Thai Horror Film in Malaysia: Urbanization, Cultural Proximity and a Southeast Asian Model


This article examines Thai horror films as the most frequent and visible representation of Thai cultural products in Malaysia. It outlines the rise of Thai horror cinema internationally and its cultivation of a pan-Asian horrific image of urbanization appropriate to particular Malaysian viewers. Through a comparison with Malaysian horror film, it then proposes a degree of “cultural proximity” between the horrific depictions of these two Southeast Asian industries which point to a particularly Southeast Asian brand of the horror film. Despite such similarity however, it also indicates that in the changing and problematic context of contemporary Malaysia, the ‘trauma’ that is given voice in these Thai films can potentially offer the new urban consumer an alternative depiction of and engagement with Southeast Asian modernity that is not addressed in Malaysian horror.