Synopsis

Sveto mesto (A Holy Place, 1990) is based on a literary classic, Nikolai Gogol's 1835 short story, 'Viy'. However, Kadijevic uses it only as a starting point for his own explorations into the dark side of eroticism. Gogol's story deals with Toma, a reluctant theology student who is forced to read the Psalms over an (un)dead girl for three nights in a row. All the while supernatural forces are trying to grab him from the Holy Circle drawn on the church floor. Kadijevic adapts and enriches 'Viy' by inventing a new backstory for the witch-girl and her father. The dead girl, Catherine (unwittingly killed in the prologue, while in the shape of a hag), is referred to as a 'saint' and her father is a harsh and unpleasant man. Kadijevic departs further from the original story, and introduces an excess of perversity and horror more reminiscent of the Anglo-American gothic than the milder Slavic attempts in a similar mode. Incest is the name of the game here.

Director

Đorđe Kadijević

Cast

Branka Pujić
as Katarina
Aleksandar Berček
as Gospodar Županski
Mira Banjac
as Gospodarica Županski

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by judex N/A

Excellent! Another great chiller from the maker of "Leptirica". .

It took Mr. Kadijevic almost 20 years to bring to screen another masterwork. A great Gogol's story and a lot of style and skill. A scary stuff they (he) used to make and ,even then, so rarely. I shall see it again.

Reviewed by melvelvit-1 8 /10

An atmospheric -and very adult- adaptation of Gogol's "The Viy"

Three seminary students are walking home from a fair when one of them, Toma, is almost hit by a carriage containing a beautiful woman no one else sees. As evening draws near, the trio come upon an isolated farmhouse and ask the old woman who lives there if they can spend the night lest they be set upon by wolves. She agrees and later on, in the middle of the night, she comes to Toma and starts taking off her clothes. When Toma rebuffs her, the old hag attacks him and rides him through the fields like a stallion but by reciting the Lord's Prayer, he's able to throw her (the way a horse would) and beat her to death - whereupon she changes into the beautiful lady in the carriage. Toma doesn't tell his friends what happened and the next day, the head of the monastery orders him to go to their benefactor's feudal estate and read prayers over the man's dead daughter for three consecutive nights. When he gets there and looks in the coffin, it's the young woman (?) he'd killed the night before...

This one's got it all- misty moonlight, howling wolves, hanging cobwebs, church crypts, cackling crones, a beautiful witch who rides men in more ways than one, a black cat in attack mode, a young man's hair turning white overnight, an erotic painting, superstitious villagers telling scary little stories in sepia-like flashbacks -and don't ask how the village idiot got that way (oh, OK, he was boinked senseless). Surprisingly, none of it's cheap, cheesy, or over-the-top and there's also nudity, lesbianism, and incest but even so, it's a terrific blend of sex & horror with a real sense of dread by the time the third night approaches. It's a good, "grimm" Eastern European fairytale for grown-ups -catch it if you can! The director's LEPTIRICA (1973) is also very good.

Reviewed by micic033 7 /10

Gogol would be proud of it!

I was very surprised to see the quality and effectiveness of this 1990. horror movie from Serbia. This is a genuine showcase of how the horror movie should be made. It has a strong story and character development, solid and in some times lustrous acting, creepy atmosphere and music, through all the movie (thanks to brilliant music score of Serbian late keyboardist Laza Ristovski).

The greatest thing about this movie is that there is no innocent person in this story (probably, likewise in real life). Everyone has his own dark secret... evil inside, that needs to be revealed. The same case is with the main character, too... Who is a priest BTW.

The main horror scenes are incredibly creepy and give you shivers in a spine. There is no blood, no torturing (besides mind torturing), no dismemberment of bodies... but, believe me, for a true horror fan, it will make a lasting impression.

There are more very good Serbian horrors like this one to be seen. For curious worldwide horror fans I recommend - Leptirica, Variola Vera and Davitelj protiv davitelja. They are lucid and interesting... Well, at least on a Serbian way.

I do recommend another older Russian version of this movie, too. It's called Viy, like the Gogol's novel. It has its own qualities, on a different way from the Serbian version.

On the end, for Serbia, this is remarkable horror movie!

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