10 Best Asian Horror Films That Aren't From Japan or Korea
When it comes to scaring moviegoers with long-haired lady-ghouls, Hollywood simply cannot beat Asian cinema.
Specifically, it's usually the Japanese or South Korean horror movies that take the cake when it comes to turning disheveled hair and long sleeping gowns into horrific imagery.
They're so prevalent and popular that they often overshadow some of the underrated horror movies from other parts of Asia.
The Eye (2002)
When an Asian horror film gets a Hollywood remake starring certified A-listers like Jessica Alba, fans will know just how good it was back in its heyday. The Eye is a Singaporean horror movie about a violinist named Wong Kar Mun who was unfortunate enough to be blind for 18 years. Her misfortune turned around after a corneal transplant.
This surgery undid her blindness except it came with the added cost of seeing disasters before they happen along with some violent spirits. Of course, Wong did the obvious and sought out who her donor was only to find out more horrible truths about her new eyes.
The premise of this Hong Kong horror film is disgustingly simple: fetus dumplings-- human fetus dumplings. For most people, the combination of those two words is enough as a horror, no need for a film, but Dumplings goes above and beyond for the genre.
The movie is about a gynecologist, who performs abortions. Apparently, that's not enough for her since she decided to become a part-time chef as well but instead sourcing out her ingredients from her other work. She also believes that her dumplings have some sort of mystical benefits, like helping her seduce back her estranged husband.
The Child's Eye (2010)
The Child's Eye has a basic enough plot as far as horror movies go. It's a Hong Kong movie where six stranded friends book a stay at a hotel in Thailand. Little did they know, the hotel proprietor is shady and well, the hotel is pretty haunted by several ghosts.
The said hotel also has its own suspiciously-placed underground passageway that's not normal for the establishment. Pretty soon, half of all the travelers disappeared and only the women were left behind, as per tradition in most horror movies. Thankfully, despite falling into these overused tropes, The Child's Eye utilizes horror makeup and lighting (or lack thereof) masterfully.
Rigor Mortis (2013)
The 2013 Hong Kong film Rigor Mortis proves that vampires still have it when it comes to horror. It follows the suicide attempt of an actor who decides to end his life in a dark and worn-down apartment building. He got more than he bargained for.
Instead of committing suicide, a renewed sense of urgency was instilled unto him involuntarily after he finds out that the apartment building is infested with vampires, ghosts, and other supernatural beings. Thankfully, there were also vampire hunters residing in the said apartment complex and they provide a shining ray of hope, momentarily.
Under The Shadow (2016)
Iran and Iraq are technically in Asia so the Persian film Under the Shadow is very much qualified as Asian horror. Under the Shadow is also more than just that. It's a metaphor for civilian bombardments that have traumatized and ruined countless lives and families in the war-torn Middle-Eastern regions.
Under the Shadow explores these negative notions of humanity through the eyes of a mother and her child. It all began when Shideh's building was hit by a missile that is supposedly cursed by an evil Middle-Eastern spirit. After surviving and re-establishing her life with her daughter, the said spirit rears its ugly head which Shideh believes is out to possess her child.
Macabre is quite similar to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or even body horror films like Hostel. It's an Indonesian slasher flick that pits a hapless group of friends against a household of ruthless and psychotic killers. It starts like most American horror films where the said group is lured by an obviously shady person.
Of course, they all had to help it despite her rather suspicious excuse of getting robbed and living practically in the middle of nowhere. What follows after is an important lesson on why picking up hitchhikers and strangers is a bad idea no matter what country.
23:59 offers a nice change of scenery where, instead of letting loose a bunch of helpless civilians to be slaughtered and chased by supernatural beings, they used army men instead. This Singaporean-Malaysian film is also an interesting symbolism for hard army life.
One recruit turns up dead after a 24-kilometer hike. Soon after one death, lots of strange occurrences around their barracks started happening and all manners of ghosts that represent past transgressions or crimes also started haunting the cadets.
Alone is another Asian horror film that toys around with a peculiar premise usually ignored by most movies in its genre.
This Thai horror is about conjoined twins or what used to be the protagonist's conjoined twin. Having a conjoined parasitic twin isn't good for health. So the main character, Pim had hers removed after it died when both of them entered adulthood.
The grieving Pim then moves to another country as an escape from her tragic past but her twin, Ploy, had another plan. Turns out Pim's deceased twin doesn't want to let go and just had to follow her into her new country of residence where she now haunts her dear sister every waking moment.
Coming Soon (2008)
Some Asian horror movie ghosts are just too horrid that Hollywood just can't replicate their on-screen presence. Coming Soon's Shomba is one perfect example of that ghastly villain and she haunts movie theaters, of all places. That means Coming Soon's horror house playground is like a meta-commentary about the state of cinema.
Shomba's haunting began when two movie theater projectionists discover a hidden film roll that show's a woman's lynching-- it was Shomba herself. For some reason, they decided to show it to make money for their theater. This didn't sit well with Shomba, so she had to teach them all a lesson.
shutter 2004 ghost at the window
Likely the most popular Thai horror film worldwide, Shutter. Much like Coming Soon, it's also a Thai horror that plays with visual technology, in this case, cameras. Shutter is a film about a photographer's past sins or rather, dead ex, catching up to him after he betrayed her.
Like most horror movies as well, the main character is despicable and deserved to be haunted not only by his guilt but by the literal demon ghost of his ex-girlfriend. Surprisingly, it's not the shock horror or jump-scares that will stick to the viewers' memories but that one particular scene near the end where the culprit gets their comeuppance in the most terrifying way possible.