In 1983 Stephen King released his possessed American automobile horror novel Christine but years before that the Black Volga was terrorizing the streets of Poland and some think it’s not a construct of horror fiction. But to understand why, we need to do a small history lesson. Don’t worry it’s a painless micro-learning moment.
In the 1930s central Europe was, let’s just say, in crisis. Poland was hit pretty hard by the Nazis and the Soviet Union, each taking up two different territories. The Nazis wanted all Poles killed while the Soviets wanted them deported (and subsequently killed). It was a very tumultuous time.
Once the war was over (the Polish resistance helping defeat the Germans), a new age was born; the Communist era. Forgoing a long explanation of political hijinx, there were organizations called the “secret police” that helped keep autocrats, or politicians with supreme power in office. One of these forces was called the NKVD. Their job? Political repression.
Between 1952 and 1989 Poland was ruled by a communist government. What does this have to do with a demonic car you ask? Well, the Soviet-led NKVD would oversee the manufacturing of the Black Volga (black paint was cheap to use) and utilize them in their patrols, terrifying citizens.
But some believe the Devil himself got a hold of one of these cars in the ’60s and ’70s and cruised the ghettos for children and unsuspecting adults. The urban legend says that the Devil himself would pull up alongside someone and ask for the time or something conversational, then kill them where they stood.
‘Black Lightening” 2009
The Black Volga would also have a license plate with the number “666,” some also say it had curtains in the windows too. The only way to escape the demonic driver was to say “It is God’s Time,” and the vehicle would simply vanish. Some stories claim that the driver wouldn’t kill you on the spot, but tell you that you would die at the same time the next day.
Another, perhaps more realistic yet conspiratory version of the tale says the cars would do as above, but it wasn’t the devil in the driver’s seat, but KGB agents who would abduct children and steal their blood and organs for the Western black market.
A 1973 movie was made of this version of the story called, appropriately, Black Volga. Upon the movie’s release in Poland, it was quickly banned.
During filming, the director, Patryk Symanski, wanted to use a real black Volga, but he couldn’t because frightened townsfolk, upon seeing the car, refused to leave which made shooting on location an impossibility. In the end, Symanski never made another film, blaming Black Volga for being cursed. Did they cover that fact in the Shudder doc?
Another, more superhero-type movie that has nothing to with the legend, but features the Volga is called “Black Lightening” from 2009. Think Chitty Chitty Bang Bang meets Transformers meets Green Lantern.
This legend has withstood the test of time and it is known as far away as Mongolia. In yet another version of the tale, cultists would use the car to scour the streets for children to use in blood sacrifices.
As with most urban legends and creepy tales, The Black Volga is probably something made up as a metaphor for the bleak times in Eastern European history. But the fact that so many people are still frightened of its presence makes you wonder which version of this urban legend scared them the most.