Watch the Lovecraftian movie “Stalker” for free

Author Joe Pulver told me several months ago that the Russian film Stalker is very Lovecraftian.  And now, it is free to watch online!  Remember to turn on captions, as the movie is in Russian.  (Click the CC at the bottom right.)


A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes (from the IMdB).

Watch Stalkers: part onepart two.

9 responses to “Watch the Lovecraftian movie “Stalker” for free

  1. The film is ambiguous though there are subtle suggestions as to what may have caused the incident(s). The film opens with a brief message which sums up the possibilites:
    “What was it? A meteorite? A visit of inhabitants of the cosmic abyss? One way or another, our small country has seen the birth of a miracle—the Zone. We immediately sent troops there. They haven’t come back. Then we surrounded the Zone with police cordons…”
    Wonderfully cryptic. 🙂


  2. I agree Mr. Davis. Of course opinions on what is and what isn’t Lovecraftian vary greatly, but I certainly see some H.P. in Stalker. Besides the title character himself the film features two stock Lovecraftian characters identified only as “the Writer” and “The Professor”, subterranean tunnels, dilapidated buildings- all have the whisper of Lovecraft about them. The plot involves a meteor strike that necessitates quarantining the land into an inhospitable “Zone”- anincident which altered the laws of physics as well as the very biology of any who travel within. There are hints throughout the film that the Stalker’s illegal excursions into the Zone corrupted his DNA- a corruption passed on to his daughter with her handicap and psychokinetic abilities. The whole film pulses with the ghastly shades of The Color Out of Space.

    Though Tarkovsky denied much of a connection between his film and the novel Roadside Picnic, his film is clearly an adaptation of the Strugatsky brothers’ book. Roadside’ is even more overtly Lovecraftian as it goes into more detail about the extraterrestrial invasion (dubbed Visitations) and the landing sites (Zones) where physical laws were inexorably mutated including the animal and plant life within. The novel focuses on the expeditions to retrieve alien artifacts left behind- artifacts whose function and purpose elude any critical analysis. For all we know the items could be perpetual motion machines or the e.t. equivalent of an emery board. The title is a tipoff as to the point of the whole thing as one character compares the Zones and the alien litter left behind as:

    “A picnic. Picture a forest, a country road, a meadow. Cars drive off the country road into the meadow, a group of young people get out carrying bottles, baskets of food, transistor radios, and cameras. They light fires, pitch tents, turn on the music. In the morning they leave. The animals, birds, and insects that watched in horror through the long night creep out from their hiding places. And what do they see? Old spark plugs and old filters strewn around… Rags, burnt-out bulbs, and a monkey wrench left behind… And of course, the usual mess—apple cores, candy wrappers, charred remains of the campfire, cans, bottles, somebody’s handkerchief, somebody’s penknife, torn newspapers, coins, faded flowers picked in another meadow.”

    As ants are to a human picnickers, humanity is to these mysterious alien entities. All evocative of Lovecraft at the very least.
    And as Mr. Petersen pointed out the pace is very, very Russian. Tarkovsky has described film as “sculpting in time” and his use of excruciatingly slow pans across greasy wet gravel and dripping architecture invokes an atmosphere unlikely any on film since. So not unlike a Lovecraft story the environment becomes a character as well, the ambiance attains a purpose far more important than character or plot. Ignoring any Lovecraftian influence the film and novel are still masterpieces of weird cinema and fiction.


  3. Yes, I also disagree that it’s Lovecraftian. It’s based on the 1972 Russian novel “Roadside Picnic” by Arcady and Boris Strugatsky about humans attempting to explore (and loot) strange zones left behind after Aliens visited and then left Earth abandoning their “rubbish” (food wrappers, empty bottles and scraps equivalents) after their apparent roadside picnic. The really awful thing is that the Aliens didn’t even bother to acknowledge our existence. The artifacts (ie discards) are highly dangerous. The book’s spawned a number of computer games. But not Lovecraftian please.


    • “the really awful thing is that the Aliens didn’t even bother to acknowledge our existence.” <– I haven't seen the movie yet, but that is very much a Lovecraftian theme.


      • In the film, it’s not even clear that there was actually an alien presence. The Zone might be nothing more than some cover-up of a Chernobyl-like accident. Deliciously ambiguous.

        More horrifying by far is what happened to the cast and crew after filming.


  4. Well worth a listen is Brian Lustmord’s (“The Place Where The Black Stars Hang”) album “Stalker” inspired by this film. Dark ambient music at its finest!


  5. Tarkovsky is a genius – at least everyone tells me so – but he is a Russian genius. Like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, his works are plodding behemoths. Yes there is worth, but you have to be in the right, insightful, mood for it in my opinion.


  6. I’ll disagree — while a very good film, Stalker isn’t Lovecraftian at all. One of the beautiful things about the film is that it is intentionally unclear that there is anything going on at all. The ending serves to reinforce that ambiguity wonderfully.


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