Viy (1967) - full transcript

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.


Artistic Association "Luch"

"Viy is a colossal creation of
the imagination of simple folk.

The tale itself is a
purely popular legend.

And I tell it without change,

in all its simplicity, exactly
as I heard it told to me.?



Screenplay by A. PTUSHKO,

Based on the short novel by N.V. GOGOL

Art Direction and SFX

Directed by graduates of
Advanced Film Directors Courses


Photography by F.

Production Designer N. MARKIN



English Subtitles by T. KAMENEVA


Leonid KURAVLYOV as Khoma

N. VARLEY as Young Woman
A. GLAZYRIN as Sotnik

N. KUTUZOV as Witch


V. SALNIKOV as Gorobetz

D. KAPKA as Overko P.

S. SHKOURAT as Yavtukh

G. SOCHEVKO as Stepan

N. PANASIEV as Comforter

Read, Rector!


Now that you're going home,
try to stay out of mischief!

On the last vacation, two seminarians,

disguised as devils, were
caught stealing chickens.

Zozulia and Lemesh, I mean you!

The other three had
gotten a deacon drunk,

and then goaded him into
singing bawdy, indecent songs!

For shame!

And now, let us pray together.

Lord, let the Light of Your
wisdom shine down upon us.

And bestow on our
hearts Your tender mercy.

Preserve us from all evil.

And Heaven and Earth
will resound with glorious

songs of praise.


Be sure you return in time for the

Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

We should've spotted a farm long ago.

The devil would lose his
way in this darkness, too.

Where did the road go?

There is no road.

Look, Khaliava, you go that
way. I'm going over this way.

And Gorobetz...


Hey, Gorobetz!

Damn it. I mistook a
rotten stump for your head.

What did you find?

Just fox holes.

Well, what should we do?

Let's sing at the top of our lungs.


I know, let's sleep under the stars.

No, Khaliava, that won't do.

We have to keep looking. Someone
might give us a glass of vodka.

Sure... It's better than
sleeping under the stars.

There's a farm house ahead.

Come on!

Brothers, it's our last
chance to find a place to stay.

- Open up!
- Hello?

Who is it?

Khaliava, the theologian.

- Brutus, the philosopher.
- Gorobetz, the orator.

No, the house is full of
people. Where would I put you?

Have mercy on us, my good woman!

It's unforgivable to let
Christian souls perish at night!

Just give us somewhere to sleep!

And if we do something wrong...

All right, but each of you
must sleep in separate places.

Whatever you wish!

- Listen, good woman...
- We're dying of hunger.

It's been so long since we've eaten.

There's nothing to eat. I
haven't lit the stove all day.

Tomorrow we'll see that
you're rewarded handsomely.

You couldn't get a crumb
out of the old skinflint!

- Boy, I want you to come here.
- Who? Me?

You can sleep in the house.

And you, the tall one, up in the loft.

- Well, where will I stay?
- Come with me.

What do you want, granny?

No, it's the time of lent.

And not for all the gold in the
world would I let you tempt me.

You're not in the flower
of youth, you know.

What's wrong with you,
granny? For the love of God!

Good Lord, she's a witch.

Shameless witch! Put me down! Let me be!

In the name of God,

Jesus Christ, put me down! Let me be!

If I'm not making you
fly, it must be Christ

and his apostle, Thomas!

Oh, you're killing me!



- What we need is tar.
- I know that.

Hey, Khoma.

What is it?

The Rector sent me to get
you. Someone came for you.

Ah, it's you, brother Khoma.

The daughter of one of our
richest Sotniks is dying.

The one who owns the estate
just twenty miles outside Kiev.

Yesterday, the girl returned
home, beaten almost to death.

She expressed a wish
that in her final agony,

the last prayers for her
salvation be said by you,

Khoma Brutus.

Why me?

I don't even know how to do that!

Don't argue with me! You
will leave immediately.

The famous Sotnik was
good enough to send his men

and a wagon.

You'll have to get someone else
to go, because I'm not leaving!

No one asked you if
you wanted to go or not.

Thank your good master for
his gift of the honey and eggs.

And tell him I shall send
the books when they're ready.

And as for you, I suggest you
learn to control your tongue.

Otherwise, I'll have you
lashed before the whole school,

so you won't be able to sit for a week.

Now do as I say!

The Lord be with you,
and with your good master.

Yavtukh, see that our friends
have vodka before they leave.

Well, don't just stand
there. Be off with you!

And if you know what's good
for you, you'll mend your ways!

You'd better tie up the philosopher

so he won't be tempted to run off!

- Good day, my brothers.
- Good day, brother philosopher.

I've been ordered to
travel in your company.

- A splendid carriage!
- Yes, a spacious one!

We could hire some musicians
and dance with all this room!

I wonder, if it were
filled with a heavy load -

say you loaded up the wagon
with salt or metal poles -

how many horses would it take?

It would take a lot of horses
if you had a lot of salt.

Can you tell me what sort of
illness the girl is cursed with,

that such solemn prayers are
required to deliver her soul?

Sit down, brother philosopher.
We're not there yet.

Stop! An inn! Stop!

Whoa, girl, whoa! We're there.

Let's go in, brother philosopher.

Spirid, don't forget
to water the horses.

Welcome, my friends. Please come inside.

- Do you have vodka?
- Yes, step inside.

My friends, I propose a toast
to the health of the Rector.

Here's to the health of the Rector.

Drink, my good friends.

Oh, the Cossack drinks
on someone else's money...

Another round!

Another round! Another
round! Serve another round!


I'd like to know one thing. Just
what are you seminarians taught?

What the deacon says when he's
in church? Or other things?

What a great scholar.

I want to be a seminarian, too.

Do you think I'm not clever
enough? I can learn anything!

Oh, good Lord! Have mercy on us!

The Cossack drinks on someone else's...

- I just want to know one thing.
- Leave me alone, pest!

Don't ask him. Only
God knows everything.

I just want to know what's
written in those books.

There could be other things in them.

How can you talk that way?

- Let me go.
- Why not let him go?


Don't be afraid. Come here.
The master will never know.

- Don't just stand there.
- Let me go home, my brothers!

Let me go home!

The young woman is dead.

The girl is dead.

Be quiet! The young woman is dead!

- The girl is dead?
- Dead? Already?

Quiet, Serko! The young woman is dead!

Why don't we let Khoma go now?

- Of course we'll let him go.
- He can do as he wants.

Leave him alone.

The young woman is dead.

Come on, you silly pig!

Brother philosopher, you're
wrong to try to leave.

It's not the sort of
place you can escape from.

You'd better go to the
master. He's waiting for you.

Why not?

I'd love to meet him.

It's not so much the pain of
losing you, my dearest daughter,

in the flower of your youth,
that makes your loss more

than a father can bear,

as the torment I suffer,

at not knowing what monster
was the cause of your death.

Who are you? What's your
quality, and where are you from?

From the seminary. My
name is Khoma Brutus.

And who was your father?

I don't know.

Your mother, then?

I never knew her, either.

Of course, I must have
had one, like anyone else,

but who she was, or what
she was like, I never knew.

How did you make the
acquaintance of my daughter?

I never met your daughter, sir.

I know nothing of girls. I
swear I've never known one.

Why did she call for you by name then?

Only God knows why.

The rich people fancy
things that don't make sense,

even to a scholar.

As the saying goes,

"When masters fall out,
their men get the clout."

You're not lying, are you, philosopher?

May God strike me dead if I'm lying.

If she had lived a minute longer

I would have known everything.

"Let no one say prayers for me, father,

but send men at once to Kiev Seminary.

Tell them to bring
seminarian Khoma Brutus here.

Let him pray for three nights
for the salvation of my soul.

He knows."

And what does he know,
that I hadn't time to hear?

Have you been known
for your chaste life?

Could she have heard
about you from someone?


Chaste life? For heaven's sake, sir!

I visited a baker's
wife on Maundy Thursday.

Nevertheless, she named
you. That's all that counts.

As of tonight, you will begin
reciting prayers for her soul.

Yes, but certainly you
want to do the best thing...

Of course, anyone versed in
the Scriptures could do it...

But the best thing would be to
have a deacon, or a sub-deacon.

They're well trained and
will do what's necessary.

My voice isn't suitable and I
don't have a good appearance.

I'll do as my dear child wanted it done.

I don't care what it may cost.

You will start your vigil tonight,

and recite the prayers for three nights.

I shall reward you handsomely
for it. Otherwise...

How could our dear mistress abandon us?

Oh, dear child, tell us
what made you leave us?

Come back! Come back, beloved!

May God, the Father,
have mercy on her soul.

May God, the Son,
have mercy on her soul.

May God, the Holy Ghost,
have mercy on her soul.

Give the philosopher his dinner,

then bring him back to the church.

Tell them how the witch
cast a spell on the huntsman.

Shame, brother philosopher,
that you didn't know Mikitka.

Even his dogs adored him.

He was a fine huntsman.

Only recently did he have the misfortune

of falling for the young mistress.

Either he fell in love with her...

Or she bewitched him...

Nobody knows for sure,
but the man was lost.

One day the girl appeared
in the stable and said,

"Mikitka, let me put my foot on
you to help me onto the horse."

The poor man was so overjoyed he said,

"I'd rather you climb onto my back."

And the fool took her onto his
back and went galloping away!

It's time we take the philosopher

to where the corpse is lying.

We'll leave you now.

Just pray in earnest.

Best of luck to you.

Forgive us, but we must lock
you up. By order of the master.

That's all right. It's no
more than three nights of work.

And then the master will fill
both of my pockets with gold.

There's nothing to fear.

She won't rise up from her coffin.

Even corpses fear the word of God.

Am I right? Absolutely.
You better stay there.

Don't you know that a
Cossack doesn't fear anything?

There's no way for anyone to come in.

And from corpses, I have
prayers to protect me.

As soon as I speak the holy
words, no demon can harm me.

They'll never touch me!

What am I scared of? I
just had too much to drink.

Ah, candles... That's good.

Lots of candles... to chase away...

the gloom from the
church... and light it up.

It's nothing, only three nights.

The church should be full of
light. Cheerful and bright.

There's nothing to fear.

She won't touch me now, will she!

Ow! Oh, Satan! May God
forgive me, poor sinner.

Lots of light now.

Well, let's begin.

Blessed are... O Lord...

Blessed are the undefiled in the
way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!

Blessed are those who
keep His testimonies,

Who seek Him with the whole heart!

I wish it were not prohibited
to smoke in the House of God.

They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.

You have commanded us To keep Your...

What's wrong with some snuff?

A good sniff... to clear the brain.

O LORD, my strength...

She's a witch! A witch come to haunt me!

Sacred circle, save me!
Sacred circle, protect me!

Oh, my God...

Oh, my God...

Sacred circle, save me!
Sacred circle, protect me!

Away, Satan! Away!

Blessed are the undefiled in the
way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!

Away! Away with you!

O My God, I cry in the
daytime, but You do not hear...

Stay away!

- There's the philosopher!
- He's finished.

This is a lovely place to live!

You could fish all day in that river!

Old man... Old man!

I'm not going inside.
I'll sleep right here.

It's not allowed,
philosopher. I have my orders.

Have you got some borsch for us?

We have, you old devil.

- How does it taste?
- Ask the philosopher.

- Well?
- What went on?

Nothing much. Just some noises.

A Cossack doesn't fear
anything in this world.

Let's go, Yavtukh.

A Cossack is never afraid of anything.

It's true, the first time,
you really are afraid.

But after a while, you're not so afraid.

And after that, you're
not afraid at all!

Because there's nothing
that can do me any harm.

O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath,

Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!

Have mercy on me, O LORD,

for I am weak;

O LORD, heal me,

for my bones are troubled.

For my bones are troubled...

Let not the floodwater overflow me,

Nor let the deep swallow me up;

And let not the pit...

God Almighty, save me!
Heavenly Father, save me!

O Lord! Save me from the demon!

O Lord! Save me from the demon!

God, give me strength!

Holy Father in Heaven!
Save me from the evil one!





By the shades of night, may he
go blind, turn his hair white.

Bewitch him. Cover him with snow.

Hey, philosopher! On your feet!

I want music!

I want to have music right now!

From the looks of it, he'll
dance all clay, that fellow.

Yes, he can dance for a long time.

Hey, philosopher, what's wrong?

Don't you see? I'm dancing.

Oh, your hair has turned white!

As white as milk. Just
like good old Yavtukh.

I must talk to your master.
I'll explain everything.

I don't want to pray there again!

What? It's all going well?
Were you able to stay awake?

Yes, I was able to stay awake.

The devil lives in this house.

I want to leave while I'm in one piece.

What do you mean?

It's your daughter, sir...

She may have noble blood in
her veins, no doubt about that,

however, may God have mercy on her soul.

What about my daughter?

She's in league with the devil.

She won't let me read the
Scriptures in front of her.

You will read them
because she summoned you.

She did not wish to bear a
spiritual burden to the grave.

The only way to assure her
salvation is to say the prayers.

Release me, I beg you! Don't
make me go through with it.

You will read. It's just one more night.

You'll do godly work
and I will reward you.

For all the gold in the world...

I wouldn't read another prayer.

That's enough!


You're wrong if you think
you can trifle with me.

That sort of thing is
fit for the seminary,

but I won't tolerate it!

I'll order the guards to lash you!

There's nothing so excruciating

as the leather lash on raw flesh.

I know that.

More than half a dozen are unbearable.

What you don't know is
how good my men are at it.

They lash you, then we
give them some vodka,

and they begin again.

You may go.

Go back to your duties.

If you fail to do them,
you'll have a thousand lashes.

But if you do them, one
thousand gold pieces.

A thousand gold pieces. The
old miser was surely lying.

Never mind, good master. I'll
run away from here so fast

that even your dogs will
never catch up with me.

You should know better
than to make such a detour.

You nearly ruined your fine robe.

That would've been a shame. How
much did you pay for one yard?

Why don't you keep your
mouth shut, dear old Yavtukh?

Foolish dog.

Not hungry? Then let's go to the church.

Are you scared? That witch will
give you the time of your life.

Scared of a witch?
Nothing scares a Cossack!

I withstood it for two nights.

With God's help, I'll make it three.

She's haunting me because
she's got the Devil inside her.

I'd hate to think what
sin she's guilty of.

Brother philosopher, it's time to go.

Let's go to the church, dear.

- Think of the torment she's in.
- He was fated to go through it.

I'll read for the third night
and get a thousand gold pieces.

I'll have a ball then, won't I, Yavtukh?

Go say your prayers.

Go say your prayers, philosopher.

I won't be afraid. I
swear, I won't be afraid.

O My God...

O My God, I cry in the
daytime, but You do not hear;

And in the night season,
and am not silent.

I have been afflicted

and ready to die from my youth;

I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught.

Make haste to me, O God!

You are my help and my
deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.

Will You work wonders for the dead?

Shall the dead arise and praise You?

They gather together, They hide,

they mark my steps,

When they lie in wait for my life.

Who will give You thanks?

I am weary with my groaning...

God Almighty! Smite her with lightning!

Send down Your wrath! Strike
her down with Your fury!

A curse upon you! With
the wings of a bat!

With the blood of a serpent!

I shall curse you!

Curse you!

I summon the vampires!
I summon the werewolves!

I summon the vampires!
I summon the werewolves!

I summon Viy!

Bring Viy here!

Get him!

Get him!

Raise my eyelids. I cannot see!

Don't look him in the
eye, or you're lost.

A cock.

I see him!

Get away from me, you fiends!


The Fates were unkind to Khoma.

It was the will of God.

Let's drink to him, may
his soul rest in peace.

Khoma was a fine young man.

The kind of man I admire.

But his life was wasted for nothing.

I know where he went wrong.

If he hadn't been afraid, the
witch couldn't have harmed him.

He should've spit on her tail,
and made the sign of the cross.

If anyone should know, it's me.

In Kiev, the women who run stalls

in the market are all witches.

He wouldn't be dead if
he hadn't been afraid.

No one can prove he's dead.

That's what everyone says.

Maybe they imagined it.

That stuff about how he
died, because of the witch.

After a flask of vodka,
even I begin to see witches.

Suppose he wasn't dead?

Suppose that the one walking
this way now... was him!

Now that's a good one!

- Are you working?
- We're working.

Keep on working then.

The End