Demon of Steppes was based on a novel by B. Laurenev. The title character is the despotic Lelka, played with eyeball-rolling fury by actress Oxana Podelsnaya. After a few reels of whipping helpless peasants, Lelka shoots a young couple to death. She finally gets her just desserts at the hands of her lover Vassilya (Nikolai Saltkinov) after murdering his best friend. Director Leo Scheffer lovingly details Lelka's reign of terror in all its gory glory, with tight close-ups of broken bodies and mutilated faces. A silent film, Demon of Steppes was released in the U.S. two years after the talking-picture revolution.
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