Presentation on theme: "There are many themes and motifs that can be found within Asian horror films. This presentation will focus on perhaps the most predominant feature of."— Presentation transcript:
There are many themes and motifs that can be found within Asian horror films. This presentation will focus on perhaps the most predominant feature of Asian Horror films- spirits and ghosts. Within many Asian cultures there is a rich background of folklore, oral tales and religious literature about spirits and ghosts. Whilst these do not have to be understood in order to enjoy the horror films they do provide an interesting background to the plots. The cultural motifs found within such horror films often include, to some extent, Buddhist outlooks and teachings.
Rebirth can take a number of different forms. In Buddhist thought there are 5 or 6 rebirth destinations (gatis). These are as a god (deva), demi-god (or asura which do not feature in all lists), human, animal, ghost and hell being. Rebirth as a ghost is not desirable and is the result of bad karma. In some Buddhist cultures it is understood that one can become a ghost if they have a bad death. That is, if one dies in a violent or untimely manner. These ghosts are often seen as dangerous and there are rituals and festivals in which the living can placate ghosts by feeding and clothing them.
Spirits are found within the Buddhist cosmological system. This can be in the form of asuras and hungry ghosts (peta). Buddhist ideas about spirits can differ form culture to culture. This is because many ideas about the nature of spirits are assimilated into Buddhist thought and practice from pre-existing notions found within specific cultures. An example of this is the ancestor worship that can be found in Laos and Chinese forms of Buddhism.
Offerings have been made to the deceased in the Boun Khau Salak festival in Laos (2007). The ritual is performed by Buddhists in order to provide for ancestors and ghosts.
Chihiro and her family are on their way to their new house in the suburbs when her father decides to take a shortcut along a lonely-looking dirt road. After getting out of the car and walking along a path for a while, they discover an open-air restaurant filled with food but with no workers or customers present. Mom and Dad don't hesitate to sit down and dig in, but Chihiro senses danger and refuses. As night falls, she is terrified to see the area fill with faceless spirits, but when she runs to find her parents, she discovers that they have been turned into pigs. She is found by a mysterious boy named Haku, who promises to help her. He gets her a job working in a nearby building, which turns out to be a bathhouse for the thousands of Japan's gods and spirits. Though the work is hard and the people strange, she does as well as she can. Her parents, however, are still waiting in the hotel's stockyard...
Trailer for Spirited AwayTrailer Directed by Hayao Miyazaki The film touches on Buddhist themes such as feeding ghosts, attachment and greed.
Belief in ghosts and spirits is not exclusive to Japanese Buddhism. This image is of food that has been left for ghosts in Chengtian monastery in China as part of the ghost month ritual that took place in 2008.
Inspired by a true Thai ritual of lying in coffins to get rid of bad luck and prolong life, The Coffin is a supernatural thriller about a young man and a young woman who decide to go through the ritual in Thailand. Chris, a claustrophobic architect does it in the hope of saving his fiancée who's dying of terminal cancer. Sue, a nutritionist visiting Thailand from Hong Kong does it to save her own life after being diagnosed with a lethal brain tumor - one week before her wedding. After the ritual, Chris and Sue experience what appear to be miracles in their respective lives. But soon, they find themselves confronted by a series of bizarre and terrifying incidents. With the help of a professor specializing in paranormal cases associated with the ritual, they set out to exorcise the ghosts that haunt them, and attempt to reverse the wheel of karma.
Trailer for The CoffinTrailer Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham Performing short versions of death rituals for the living is an old practice in Thailand which has recently seen a revival. People believe that participating in these rituals will allow them to shed bad luck (khro) or to trick spirits that may have invaded their bodies. Going through the rituals that Buddhist monks conduct during funeral ceremonies is believed to offer a new start in life, a rebirth while still alive. During these rituals people lay down, either on the floor or in a real coffin, and hold a bunch of flowers. They are then covered with a white or red cloth and the monks chant a short text usually recited during funerals and bone collections. Some temples offer this service on a rather commercial basis and hundreds of people queue to be ‘cleansed’ in this way for a small fee. A short clip of the ritual can be found herehere A gallery of pictures and a detailed account of the ritual can be found here here
A mass coffin ritual taking place in Wat Phammanee in Thailand 2008.
Based on an Thai legend the film follows the fate of a young family. In rural Thailand Mek leaves his pregnant wife Nak at home whilst he goes to fight in the Siemese- Vietnamese War. He returns home to his wife and child. Things however are not as they seem. Mek’s neighbours are uneasy and try to warn him that something is wrong. Those who attempt to warn Mek are killed. Mek must uncover the truth about what happened to his wife and child whilst he was at war.
Trailer for Nang NakTrailer Full film Directed by Nonzee Nimibutr In many Asian cultures the most dangerous type of ghost is that of a pregnant woman/ woman who died in childbirth. The film looks at the relationship between Buddhism and ghosts. The Buddhist monk is the only person who can control Nak’s ghost and stop her from tormenting and killing the locals. At the end of the film Mak becomes a Buddhist monk himself.
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