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Bollywood and Middle Eastern Horror?


Under the Shadow

Welcome aboard all our new visitors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar! (Wow… Myanmar?) The Scariest Things would like to know if there’s anything good and scary from your region.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at NightA quirk in The Scariest Things Facebook marketing push has been a large influx of new visitors from Southern Asia and the Middle East, and we just wanted to put a shout out that we appreciate your presence here!  For Western audiences, this region is somewhat a big unknown relative to what horror movies are being produced, and what you enjoy watching.  Recently, there have been a couple of great Iranian horror movies, (and someday, soon, hopefully, we’ll get some Iranian viewers…)  in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) and Under the Shadow (2016), two hugely impressive films by Persian filmmakers.  I have also been trying to figure out how to find Zar (2017), another Iranian film that was lauded from the film festival circuit last year.  Turkey has recently given us a very interesting horror film in Can Evrenol’s rather gonzo Baskin (2015). So, there is good horror coming out of the Middle East, and that has to be considered a good thing, even if these are in the case of the Iranian films, ex-patriates making them, but they have found an audience in the west.  The strict conservatism in much of the Arab world means that we have to treasure the horror gems that do make their way out of the region.  The curious thing is… where is the great Indian horror movie?  I’m sure they are out there, they just haven’t been properly promoted in America.

It isn’t lost that the second largest film production industry after Hollywood is Bollywood.  That means there MUST be some great genre fare coming out of India, but in the United States, we are largely unaware of what may be.  Bollywood can’t all be romantic musical comedies, right?  So, I will ask our audience… what’s the best horror film from your region?  Is there something that you think we should review?  Please note that it will have to be available streaming off of one of the major platforms, but let us know!  Robert (ZED) is particularly fond of non-English horror films, so I think you will have a couple of advocates if you point us in the right direction.

It seems as if there are a number of ghost stories and haunting type of films available from Bollywood, but I wouldn’t know where to start.  It doesn’t seem as if science fiction or monster based horror is very prevalent either.  I would love it if there is a great movie about Kali!  No diety is as imposing and scary as her, and I’m really hoping that there’s a film that captures her in all her brutal glory.  You think Satan is spooky?  Kali has a necklace of human heads!  C’mon! The best I could find is the famous Kali statue who fights Sinbad in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), in all that Harryhausen greatness. Granted, having a Sinbad portrayed by the decidedly non-Arabian John Phillip Law is a bit of problematic whitewashing in this day and age… but that animated Kali statue?  That mesmerized me when I was a kid, so awesome. So… if you know of any good Kali films, let me know.  And if not, perhaps the time is right to make one!

Of course, one of the first things I checked for Indian horror movie reference was the Oracle known as Google.  It sounds like Maya (2015), Phoonk (2008), Raaz (2002), Bhoot (2003), and 1920 (2008) seem to be good places to start.  I have no idea how these films stack up against their western (or eastern!) kin.  To be honest, I’m not even sure how prominent censorship is in Indian films.  What is allowable?  Are Bollywood films allowed to show much blood and guts?  Has Bollywood horror gotten serious like Hollywood horror recently done?  Or is it considered cheesy and tawdry fare when compared with the rest of what Bollywood has to offer?

However you came to find us here at The Scariest Things, we certainly appreciate it.  In recognition of all of our new viewers, the least we could do is to go find horror movies from your part of the globe and give them a look-see.  We’re taking requests here at the Scariest Things!

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