Asian Ghost Film vs. Western Horror Movie: Feng Shui


In this essay I will examine the question to what extent the Philippine production Feng Shui (Roño, 2004) is a horror film according to the well-established (Western) definitions of the genre. This seems to be a pertinent question as many Filipino horror films are based on ghost stories and folklore from the archipelago, that are often a lived reality and believed in by many people in the Philippines. The fact that Feng Shui as well as other horror films from Southeast Asia are produced for an audience that actually believes in ghosts seems to me to be very relevant for the analysis of these films. I will argue that Feng Shui shares a good number of traits with other Asian ghost films, but that it also features “the return of the repressed” that according to the late film critic Robin Wood is one of the defining features of Western horror movies.