8 years ago, I was a freewheelin' mama living in New Jersey and I spent all of my free time watching movies. One of my favorite things to do during this era of my life was to attend the shows that Exhumed Films put on at the Hoyts Theater. I was a little late to the party and never did attend one of their classic shows at the Harwan, such is life.
On a crisp autumn evening in 2002, I went to Exhumed's "Undead Night", specifically to watch the vampire masterpiece, Near Dark. But it was the opener, touted as Russia's first horror film and based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol that arrested my senses for the first half of the show.
Viy, or The Spirit of Evil started off a little goofy but continued on to be a tense and enjoyable thriller with special effects that were pretty stellar for the time - 1967. It has an ethereal, dreamlike quality, and once the witch got started on her scarefest, I didn't want to look away. I was pretty excited about this film, and I was glad that I had an opportunity to see it on a big screen with an audience.
For those of you who don't want to click on the links, the basic story is this:
A young seminary student named Khoma, after battling a witch that turned into a beautiful girl upon her defeat, is called upon to pray over the dead girl's body in the church for three nights. What no one but Khoma knows is that she is the witch, determined to scare the daylights out of the boozy seminary student! Good times ensue! Flying coffins! Creepy crawlies! Chalk circles! Wowie zowie!
Anyway, I had been thinking about this movie and wanted to look up the trailer. What I discovered is that a big budget 3D remake has been in the works for the last few years, and it looks like a pretty wild ride. It is being remade in its home country, by the way - this isn't another dreaded Platinum Dunes project. I doubt those guys even know The Viy exists.
Here is said trailer, in English:
Upon further investigation, I found that this is not the first time that Viy has been remade. Suggested to be a sequel, "Evil" (or "Vedma", "The Witch" "The Power of Fear", or, simply, "Ведьма") is apparently horribly overdubbed and poorly acted. From what I read on the IMDB reviews, the Russian actors spoke English but were then overdubbed, making it really awkward looking. The actors were stiff because of their uncertainty with the language. The filmmakers decided it would be a good idea to set the film in rural America but it was filmed in Estonia - and it is obvious. Hmmm. Sounds lame to me, folks. The trailer makes it look promising, but there's no evident dialog. You can judge for yourself, of course. The trailer is here:
"Evil (Vedma)" Viy Sequel from 2006
At any rate, the new Viy movie looks very promising and I hope to see it released soon, and in America. If you haven't yet seen the 1967 classic, it does come highly recommended, and I suggest you go get your hot little hands on a copy of it now. See what you're missing:
For your enjoyment and pleasure.... Further investigations:
Viy 2010 IMDB
Viy 2010 Offical Site
Cavalcade of Perversions review of the original Viy