When it comes to supernatural urban legends, throughout history many have revolved around people performing some form of ritual or dare involving mirrors. Arguably the most renowned of these is Bloody Mary, a legend that became common knowledge around the world through film and media, but there are many variants to this particular legend. One of those is The Queen of Spades, a character who emerged in the post-Soviet countries, particularly in Russia and Estonia.
Surfing the net to find out more about this legend, it would seem that practices of invocation became very frequent in the 1970s and ’80s, carried out by children and adolescents when their parent’s were away from home, with many reports bearing more than a passing resemblance to the recent Momo challenge news stories.
Case in point: Patrick White took it upon himself to summon the aforementioned character in his feature-length directorial debut, Queen of Spades. Penned by John Ainslie (Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, The Sublet) and White, and adapted from an original Russian film, Pikovaya dama. Chyornyy obryad (Queen of Spades: The Dark Rite), the film follows four sceptical teenagers who perform a ritual to summon the ominous entity known as the Queen of Spades, thinking it’s all one big hoax. Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong.
With the film releasing in select theatres today, June 11, On Demand on June 15 and then Blu-ray on June 29, we sat down with White and the film’s star, Ava Preston (Critters Attack!, I’ll Take Your Dead) to discuss the truth behind this Russian urban legend and how this new version differs from Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy’s original film.
Words: Howard Gorman