A mystical drama based on a story by V. Korotkevich. The film is set in out-of-the-way Belarusian woodlands at the end of the 19...展开th century. A young ethnographer, Andrej Bielarecki, comes here to research local folk legends... A film that justly claims to be the first Soviet mystical thriller. A gripping, suspenseful plot. Terrifying medieval legends turning to real horror. Stakhs been assigned a most honorable place in history, next to "Cat's Eye", "Night of the Living Dead", and a masterpiece of the national sub-horror, the animation "Hazelnut Twig". (Denis Gorelov, Izvestiya) Awards: 1st International Festival of Crime and Mystery Films in Cattolica (Italy) First Prize, 1980 International Festival of Fantasy Films in Paris (France) Special Prize, 1980 International Film Festival in Montreal (Canada) Special Jury Award, 1980 International Film Festival in Paris Award and Honorary Diploma to Best Actress in a Supporting Role (actress V. Shendrikova), 1981 International Film Festival in Los Angeles (USA) Honorary Diploma to the film, 1982 International Festival of Fantasy Films in Brussels (Belgium) Passage-44 First Prize, 1983
Young ethnographer from St. Petersburg while collecting fairy tales in country side for his PhD thesis decides to stay some days at an old and remote estate in Belarus. Strange young lady, the owner of the place where nothing changed for ages (and the story takes place in the very end of 19th century), tells him a weird legend about ancient King Stakh who still hunts in neighbourhood. Investigating the legend a young man suddenly discoveres himself as a quarry.
Loosely based on the gripping novel by belarusian classic Vladimir Korotkevich this film is an intriguing example of art-horror (in Mario Bava's sense of the word) - rather unconventional genre in Soviet cinema at that time. More than suspense it reproduces the very atmosphere of time and place - a vast area in Belarus called Polesye covered by foggy forests, swamps and positioned between European West and Russian East. And where Gothic gloom and Slavic mysticism meet each other for centuries...
1980 - Mystfest, Best Film (won)
1980 - Montréal World Film Festival (Jury Prize)
1983 - Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, Golden Raven (won)