Lokis. Rekopis profesora Wittembacha (1970) Poster

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10/10
Dark Gothic romance of subtle fear.
Vassago2 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Lokis" is a dark Gothic romance, a faithful (though expanded) adaptation of Prosper Merimee's famous story, and the creme de la creme of the small horror niche dealing with the Eastern variant of the werewolf - the "werebear".

Reverend Wittenbach, clergyman and bibliophile, travels into the eastern regions of Polish-Lithuanian forests - the "kresy" - in order to explore the vast library owned by a rich family of noblemen. Hosted in their luxurious mansion, the reverend learns the strange secrets of the surroundings and discovers the dark and disturbing secret of the family - there are whispers that his host, the enigmatic young count Michal Szemiot, may be something other than a man... that he was born of an unholy union of a woman and a bear...

Photographed with saturation purposely taken to the extreme in outerior takes - some scenes in open spaces resemble nothing as much as impressionistic paintings - "Lokis" relies on dialogue, imagery and the viewer's imagination in order to create an atmosphere of slowly creeping fear... the kind of fear that is always in the corner of one's eye, never pushed in one's face. This is not the kind of film for a dullard that considers the umpteenth remake with TV Guide's "Teen Star of the Month" to be the Olympus of horror movies.

The most interesting aspect of the film is its ambiguity - nothing seemingly supernatural is definitely shown as such. Do we really see a witch walking on water or merely an old woman using a secret path in the forest swamp? Is the count a werebeast or merely a man driven into insanity and murderous lust by his deepening psychosis? These questions are left unanswered, for the viewer to decide.

Currently available on DVD, "Lokis" is a worthy view to a conneisseur of the subtle and refined old school of horror cinema.
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5/10
A Horror Film Without Much Horror
jrd_7321 July 2012
Lokis ("The Bear") does a good job at setting up a foreign world. Set in the 19th century, a German minister travels to rural Poland to study the local folklore and to view a rare book in the collection of a count. This count is a strange man with an insane mother who was attacked by a bear as a newlywed and believes that her son is the progeny of that bear. Attending the sick woman is a city doctor who can barely hide his contempt for the country and his employers. Into this world comes the minister. The viewer immediately identifies with him because we, like the protagonist, are outsiders in a strange world. Like him, we wonder at the odd sights and beliefs (at a wedding, the bride is slapped during the service). The film is aided by the visual look which expresses a time gone by.

The problem is that the film does not go anywhere. There is a moody ambiance. An occasional odd moment suggests something fearful is coming, yet, nothing scary ever happens. Somehow the horror has been left out of the horror movie.
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9/10
Stylish piece of Polish fantasy horror.
HumanoidOfFlesh2 May 2008
A pastor stays at the home of a young nobleman when he comes to study folklore in Lithuania.A local doctor tells the pastor his host may be the union of a bear and the man's addle-brained mother.When the young noble is married,he disappears into the woods while his wife remains behind suffering from bite marks.Out of sheer boredom the doctor had perpetuated the story to alarm visitors of the small village and the pastor questions his faith when he believes him..."Lokis" is a slow-moving and suitably creepy Gothic horror film that carefully builds the air of menace and dread.It's also one of the most famous Polish horror films-even reviewed in remarkable 'Fear Without Frontiers" by Steven Jay Schneider.Check out Polish DVD,if you have a chance.
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