The She-Butterfly (1973)


The She-Butterfly (1973), also known as Leptirica, is a Yugoslav made-for-TV folk horror film directed by Đorđe Kadijević. The story follows the young man Strahinja who is in love with a local beauty Radojka, but their relationship has an obstacle – her father Zivan, who considers Strahinja as nothing but a loser. To prove that he’s able to take care of himself and his future bride, Strahinja agrees to take vacancy in village mill. But, mill is known as a place where no one meets the dawn alive12

Grumpy landowner Živan visits a watermill on the edge of the forest, bringing wheat to be milled into flour. While he converses with the miller Vule, strange sounds are heard outside the mill, seemingly coming from some bird. The two spot Živan’s daughter Radojka on the hill with her sheep and Vule comments how beautiful she is, stating that she looks “like a she-butterfly”. During the night, Vule once again hears strange sounds coming from the woods. While he sleeps, a millstone suddenly stops working and a strange human-like creature with black hands, hairy face and long teeth enters the mill, grabs a handful of flour, and after inspecting it, attacks Vule and kills him by biting his neck. The millstone is seen starting to turn again. Vule’s body is discovered the following morning by one of the peasants from the nearby village of Zarožje, who runs off in horror and informs the village mayor about his discovery. The film turns to a romance between Radojka and Strahinja. The two meet secretly, as Živan refuses to approve their relationship. In the meanwhile, the mayor of the neighboring Zarožje, the village priest and several villagers discuss the death of their miller. It is revealed that Vule is the fourth miller to be killed in the mill over the course of one year, and the villagers suspect that the men were killed by a known vampire called Sava Savanović. Strahinja approaches Živan, asking for Radojka’s hand in marriage, but Živan banishes him from his yard. Disappointed, Strahinja bids farewell to Radojka and leaves his village. While passing through Zarožje, he meets the villagers discussing the cursed mill and accepts their offer to become the new miller. He spends the night in the mill, but stays in the mill’s attic and thus survives the visit of the vampire. In the morning, the villagers visit the mill and find Strahinja alive. He tells them that he saw the creature, and the villagers are now convinced it was Sava Savanović, who died decades ago3


  • Mirjana Nikolic as Radojka
  • Petar Bozovic as Strahinja
  • Slobodan ‘Cica’ Perovic as Zivan ‘Dusman’
  • Vasja Stankovic as Kmet
  • Aleksandar Stojkovic as Purko
  • Tanasije Uzunovic as Pop
  • Ivan Djurdjevic as Sredoje
  • Bogoljub Petrovic as Ceba
  • Toma Kuruzovic as Vule… vodenicar
  • Branko Petkovic
  • Milos Ilic as Cobanin br. 69
  • Bogdan Milosavljevic as Baba koja cuva mladence
  • Nikolina Stanic as Ovca na poljani u poslednjoj sceni


The She-Butterfly (1973) is based on the short story “Posle devedeset godina” (After Ninety Years) by Milovan Glišić [1].


  • “Leptirica was the first Serbian horror movie and is considered one of the top Serbian and former Yugoslav horror films. ” – Eastern European Movies
  • “Leptirica isn’t particularly well-made or well-acted, has an unsteady tone (comedy elements often seem forced or completely out of place) and it really lacks visual punch, though it’s watchable, has a few faintly eerie moments and the country setting provides an interesting backdrop to the action.” – Bloody Pit of Horror
  • “The film is creepy and rather atmospheric, the mill being a great location. This fits in with tradition.” – Taliesin Meets the Vampire


[1]Eastern European Movies
[2] Bloody Pit of Horror
[3] Taliesin Meets the Vampire

Last updated byCody Meirick on November 5, 2023