Russian horror films – the perfect plan for Halloween

Russian horror films – the perfect plan for Halloween
31 October 2019

Which would be the perfect plan for a Halloween chilly evening? Watching Russian horror films!

Although Halloween’s origins are not linked to Russia and the celebration is not as popular in the country as it can be in the USA or Ireland, Halloween has also taken over Russian territories. If you want to learn more about Halloween in Russia you can read Daniela’s post on the topic.

Even though not everyone in Russia celebrates Halloween, some parties and events are held on this date. If you still have no plans for Halloween I have a suggestion for you: Watch a horror film in Russian! I might not be the most original idea, but watching a good horror film is always a good plan when you are feeling in the mood for Halloween and you still don want to leave your cosy and warm bedroom. Plus, can you find something scarier for this night of the year than a ghost or a demon challenging your comprehension of Russian verbs of motion? They are scary! (and so are ghosts!)

In the following section, you will have some film recommendations for a relaxed Halloween at home. Invite your friends over, dim the lights and be ready to shout.

We are all familiar with American classics like Nightmare on Elm Street, the Japanese Ringu or the Italian Suspiria. Although Russian horror films are probably not as popular, there are many worth watching!

Russian horror genre dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when the mute film Satan Triumphant (Сатана ликующий) was released. Directed by Yakov Protazanov, Satan Triumphant tells us the story of two brothers, a priest and a painter who is tempted by Satan. Unfortunately, this film was lost, but you can watch are some of the films I will list below!

The Viy – Вий (1967)

Although there is a newer version of the film, I strongly recommend you to opt for the classic one filmed during soviet times. The film is based on a horror novella written by Nikolai Gogol and tells the story of a young priest of a small village in Russia who must pray for three nights in by the corpse of a witch. During this time, the priest has to face demons, ghosts, and the living dead. All of them are controlled by a powerful demon named Viy.

The directors of the film Konstantin ErshovGeorgiy Kropachyov made a great job creating the scary atmosphere for all the events and, although the special effects might seem funny now, they were quite innovative at the time.

Mister Designer -Господин оформитель (1988)

Another great option to watch in Halloween is this soviet film which was acclaimed in festivals at the time of its release. The film will make us meet an artist who hires a model to create a mannequin for a showcase. This woman is fatally ill so the artist puts all his soul on the job. Later on, he meets this woman again under a different name. Although she insists on the fact that they had never met before, he doubts if she’s the woman he made the mannequin of or if he is simply losing his mind.

Daddy, Father Frost Is Dead- Папа, умер дед мороз (1991)

If you want something a bit more brainy and to have topics for discussion after the film, I would suggest you watch Daddy, Father Frost is dead. I can just describe this experimental film created by Yevgeny Yufit as weird. Very weird. It was filmed in black and white and it presents the spectators with very impressive and visual violent images. The film is inspired by The Family of the Vourdalak (Семья вурдалака) and tells a story that is not as sweet as Father Frost. IMBD summarises the plot as follows:  “A biologist, obsessed with the idea of writing a treatise on a new kind of mouse, becomes witness to a number of bizarre and horrific events, from his son’s suicide to the S&M engaged in by respectable middle-aged men, to his own family’s psychic morbidity”. I cannot find a better description since it’s really difficult to explain these films with words. You might get a better understanding of the experiment by watching the trailer down below.


The Bride – Невеста (2017)

The newest film from the list was directed by Svyatoslav Podgayevsky, who is becoming popular in Russia for its horror films. This filmed was inspired by the same 19th-century Russian folktale that inspired Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. In the Russian film, a young woman discovers a spooky secret related to the numerous pictures of dead relatives she finds in her boyfriend’s house and a strange ritual that must be followed before the wedding. The overall atmosphere and the sound effects will take you to the house together with the bride.


Would you dare watch any of this Russian scary film this Halloween? Let us know how you liked them!

Posted by Miriam Núñez

всем привет! I’m Miriam from Spain and I’m currently an intern at Liden&Denz in St. Petersburg.

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