Home of The Folk Horror Podcast, and miscellaneous writings by Candle-Ends (Neil).
I don’t know what the movie translates as “Feast of the Immaculate Conception”. Remember these characters are not Roman Catholics, they are Russian Orthodox. Which I am pretty sure does not celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, or even believe in the doctrine of Immaculate Conception (“Immaculate Conception” does NOT refer to the conception of Jesus, it is the Roman Catholic belief that Mary’s conception was as miraculous (or almost so) as that of her son Jesus).The Cossack who says he wants to go to the seminary thinks that maybe in the seminary the students are taught different things than what he is taught in church, this is made clearer in the original Gogol story.You mentioned St. Vitus Dance. This disease is now known as “Sydenham’s Chorea”, it is a real disease. I think Neil may have confused it with the “dancing manias” that broke out in the late Medieval and Renaissance in Europe.The scene with all the monsters at the end reminded me of the scene from the movie Fellowship of the Ring. Remember when all of the orcs and goblins surround the fellowship in Moria? Then they all become terrified when they realize the Balrog is coming, just like the monsters in Viy are terrified of Viy. I wonder if Peter Jackson was inspired by Viy for that whole sequence. Jackson’s film even makes everything look grey (just like the monsters in Viy) and has lots of monsters crawling down the walls.We are wondering what Russian word was translated as “gnome”. But remember that the English word “gnome” comes (via Latin) from a Greek word that meant “Earth Elemental”. Gogol seems to have considered the Viy the King of the Earth Elementals, thus “gnomes” in a very old sense.I’m not sure that the story really has a moral. Many old folk tales really didn’t originally, but later storytellers added them.But thank you for drawing my attention to a movie that I probably would never have seen!