Halloween is just around the corner.
Not everyone likes partying out all night long. Some of us prefer staying at home binging horror movies. Let’s be real, aren’t haunted mansions, creepy clowns and demon nuns getting kinda cliché? As staff of a company that champions storytelling more than anything else, we think that film is a magical medium that brings individuals with different stories together. Instead of flicks that only stimulate our senses with lazy Michael Bay-esque CGI, we prefer a good storytelling experience with a narrative that explores different sides of humanity.
Hong Kong has long been a paradise for Chinese filmmakers to explore their wildest, darkest, most macabre ideas. As a result, our city has created some of Asia’s best horror movies that often brings Western elements and Chinese folklore together. That is why we have shortlisted the following five movies for this festive occasion. Not only would they make your heart race, each flick tells you about traditional superstitions such as karma, reincarnation and sinning that would leave you unsettled for many days…
1. Going Home 三更之回家 (2002)
Fright factor: ★★★★☆
Going home features the hair-raising story of Chan, a widowed cop and his neighbor, Yu. One day, Chan’s son disappears and Chan believes that Yu has kidnapped him. Chan breaks into Yu’s flat, revealing that he has been bathing his late wife’s corpse with Chinese medicine for years – with the hope to make her come alive again…
Going home isn’t your typical horror movie filled with jump scares, but depicts bittersweet, even romantic reminiscence of the characters’ past. The director Peter Chan is widely known for creating stories with a surprising twist. But very few realise that Going Home was filmed in a very popular hangout spot in Central – PMQ. You might be a little bummed that the place isn’t as ghastly as it is portrayed in the movie, but you would also be pleased to visit exceptional street art and designer shops. You can join us on our Central and Sheung Wan Movie Tour to know more about the movie!
2. The Eye 見鬼 (2002)
Fright factor: ★★★★☆
Visually-impaired Mann’s whole life is about to be turned upside-down after receiving a cornea transplant. It might be a heartwarming story if the movie ends here… But things are just about to get real. As Mann’s eyesight is restored, she is able to foresee sudden, shocking deaths. Desperate to find out the truth, Mann begins a journey to Thailand to search for her donor…
Director Peng Brothers are known as brilliant storytellers who are capable of sending chills down audiences’ spines with exquisite details in their movies. A gracefully shot scene in The Eye takes place in a Cantonese barbeque restaurant, where Mann witnesses the terrifying mother-and-son ghost duo, yet later learns the poignant story behind these two. Apart from horror movie fans, this delicate and captivating movie also wins the hearts of those who appreciate an elegant story that leads up to some deeper moral reflection.
3. Out of the Dark 回魂夜 (1995)
Fright factor: ★★☆☆☆
If you love the film Leon, the Professional, you should definitely watch Out of the Dark. As a parody of Leon, this Stephen Chow classic ingeniously juggles between horror and humour, earning the reputation as the comedian’s darkest film. Out of the Dark follows Leon, a delusional man who thinks he is a ghostbuster. Tired of paranormal activity, a team of incompetent security guards of a haunted housing estate ‘contracted’ Leon to catch evil spirits.
Out of the Dark is perhaps one of Chow’s most compelling yet underrated movies. Juxtaposed with Chow-style slapstick jokes are nasty gore-and-guts. Seemingly absurd, the movie has some surprisingly profound ideas about the stereotypical concept of fear instilled in our society. Out of the Dark is a timeless classic from Hong Kong’s Golden Age of Cinema, not conforming to either comedy or horror genres. Needless to say, it is a compelling movie that deserves more attention than it currently has.
4. Bio Zombie 生化壽屍 (1998)
Fright factor: ★★★☆☆
If the above movies all sound too hardcore for your liking, you are going to enjoy this horror-comedy. Recognised as Hong Kong’s Dawn of the Dead, Bio Zombie is a story about two punks who are caught in a zombie apocalypse. The movie takes place in a locked-down shopping mall that is almost like a labyrinth where zombies and the main characters play hide and seek, and you are guaranteed to have sweaty palms as you watch it!
This one room-set movie is genius in its own way. Bio Zombie’s ridiculous plot line and low-budget special effects successfully earn it the recognition of a local cult-classic and is often revisited by cult fanatics. Due to a lack of maintenance budget, the shopping mall set located in North Point still remains pretty much intact, attracting fans to visit from time to time. If you are one of these people, our North Point – Nostalgia tour is the perfect photo opp for you, as we will be diving deep into the heart of this shopping mall!
5. The Imp 凶榜 (1981)
Fright factor: ★★★★★★★★★★
Please close this tab if you have a weak heart – this is not a drill.
The Imp is acclaimed as the most controversial horror classic in Hong Kong’s cinematic history. With a new baby on the way, Keung works as a security guard to support his family. Strange incidents start to occur at his workplace, killing his colleagues one-by-one in gruesome and unimaginable ways. A terrified Keung seeks advice from a feng shui master, but is warned that his unborn child is the cause of the chain of unfortunate events…
With references to Hollywood classics such as The Omen, The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, The Imp also explores the enigmatic energy of Taoist Mao Shan spell, which is something you certainly wouldn’t find in Western cinema. This macabre movie is Hong Kong’s very own interpretation of the topic of fate versus free will. While Keung hasn’t done anything evil, he is still punished just because. Of course, you will have to be a veteran grindhouse movie watcher in order to look past the gore and guts to draw such a conclusion.
Well, our selection certainly wouldn’t be enough to cover the entire horror genre in the Cantonese cinematic history, but it would be a good representation showcasing the diversity in Hong Kong’s horror movies – you are guaranteed to be kept on the edge of your seats! Make sure you drag a few friends with you on this marathon, unless you are brave enough to watch them on your own. So grab yourself some hot chocolate, sit back, and enjoy!