Summer time is approaching, which means it is, of course, Belarusian folk-horror season. As part of Deaf Crocodile Films’ new collaboration with DiabolikDVD, the largest independent online distributor of specialized home video releases, their first release will be Valeri Rubinchik’s ultra-rare 1980 feature The Savage Hunt of King Stakh, based on the novel by Belarusian writer Uladzimir Karatkievich. Newly restored by Craig Rogers, Deaf Crocodile Co-Founder and Head of Post-Production and Restoration, this will mark the first-ever North American Blu-ray release of the two-hour Director’s Cut version. Ahead of the July 1 release, we’re pleased to exclusively share the restoration trailer.

Here’s the synopsis: “‘We have more ghosts than live people,’ murmurs the pale, haunted mistress of the mansion of Marsh Firs (Elena Dimitrova) to a scholar of ancient folklore (Boris Plotnikov) who has arrived at her castle to research the bloody legend of King Stakh, a murdered 15th-century nobleman whose spirit supposedly thunders through the local woodlands.  The Wild Hunt is a fixture of northern European folklore in which a sinister figure leads a chase followed by ghostly companions.”

“Part folk horror, part supernatural mystery, KING STAKH is a melancholy, chilling mixture of Terry Gilliam, Italian Gothic Horror, 1960s Hammer Films, and THE WICKER MAN —and a major rediscovery for genre fans,” it continues. “The longer the young scholar stays in this mysterious house of ‘shadow, gloom, madness, and death’ the more strange and surreal the imagery becomes: a mad widow in a white wig; a man bleeding spontaneously from his skull; a dwarf hiding in a decayed doll’s house; screeching ravens and maniacal puppet shows.”

See the exclusive trailer, Blu-ray special features details, and cover art below.

  • Brand-new restoration of the Director’s Cut of the film by Craig Rogers for Deaf Crocodile.
  • Slipcase edition offers 60-page illustrated booklet including:
  • New essay by film historian & professor Peter Rollberg (Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema).
  • New essay by film critic Walter Chaw (Film Freak Central).
  • New commentary track by comics artist (Swamp Thing), film historian, and author Stephen R. Bissette. 
  • New commentary track by Mike White of The Projection Booth.
  •  ”The Wild, Wild Hunt of King Stakh” — new video essay by film historian Evan Chester.
  • Video introduction by filmmaker and author Kier-La Janisse (WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED: A HISTORY OF FOLK HORROR)
  • Blu-ray authoring by David Mackenzie of Fidelity In Motion.
  • New art by Beth Morris and comics artist David W. Mack (“Kabuki”, Marvel Comics’ “Echo”)

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