The horror genre has made only sporadic appearances in Czechoslovak film. One such occasion was the release of Věra Chytilová’s Vlčí bouda (Wolf Chalet, 1986), but as with other works by the controversial filmmaker, she used the genre as a vehicle for elucidating more general meanings. In Vlčí bouda, the director stays within her favourite territory: a look at the morality of a relationship that approaches a parable of contemporary society. The plot is based on a story theme and screenplay by Daniela Fischerová and it is essentially constructed according to the ground plan for an archetypal tale. The narrative outlines how a group of 11 young people must undergo a rite of passage prematurely, in an environment cut off from the ordinary world. The group is taking part in an elite skiing course at Wolf Chalet in the mountains. They need endure harsh drills under their chief instructor, nicknamed “Daddy”, and two other instructors, Dingo and Babeta. The instructors deliberately incite mistrust and dissention among their wards to compel them to make a life and death decision: if the young people sacrifice one of their peers, they will be allowed to return home. The horror genre surprisingly turns into a venture into sci-fi. The instructors are revealed to be aliens who are testing this sample of humans as part of their preparations for an invasion… In Vlčí bouda, Chytilová tried to expose the mechanisms by which totalitarian regimes manipulate the populace. Despite the fact that young people often represent hope in Chytilová´s feature films, the ski course participants at Vlčí bouda have already been infected by greed and the compromising attitude of adults. Key impacts of the film are reinforced by nerve-racking, dynamic takes from cameraman Jaromír Šofr and the disturbing score by Michal Kocáb.
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