Juraj Herz entered the world of Czech filmmaking in the opportune 1960s. He graduated in photography from Bratislava’s School of Applied Arts, and in direction from the puppeteering department of Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts. He debuted in 1965 with the medium-length film The Junk Shop (SbÄ›rné surovosti) based on a work by Bohumil Hrabal. In 1968, he shot the singularly-regarded movie version of Ladislav Fuks’ novel The Cremator (SpalovaÄ mrtvol). Another successful work, an adaptation of the novel by Jaroslav HavlíÄek, Oil Lamps (Petrolejové lampy, 1971), was selected to compete at the Cannes IFF. His lifelong passion for stories full of mystery and suspense turned up in both Morgiana (1972) and the fairytales The Ninth Heart (Deváté srdce) and Beauty and the Beast (Panna a netvor, 1978). He is also considered to have created the first modern Czech horror film, The Vampire of Ferat (Upír z Feratu, 1982). After The Magpie in the Wisp (Straka v hrsti) was banned in 1984, Herz shot films in Slovakia. Since 1987 he has lived and worked in Germany, where he shoots mainly made-for-TV movies and series.
In 1986, Herz was honored at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for the drama The Night Overtook Me (Zastihla mÄ› noc). In 2009, the festival world-premiered the horror film Darkness (T.M.A.). The director has recently finished the German-Czech coproduction Habermann (HabermannÅ¯v mlÃ½n).