August is Hungry Ghost Month and Netflix has lined up a slate of Asian horror stories for audiences to stream.
After all, Asia has gained a reputation for our bone-shivering horror tales. Unlike staple Hollywood horror flicks, ours are inspired by our storied culture. So, it is rather fitting that with August being Hungry Ghost Month, the world’s largest streamer has curated a list of familiar and unexplored horror titles rooted in folklore, myths, and urban legends unique to this region.
This August, experience these legends and stories that make up our Asian culture – all from the comfort of your homes. Here are all the Asian horror stories that you should stream on Netflix this Hungry Ghost Month.
Combining the elements of mysterious esoteric religions and unsettling rituals of Taiwanese folklore, Incantation adopts a found footage, mockumentary format that immerses the audience as it explores the complexities of taboos and curses.
School Tales The Series (Thailand)
Directed by seasoned Thai directors, School Tales The Series brings eight horrifying stories, based on comics, to life. This anthology is built around the theme of school-bound horrors, passed down from class to class, bringing back chilling memories of local schoolyard stories and legends.
The Medium (Thailand)
Set in a small town in the Isan area of north-eastern Thailand, The Medium plays out as a found-footage mockumentary on shamanism, religious beliefs and practices, karma, as well as an ancestral curse. Directed by renowned Thai director Banjong Pisanthanakun, the award-winning film has made its rounds in the international awards circuit, before finding its home on Netflix.
The Whole Truth (Thailand)
What would you do if you noticed a hole in your living room wall but those around you insist that you are lying? In The Whole Truth, two siblings stumble on a strange hole in the wall of their grandparents’ house, and horrifying incidents that follow reveal sinister secrets about their family. Their attempts to find the answer could lead to the truth no one wants to know.
May The Devil Take You (Indonesia)
In recent years, Indonesia has become the go-to for horror fans. Offering Asian horror stories with an Indonesian twist, the nation has produced a number of shocking and terrify tales. Expect lots of blood, gore and brutal horror in May The Devil Take You, as the movie uncovers the consequences of satanic rituals and selling one’s soul to the devil in exchange for riches.
Vietnamese Horror Story (Vietnam)
Vietnamese Horror Story interweaves three stories inspired by local folklore and urban legends – for instance, a 3 souls and 7 spirits Buddhist concept in the third story – following an actress seeking everlasting beauty; a magician who makes a deal with the devil; and a psychic seeking the remains of a deceased girl.
The Guardian (Vietnam)
A revenge horror thriller that explores the darkness of the entertainment industry, The Guardian follows a backup singer who enlists the help of occult forces, black magic and a Kumanthong doll (a divine child spirit in a doll that is believed to bring luck and fortune to the owner) to achieve popularity.
Dendam Pontianak (Malaysia)
Take a peek into Malay culture’s most popular malevolent supernatural entity, the Pontianak, as it makes an appearance in Dendam Pontianak. In Southeast Asian mythology, the pontianak refers to a vicious, long-haired female vampire who is normally out to seek revenge. The movie is a modern retelling of this popular mythology complete with forbidden love, betrayal, witchcraft and murder.
Beginning with a Quran passage about Satan, Roh is a disquieting rural Malaysian horror tale rooted in folklore and superstitions that explores the role of the devil in the context of a religious and spiritual society. The movie follows an isolated family living in a barren hut deep in the jungle who meet with a series of frightening supernatural incidents after taking in a little girl lost in the forest.
Munafik & Munafik 2 (Malaysia)
Centred around a religious medical practitioner turned healer who struggles to come to terms with his wife’s untimely death, Munafik and Munafik 2 are films that grapple with issues of faith and religion. Guaranteed to spook all horror junkies, these films are worth the watch this August, especially with Munafik 2 being the highest grossing Malaysian film in 2019.
When a student’s suicide rattles an all-girls Catholic school, a clairvoyant guidance counsellor embarks on solving this mysterious death, and in turn uncovers the convent’s abusive past. A film on how modern beliefs and faith can clash, Eerie brings to the screen thought-provoking issues while incorporating the element of horror.