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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Viy" or "Вий" or "Viy, King of the Ghosts" or "Viy or Spirit of Evil")

 

Directed by Konstantin Ershov, Georgiy Kropachyov
Soviet Union 1967

 

Based on the classic novella by Nikolai Gogol - and previously adapted by Mario Bava as BLACK SUNDAY - the first horror film ever produced in the Soviet Union remains "genuinely frightening" (1001 Films You Must See Before You Die), "a visual grab bag of terror" (FilmInquiry.com) and "one of the best horror films of all time." (IndieWire).

In 19th century Russia, a seminary student is forced to spend three nights with the corpse of a beautiful young witch. But when she rises from the dead to seduce him, it will summon a nightmare of fear, desire and the ultimate demonic mayhem. Bursting with startling imagery and stunning practical effects by directors Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov, this "overlooked classic" (Paste Magazine) has influenced generations of directors for more than half a century and is still unlike any horror movie you've ever seen.

***

And so, we come to Viy, a beautiful aberration in the landscape of Soviet/Russian cinema. Viy derives its plot from one of the few Russian horror texts—the eponymous short story by Nikolai Gogol. The story is very simple. A couple of seminaries on a few days vacation are lost and find a house where an old woman resides. They beg her to give them a place to stay overnight and when she at first seems reluctant Khoma, our anti-hero, mutters some unkind words about her, which she overhears. As it happens this old woman is a witch who turns into a beautiful young woman when Khoma cruelly beats her to death as a result of her jumping on his back and riding him through the night skies like a broom. Her last words, overheard by her father, are for Khoma to come and pray over her body for 3 nights.

Excerpt from Veronika Ferdman at NotComing.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 27th, 1967

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Review: Severin - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Distribution Severin - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:16:34.590         
Video

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,884,761,354 bytes

Feature: 23,367,567,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Russian 1856 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1856 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English, English (DUB titles), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Severin

 

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,884,761,354 bytes

Feature: 23,367,567,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• VIY the Vampire - An interview with Richard Stanley (22:57)
• From The Woods to the Cosmos - John Leman Riley on the history of Soviet Fantasy and Sci-Fi Film (34:46)
• Trailer (1:53)
Silent Soviet Horror
• The Portrait (7:52)
• The Queen of Spades (16:30 - SD)
• Satan Exultant (19:30 - SD)


Blu-ray Release Date:
December 10th, 2019
Black Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

"I summon the vampires! I summon the werewolves!... I summon Viy!"

Severin Blu-ray (January 2020): Severin have transferred the Russian horror VIY to Blu-ray. It reached seventh place in our Blu-ray of the Year poll for 2019. Severin have transferred the delightfully garish and aesthetically over-the-top one and 1/4 hour Gothic-esque horror on a dual-layered Blu-ray with a max'ed out bitrate. It looks very strong, occasionally thin having some delicious green lighting prominence and an overall bleached appearance but surprisingly consistent with deep pastel colors and clean visuals in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Detail is showcased well in the film's many close-ups (notably Natalya Varley as Pannochka 'The Witch'). No digitization although the meager flying effects had me zooming in. Overall an impressive 1080P presentation that has instances of depth. 

NOTE: We have added 46 more large resolution Blu-ray captures for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE.

On their Blu-ray, Severin offer DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel tracks; in the original Russian (24-bit) or in an English DUB. We encourage watching with the Russian dialogue track for a pinch more depth but the DUB is adeptly rendered. The effective, orchestra-based, score is by Karen Khachaturyan (nephew of Soviet Armenian composer and conductor Aram Khachaturian) and is excellent and really adds a unique atmospheric flavor in the lossless. Severin offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

Severin add some good supplements. VIY the Vampire is a 22-minute interview with Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil, The Island of Doctor Moreau) who is always an interesting listen talking about the film. From The Woods to the Cosmos spends 35-minutes with John Leman Riley on the history of Soviet Fantasy and Sci-Fi Film. He is an expert in many things 'Soviet' and provides some highly interesting details on the culture pervading the production, era and genre. Severin include three short silent Soviet Horror films; The Portrait runs 8 minutes - made in 1915, directed by Wladyslaw Starewicz and based on another short story by Nikolai Gogol. The Queen of Spades is a 1916 film adaptation of the Aleksandr Pushkin short story. It has surprisingly high production values and style, often considered one of the best pre-revolutionary Russian films. It runs 16.5 minutes in SD. Lastly is Satan Exultant is a 1917 silent film directed by Yakov Protazanov. The plot involves Pastor Talnoх furiously urging his flock to fight temptations, but he himself becomes a victim. Later, in his home Satan arrives and he succumbs... It runs almost 20-minutes (in SD).

Camp culture runs rabid in VIY. It is irresistible and effective! No wonder that it placed seventh place in our Blu-ray of the Year poll for 2019.  Hey Severin, how about Planet Bur next? or a superior BD of Eolomea? VIY has so much value and the Severin Blu-ray is a great addition to any digital library. Strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Severin - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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