near terrifying insanity, and the test of Faith will be as powerful as the witches, monsters and the mighty demon Viy who haunt his every step and bay for his very soul. Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Soviet Union

Language:

Russian

Release Date:

27 November 1967 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Viy or Spirit of Evil See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Luch, Mosfilm See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (VHS)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nikolai Stepanov who plays the demon Viy, was a circus artist. See more »

Goofs

While stopping at the inn for food and vodka (on the way to Sotnik's village) the horses are taken off the carriage, fed and watered too, but in between the shots of the horses, firstly, being watered and then fed, we still see them attached to the carriage between shots. See more »

Quotes

Pannochka: A curse upon you! With the wings of a bat! With the blood of a serpent! I shall curse you! Curse you!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Exam (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Night on Bald Mountain
Composed by Modest Mussorgsky
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful
26 May 2012 | by Ralphus2See all my reviews

"Vij" is a masterpiece of Russian cinema and a masterpiece of 60s horror. Having said that, it is perhaps a film that may not appeal to the gorehound variety of horror fan. Not only does it not possess any gore, but it plays for much of its length like a bucolic Russian fairy tale. The scary scenes when they come are in the last 20 minutes or so.

What makes "Vij" so wonderful are the lovingly shot scenes of rural Russia. The faces of all the peasants are shown in frequent close-up: ruddy, jovial, deeply lined with characterful wrinkles, blue-gray eyes twinkling. The camera is used to great effect in close-ups, blurry shots, spinning around our hero, zooming in and out, and those loving shots of farm houses and livestock. It often has a dream-like character and certain supernatural scenes are extremely surreal and effective. The blend of lighthearted comedy and echoes of folklore and a near-religiosity at times is also extremely effective. The lead does an excellent job as Khoma and his cohort of minders are equally good. Our deceased witch is a picture of beauty and reminds one of Snow White, such is her rosy-cheeked, fairytale beauty.

I could go on and on about what makes this film so wonderful. I'll suffice to comment on one more feature. The music by Karen Khatchaturian (nephew of the great Aram Khatchaturian, he of the "Sabre Dance" and the "Onedin Line" theme music) is very effective and draws on the sounds of several other Russian greats. One reviewer here mentioned both Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. I thought the exact same thing in the same scenes. There is an overall Prokofevian sound to the music and the choral numbers bring to mind Rachmaninov's "All-Night Vigil", most likely intentionally. The music in the demon scenes draws on Mussorgsky's "Nite on Bald Mountain" with its eerie string scratchings, again most likely intentionally. These are wonderful and evocative sources for Khatchaturian to draw from.

In summation, this is a cinematic masterpiece and is a must for fans of Russian cinema or classic cinema in general. Horror fans who can enjoy say, "Nosferatu", "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari", "Black Sunday", "Carnival of Souls" or other early greats, will no doubt want to seek this out. "Vij" is one of the early greats of the genre which it also transcends.


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