15 Czech horror movies to stream this Halloween weekend
Czech cinema is better known for its absurd humor than pure horror, but a number of spooky entries have managed to emerge from the haze. The best were made between the late 1960s and early 1970s. But there are many contemporary films worth mentioning.
We’ve ranked 15 horror entries currently available on streaming services, most with English subtitles. There is also an honorable mention for the silent era German version of “The Golem”, with a new score.
Streaming services currently showing Czech horror movies include Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, DAFilms, Aerovod, and Edison Online. Two YouTube channels broadcast licensed copies of Czech films: eská filmová klasika, managed by the National Film Archives, and Filmy česky a zadarmo, operated in cooperation with distributors.
Sorcerer’s Hammer (Kladivo na čarodějnice)
Director Otakar Vávra, 1970
Actual witch trials took place in North Moravia in the 1670s, and these inspired a 1963 novel. The following film was released briefly in January 1970, but banned in Czechoslovakia until after the Velvet Revolution. for there were many parallels with the spectacle trials of the communist era. The film, however, is also very critical of church officials who use the persecution for their own economic gain. It’s more drama than horror, and has been compared to playwright Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”. At Youtube, but without subtitles.
Creamer (Spalovač mrtvol)
Director Juraj Herz, 1969
The Descent of a Man into Madness presents one of the best performances of Czech icon Rudolf Hrušínský. The political allegory follows a man operating a crematorium as he becomes increasingly obsessed with his work, as World War II looms on the horizon. The main character begins to see himself as a liberator and savior of souls, losing all contact with reality.
Valerie and her week of wonders (Valerie a týden divů)
Director Jaromil Jireš, 1970
The very latest entry of the Czechoslovakian New Wave finds a surreal mix of vampires and witches in a medieval setting. Vítězslav Nezval’s 1935 novel has been turned into a 77-minute feverish dream that defies description but involves stolen magical earrings, a traveling show, people who constantly change their appearance, and some sort of curse. Currently on Edison Online, but without subtitles.
The Hastrman (Hastrman)
Director Ondřej Havelka, 2018
A revisionist and somber take on the Czech Water Goblin, a popular fairytale figure, has won four Czech Lion Awards, including Best Actor for Karel Dobrý, as well as awards for costume, music and performance. cinematography. The film is based on the 2001 novel by Miloš Urban. Currently on Netflix and DAFilms with English subtitles.
Realized by Juraj Herz, 1972
Gothic horror films were all the rage in the early 1970s, and Juraj Herz gave it a go with an adaptation of a Russian novel by fantasy writer Alexander Grin. Iva Janžurová, who is still active, has established herself as a leading Czech actress playing two sisters, a good and a bad. When their father shares his estate unevenly, wrongdoing cannot be far behind. Seaside scenes were filmed in Bulgaria. Broadcast on Edison Online and DAFilms, but without subtitles.
Wild flowers (Kytice)
Director FA Brabec, 2000
A visually stunning, almost hypnotic omnibus of seven short films based on poems by Karel Jaromír Erben, which in turn were adaptations of folk tales. The segments vary in tone, some rock decidedly in horror while others are more contemplative. Currently on Netflix with English subtitles; also plays the next Kino Aero Some Like It Czech Film Series, November 11th.
Midday Witch (Polednice)
Director Jiří Sádek, 2016
Aňa Geislerová stars in a psychological horror film loosely based on a tale by Karel Jaromír Erben. A woman moves to a small town where her husband grew up, only to find that something is wrong. Is something wrong brewing, or is it all in his head? The situation deteriorates during a very hot summer. The same story is presented in a segment of “Wild Flowers”. On HBO GO without subtitles and Amazon Prime dubbed in English.
Director Jan vankmajer, 2005
Two stories by Edgar Allan Poe – “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” and “The Premature Burial” – plus a touch of the Marquis de Sade inspired the story of a grieving man who voluntarily enters an asylum due to his nightmares and hallucinations. The asylum, however, turns out to be a very strange place. On Amazon Prime in an English dubbed version.
Ferat Vampire (Upir z Feratu)
Director Juraj Herz, 1983
The future first lady Dagmar Veškrnová, who would later marry Václav Havel, played the role of racing driver. The car, a modified Škoda 110 Super Sport concept car, however, does not run on gasoline. Jiří Menzel, a netter known as a director, appears as an actor. Some of the scenes relating to the strange car have a distinct David Cronenberg-like feel. At Youtube, but without subtitles.
Dinner for Adele (Adéla ještě nevečeřela)
Director Oldřich Lipský, 1977
Also called “Adèle has not had dinner yet”. The disappearance of a dog puts American detective Nick Carter on the tail of a mad scientist and his evil plan. The special effects were directed by animator Jan Švankmajer, and Rudolf Hrušínský has a key role.
It’s a bit of a stretch to call this wacky adventure a horror movie, but the monster Švankmajer created makes it a staple. Currently on Netflix and Aerovod with English subtitles.
The wolf’s hole (Vlčí bouda)
Director Věra Chytilová, 1987
The most prominent director of the Communist era, Věra Chytilová, has told an allegorical account of 11 people who were mysteriously invited to a remote ski resort. Organizers, however, insist that only 10 were invited, so one must be an unwanted intruder.
The greedy Tiffany (Nenasytná Tiffany)
Director Andy Fehu, 2015
Also called “Ravenous Tiffany”. An alcoholic who supports his drinking by going to small villages and stealing from cabins finds a video recording that contains clues to a precious treasure. Once the secret is revealed, there is a race to find the treasure. But getting the prize involves more than just digging for it. The director made the film available on Youtube with English subtitles.
Risk of suffocation
Director Marek Dobeš, 2004
Zombies attack an isolated motel in the middle of the forest, where a self-help seminar is taking place. A sample of characters, including a pornstar who ended up at the motel by accident, must fight to survive. The film is a comedy with philosophical overtones. At Youtube, but without subtitles.
Director Petr Jákl, 2015
A film of images found in the Czech Republic, shot in English, follows potential documentary makers to Ukraine, where they decide to set up a screening to get in touch with the spirit of a legendary cannibal. A lot of running, screaming and shaking camera work ensued. The film was initially released in 3D. Currently on Netflix in English.
Bathory: Blood Countess (Bathory)
Director Juraj Jakubisko, 2008
Jakubisko attempted to break into the international market with an English-language production of a Hungarian countess who allegedly bathed the blood of hundreds of kidnapped virgins. The big-budget Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and British production won mixed reviews, but was a national success. Currently on Netflix in English.
The Golem: how it came into the world
Honorable mention: The Golem: how it came into the world, a century-old German expressionist film, has been divided into eight segments and given a new soundtrack by eight groups of alternative music artists. it’s part of the project Saved restart, focused on the promotion of Jewish culture. Each segment also includes discussions and analysis by contemporary academics.
The film was shot in Germany in 1920 by director Paul Wegener, based on a story by Prague writer Gustav Meyrink, and takes place in Prague. The Golem Tale is one of the enduring legends of Prague’s Jewish heritage. The segments are visible on Youtube.