Little by little, the world ordered or in the process of so becoming more unstable, less readable. The benchmarks tend to blur in the last example of this pile of horrifying presences, a 1980 film, Dikaia okhota korolia Stakha, (The Wild Hunt of King Stakh, Valeri Roubintchik). Adapted from a short story by a Belarusian writer, Vladimir Korotkevitch, whom he rewrote especially for the film, he positioned himself from the outset as a work that seeks to frighten: the name “Stakh” plays on the word “strakh”, which means “fear” in Russian. In gomovies you can have the best choices.
The Other Films
Like Buneev’s film, “cultural alibi” is used as legitimation: an anthropologist who investigates in Belarus in the 19th century discovers a village terrorized by a band of ghost riders, servants of the terrible King Stakh, whose death dates back to Middle Ages. Again, the supernatural gives way to a rational explanation at the end of the film – the gang of looters, rapists and killers were just a bunch of bandits in the pay of local power. However, as in the previous example, the absence of a supernatural element does not prevent the film from literally teeming with references, in particular to the myth of Dracula. The originality of the film compared to the other examples lies in the link between the horrific presences (huge and empty castle, disturbing characters, morbid atmosphere) and erotic.
- A fairly rare occurrence in prudish Soviet cinema, this element which automatically belongs to the register of horror films 24 undoubtedly contributed to the success of the film with 11.3 million spectators at the box office.
- Overall, the Belarusian example shows that the crumbs of the horror genre are spreading in the USSR in an increasing way, sometimes using the pretext of a film inspired by childish tales, sometimes classic literature, sometimes a movement “towards the roots”, a cultural rediscovery of self and others. The spectator tends to gradually lose his bearings in a larger world, which remains to be explored, where the categories of “good” and “bad” vary according to civilizations and eras.
- Paradoxically, it is at the moment when the government decides to make the table more readable that the horrifying presences will benefit from a more favorable context than ever. The comeback of the Cold War in the early 1980s played the role of catalyst for these presences.
The crystallization of a genre
The Cold War, major confrontation in the second half of the XX century, was essentially ideological. Taking root in the American-Soviet opposition after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, it contributed to the development, from 1945, of an image of the Western enemy, and in particular, the American one, which took the Nazi invader first place, and serves as justification, for the Soviet power, with a whole of campaigns of mobilization to prepare for the war in particular and purges. Contrary to popular belief, the cold war only ended with the disappearance of the USSR in 1991, even if the image of the American enemy gradually disappeared after the arrival of Gorbachev in 1985.
Ezequiel Alcántara is a thief who has just been released from prison, determined to find the money that his accomplice had buried in a certain area. When he arrives there, he realizes that the gymnasium of the “Frida Kahlo” school has been built there. In order to recover the booty without raising suspicion, “Zequi” agrees to work as a substitute teacher at this school…