This being the seventh lunar month when ‘hungry ghosts’ roam the earth, our TV stations organise a fright fest as is their custom. Last week I saw I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. (Jennifer Love Hewitt was so young and thin then!) Last night I watched a Korean horror movie, Ghost Train. (I never watch horror movies at the cinema as I don’t believe in paying to get scared out of my wits.) Towards the end of the movie, one of the ghosts – a victim of a train crash – appeared in all its gory bloody countenance. She emerged from a pool of blood and crawled across the heroine who was lying prone on the floor. That was when it hit me.
Korean ghosts are like Japanese ghosts. They like to crawl. I saw a Japanese ghost crawling down the stairs like a blanched scorpion – if I’m not mistaken it was in the film Ju-On. That got me thinking about those Chinese vampire shows – they’re always sticking out their hands and jumping around comically. Reminds me of Energizer bunny, but instead of running around like that rabbit, Chinese vamps are hopping around. I’d like to suggest that the competitors of Energizer shoot an advertisement using a bunch of Chinese vampires. Of course the vampire which out-jumps the rest will be the vampire sporting the advertised battery.
Malay ghosts are flyers. They’re better than trapeze artists. For instance, the pontianak can fly from tree to tree. Of course flying isn’t restricted to Malays. This form of ‘transportation’ is also favoured by other races like the Chinese, English and others.
What about American ghosts? They walk about like normal folks. Sixth Sense comes to mind.
Korean and Japanese crawlers, Chinese jumpers, Malay flyers, American walkers… these are just based on the few horror films I’ve watched. Horror fans may disagree. Or they may have an even longer list to share. Thais, Filipinos, Indians etc. Speaking of Indians, it just struck me that I’ve never seen an Indian horror movie before. I do remember Shah Rukh Khan playing a ghost in a movie and if memory serves me right, it didn’t do too well at the box office. The Indian audience loves the standard Bollywood fare and ghosts just don’t cut it at all for them, even when played by King Khan. (Googled the movie. Paheli was more a love story than anything else.)