8 Classic Polish-Directed Horrors You Need to Know
no-image, 8 Classic Polish-Directed Horrors You Need to Know
If you like to get scared, you’ve got the right country. Classic Polish-directed horror films as shown, for instance, by Rosemary’s Baby will send shivers down your spine and leave you wanting more. Below you can find Culture.pl’s selection of 8 movies which have the potential to seriously creep you out.
wojciech jerzy has
Directed by Roman Polanski in 1968, this is one of the scariest horror movies ever made. In the film set in the 60s Mia Farrow plays the title role of Rosemary, who moves into an old New York tenement house with her husband Guy (John Cassavetes). The house has a grim history and the couple’s new neighbour, Minnie, often treats Rosemary to strange-tasting dishes. After some time Rosemary has a nightmare and becomes pregnant. She eventually gives birth to the anti-Christ. Rosemary’s Baby was based on Ira Levin’s novel of the same title. Ruth Gordon, who played Minnie in this picture, won an Oscar for her role.
Lokis: The Manuscript of Professor Wittembach
During the 19th century pastor and professor Wittembach comes to the area of today’s Lithuania to conduct literary research. He stays at the palace of the eccentric Count Szemiot. There Wittembach learns that Szemiot’s mother had lost her mind when she was once abducted by a bear, 9 months after which she gave birth to the Count. Later on in the movie the pastor marries Szemiot to the beautiful Julia, who is seemingly killed by a bear on their wedding night. Małgorzata Braunek and Józef Duriasz star, amongst others, in this 1970 film based on Prosper Mérimée’s novella Lokis and directed by Janusz Majewski.
After this 1981 horror movie premiered its director, Andrzej Żuławski, gained the reputation of being one of the most controversial European filmmakers of the time. In Possession, which is set in Berlin in the early 1980s, Anna (Isabelle Adjani) becomes estranged from her husband Mark (Sam Neil). Mark learns that Anna has a lover and hires a private detective to follow her. Tailing her, the detective enters a flat, where he encounters a tentacled monster. Adjani won a César Award for Best Actress for her role in this sexually charged film written by Andrzej Żuławski and Frederic Tuten.
Docteur Jekyll et les femmes / Blood of Dr. Jekyll
The famed creator of artistic erotic movies Walerian Borowczyk directed this 1981 take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the film in question Dr. Jekyll organizes a reception at his grand home to celebrate his upcoming engagement to Miss Fanny Osborne. After the reception starts, his alter ego, Mr. Hyde, rapes and kills some of the guests. At one point Jekyll’s prospective fiancée joins him in one of the baths that turn him into the killer and she herself undergoes a dark transformation. Udo Kier and Marina Pierro star in this film that won Borowczyk the Best Feature Film Director award at the 1981 Stiges film festival.
Wosiński returns home after fighting for Poland’s freedom in a 19th century uprising to find his wife Maryna dying. Maryna, who had been practicing magic, blames him for abandoning her and curses him before she passes. Wosiński travels to the estate of his friend Count Ludwik, whose wife looks just like the deceased Maryna. Nearby the Count’s manor a she-wolf keeps wandering. The animal is linked to Martyna’s spirit which is influencing the Count’s wife. Over 2 million people went to Polish cinemas to see this 1983 film directed by Marek Piestrak, starring Krzysztof Jasiński and Iwona Bielska. Wilczyca was based on Jerzy Gierałtowski’s short story Wadera.
This occult movie from 1985 was written and directed by Jacek Koprowicz. In Medium, extraordinary events take place in interwar Sopot. Certain people exhibit trancelike behaviours. Greta, a medium, makes paranormal contact with a mysterious psychic. Commissioner Selin (Władysław Kowalski) learns that exactly 36 years earlier a gruesome triple murder took place in the said town. It seems that in order to gain immortality the only survivor of this murder is trying to recreate that crime by using paranormal powers.
Memoirs of a Sinner
This is a 1986 film directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has, set at the turn of the 17th and 18th century. After being taken from his grave Robert, who was portrayed by Piotr Bajor, rises from the dead. Robert starts to tell the story of his life to a group of men. He used to lead an ascetic life and analyse the nature of sin. His pureness ended when he killed his brother-in-law, which Robert was persuaded to do by a demonic stranger. Afterwards Robert’s mother suddenly died and he tried to kill the stranger with a dagger. Oddly enough, it was Robert’s dagger-pierced body that was later found by vagabonds. This film was based on James Hogg’s novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
In the beginning of the 20th century Dr. Stefański meets his friend Kamil at a restaurant in a Polish city. Kamil is feeling very ill and tells Stefański that the reason for this is that he is having an affair with a bedazzling woman named Sara. Kamil’s state is diagnosed as terminal, but he still insists to be taken to Sara’s palace. Later Stefański tries to visit the palace, but Kamil is nowhere to be found. The doctor grows to believe that Sara sucked away Kamil’s vital energy. This 1987 film starring Hanna Balińska and Eugeniusz Kujawski was based on Stefan Grabiński’s short story W domu Sary / In Sara’s Home and directed by Zygmunt Lech.
Author: Marek Kępa, Spring 2015