“Ghost Riders in the Sky”

(Post) Colonial Tropes in Belarusian Horror Media


  • Alesha Serada University of Vaasa




Uladzimir Karatkevič, Belarus, Feminismus, Postkolonialismus, nationale Befreiung, gotischer Horror, Filmsemiotik, "mimische Menschen"


The object of inquiry in this article is the subgenre of Belarusian cinematic horror, which, as of 2024, encompasses three to five exemplary cases depending on the genealogy and the degree of ‘family resemblance’. Based on the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School, I analyse structural elements of the genre and expressive means that support and disrupt them, in order to reveal the postcolonial underpinnings of the typical Belarusian horror narrative. Three most important structural elements are revealed in the narratives of Belarusian horror: the Gothic heroine, the tourist, whom I characterise as a ‘mimic man’, and the ambiguous monster – the covert representation of Belarus who is made evil by ‘slippage’ of the oppressed cinematic language. In the end, I argue that some of the same structural and expressive means have been implemented in the multimedia opera King Stakh’s Wild Hunt (2023) by Belarus Free Theater. Such an approach both clarifies the anticolonial message of the Wild Hunt, as well as in horror films inspired by it, and explains structural incongruities in the resulting narratives. The article's title references the American dark country song written by Stan Jones in the late 1940s.

King Stakh’s Wild Hunt (2023). Belarus Free Theatre. 2023. Source: https://belarusfreetheatre.com/productions/king-stakhs-wild-hunt




How to Cite

Serada, Alesha. 2024. “‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’: (Post) Colonial Tropes in Belarusian Horror Media”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 18 (March). https://doi.org/10.17892/app.2024.00018.340.

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