In 1983, Stephen King released his automotive horror novel Possessed Christine but years before that Black Volga terrorizes the streets of Poland and some believe it is not a construct of horror fiction. But to understand why, we need to do a little history lesson. Don’t worry, it’s a painless micro-learning moment.
In the 1930s, central Europe was, shall we say, in crisis. Poland was hit pretty hard by the Nazis and the Soviet Union, each occupying two different territories. The Nazis wanted all Poles killed, while the Soviets wanted them deported (and later killed). It was a very tumultuous time.
Once the war ended (Polish resistance helped defeat the Germans), a new era was born; the communist era. Forgoing a long explanation of political hijinx, there were organizations called “secret police” that helped keep autocrats or politicians with ultimate power in office. One of these forces was named NKVD. their work? Political repression.
Between 1952 and 1989, Poland was ruled by a communist government. What does this have to do with a demon machine, you ask? Well, the Soviet-led NKVD would oversee the manufacture of Black Volga (black paint was cheap to use) and use them in their patrols, terrorizing the citizens.
But some believe that the Devil himself got his hands on one of these cars in the 60s and 70s and drove through the ghettos for unsuspecting children and adults. Urban legend has it that the Devil himself would approach someone and ask for the time or something to chat with, then kill them where they were sitting.
Black Volga it would also have a license plate with the number “666”, some say it also had curtains on the windows. The only way to get rid of the demonic driver was to say “It’s God’s time” and the vehicle would simply disappear. Some stories claim that the driver wouldn’t kill you on the spot, but they tell you that you’ll die at the same time the next day.
Another, perhaps more realistic, but conspiratorial, version of the story says that the cars would do as above, but not the devil in the driver’s seat, but KGB agents kidnapping the children and stealing their blood and organs for the black market in the West.
A 1973 film was made of this version of the story called, appropriately, Black Volga. When the film was released in Poland, it was quickly banned.
During filming, the director, Patryk Symanski, wanted to use a real black Volga, but couldn’t because the frightened townspeople, when they saw the car, refused to leave, making filming on location impossible. In the end, Symanski never made another film, blaming himself Black Volga because he was cursed. They covered this fact in Thrill doc?
Another, more superhero movie that has nothing to do 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 stood the test of time and is known as far away as Mongolia. In another version of the story, cultists would use the car to roam the streets to use children in blood sacrifices.
As with most urban legends and horror stories, the Black Volga is probably something invented as a metaphor for the dark times in Eastern European history. But the fact that so many people are still freaked out by her presence makes you wonder which version of this urban legend scared them the most.