This paper follows the development of the special connection between Thai cinema and Thai popular music from the 1920s onward. The main argument is that the two dominant musical styles of luk krung and luk thung have become representative of different social groups within Thailand and that this diversification can also be found in Thai cinema. Luk thung, identified with the rural poor, was mostly rejected by producers and audience during the 1950s and 1960s. Only from the 1970s onward did a cinematic style that represented this sector of Thai society and culture develop. In this sense, one can view Thai cinema as an archive of Thai popular music.
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.