A Ghostly Feminine Melancholy: Representing Decay and Experiencing Loss in Thai Horror Films


By analysing significant Thai horror films from 1999—the year Nonzee Nimitbut’s emblematic Nang Nak was released—to 2010, this essay focuses on the presence and representation of female ghosts and undead spirits from traditional Thai myths in contemporary Thai cinema. More precisely, this essay highlights traditional female characters as mediators between horror and love, and fear and mourning, instead of as traditionally frightening entities. This distinction was made possible after the Thai “New Wave.” As ancestral mirror of inner fears and meaningful images reflecting societal concerns, female spirits in contemporary Thai cinema become the emblem of a more complex “monstrous femininity,” merging fear with melancholy, and an irreparable sense of loss with reflections on the ephemeral.