Shiok! Halloween Special: An Introduction to Singapore’s Horror Movies

This Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, Spookfest, Night of the Dead or Hallowe’en, is not just a day where either gender get to dress up naughtily in public without being judged…mainly yes, but not entirely. Jokes aside, this festival has crossed borders and boundaries to become a universal celebration across continents, and definitely so in Singapore. In fact, there are events dedicated specially to “celebrate” this occasion! Check them out here –

Besides event vendors spinning money from scaring people, movie producers are on this business bandwagon too. Turns out there are many people in the world who will pay to be spooked…Singaporeans included! Which is why in recent years, there has been an almost diarrhoea-like production of scary movies year after year in the region and in our local theatres! Coming in various forms, let us introduce these #madeinSG movies with real horror and some that are just horrible.

The Eye (2002)

One of the most commercially successful productions from Singapore (to be accurate it was a joint-production between Singapore and Hong Kong), so successful that it SPAWNED 2 The Eye sequels, and 3 remakes including one in Hollywood starring Jessica Alba!

Watch this movie to see Malaysia’ Angelica Lee in one of her breakout movies, and also to catch our very own Edmund Chen and Pierre Png!

Img from The Eye Movie credit to Beyond Hollywood

Img credit to Beyond Hollywood

Spooler Falert (Spook factor + Spoiler Alert): The main character is a blind musician (the fact that she was a musician is almost neglible to the storyline), receives a cornea transplant but guess what? The eye donor had committed suicide because she was able to see ghosts and now the main character herself can see ghosts! Eventually though she loses her sight again…?

The Maid (2005)

Singapore horror movie the maid

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Singapore movie about a domestic helper from small village in Philippines that wins multiple awards. Sound familiar? No…it is not IloIlo! Before IloIlo there was another Singaporean movie based on a domestic helper from Philippines working for a Singapore family which told of the Chinese Ghost Month in Singapore and the supernatural forces surrounding it.

The Maid holds the box office record in Singapore for the horror genre, making close to a million dollars on its opening weekend! It also won a Best Asian Film of the Year Award.

Spooler Falert: The titular character comes to Singapore to work for a family who owns a Chinese Opera only to discover that she was actually brought to the country to be sacrificed and be a ghost bride to the son! We bet she never dreamed of coming to Singapore to marry the son…especially someone who is a ghost!

Ghost Child (2013)

This movie was just recently released last year, and the storyline revolves around a Toyol, also known as Gui Kia in Hokkien. The title Ghost Child is probably a result of direct translation in this case. Toyols are a mythical infant or child-like spirit popular within Southeast Asian superstitious beliefs.

This movie is in fact one of Singapore’s most famous acting sons, Chen Hanwei’s, first feature-length film. He has joked before that the producer convinced him to star in the movie in spite of his busy schedule with a plate of “cheap” chicken rice. That must have been one helluva ji fan we say!

Ghost Child starring Chen Hanwei and Carmen Soo

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Spooler Falert: When Chen Hanwei remarries, a lot of bad things start to happen inexplicably. Chen Hanwei’s screen daughter from the first marriage, Jayley Woo, is the ghost buster here and she suspects at first her deceased mother, then her step-mom…but it was actually the gui kia all along!

Ghost on Air (2012)

Real life to reel life. How apt is it for one of Singapore’s most celebrated radio personalities, Dennis Chew, to star in a homegrown movie as, you guessed it, a radio DJ! That should make the role a piece of cake wouldn’t it, since he was basically playing himself?

Ghost on Air Dennis Chew Img credit

Img credit

Another notable cast starring in this movie was Eunice Olsen, a former Miss Singapore Universe and also Nominated Member of Parliament! Her role in the movie was a DJ who became more popular than Dennis Chew which started a rivalry between them.

Spooler Falert: In a bid to win the popularity contest against Eunice Olsen, Dennis Chew was inspired to produce a radio show that shared the most terrifying horror stories about his deceased girlfriend on air, and what brought in the listeners was that all of stories seemed so real. Little does Dennis Chew know that they were actually true…

Where Got Ghosts (2009)

Where Got Ghost movie poster

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Where Got Ghosts is actually 3 horror tales made into 1 movie. Each of the horror tales are also full of local humour (clear to see from the title) resulting in the movie being classified as a HORROMEDY (horror-comedy). The 3 short tales are Roadside Got Ghost, Forest Got Ghost and House Got Ghost.

This film is Singapore’s most successful movie director Jack Neo’s first attempt at the horror genre, but his trademark local humour style is apparent for fans of his movies. He himself co-wrote the script, and stars in the movie as well, alongside long-time “sidekicks” Mark Lee and Henry Thia.

Spooler Falert: Roadside Ghost Ghost covers some of the superstitions we hear about since young regarding the Hungry Ghost Festival, Forest Got Ghost plays on all Singaporean men’s fear of the supernatural with a tale of a haunted army reservist camp and House Got Ghost is the unofficial sequel to Money No Enough 2 featuring the 3 brothers and their mother, albeit with the latter now deceased.

The Ghosts Must Be Crazy (2011)

Another movie produced by Jack Neo follows closely in the footsteps of Where Got Ghosts as it comprises of 2 separate horror-comedy stories, and also stars many cast of Where Got Ghosts (as do ALL Jack Neo’s movies). The 2 horror tales are Ghost Bride and The Day Off.

Mark Lee marks (pun intended) his directorial debut with this film alongside old-timer Boris Boo. How do you think it was for Henry Thia in front of the camera with his long-time pal behind it?

Spooler Falert: The show-stopper and scene-stealer has got to be Mark Lee cross-dressing and playing (wait-for-it) Henry Thia’s girlfriend and soon-to-be bride! They deserve a Best On-Screen Couple Award without a doubt!

Mark Lee as female ghost bride

Img credit user camoguysg

Greedy Ghost (2012)

Inspired by 2 previous (relative) successes, Greedy Ghost is the 3rd movie in the local Horromedy series and part of the local ghost movie franchise alongside the 2 abovementioned in this list. Will there be more to come???

As with The Ghosts Must be Crazy, Mark Lee marks another debut here – his Producer debut, by being the Executive Producer of this film. He does not appear in the movie, but he does lends his voice to a “Book Spirit” in the show. Taiwan’s famous comedian, Kang Kang stars in this movie alongside Henry Thia.

Greedy Ghost Henry Thia Kang Kang

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Spooler Falert: Funeral Palour worker wants to strike it rich and dabbles with the supernatural…no surprises when disastrous effects take place as a result! Moral of the story is…don’t be a greedy ghost!

Have you watched any of the above movies? If you haven’t, rent one of them to spook yourself (and/or laugh) this Halloween!

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