Spiritus ex machina : spectral technologies in Asian horror film

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Assumption University. Graduate School of English
Asian Journal of Literature, Culture and Society 3, 2 (October 2009), 168-184
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Difficult as it may be to talk about a unified category of "Asian Horror Film," this article originates from an observation that in a great majority of Asian horror films (exemplified in this research by japanese, South Korean, Hong Kong, Chinese, Thai, Taiwanese, Singaporean and Vietnamese films) the horror film is almost equivalent with the "ghost" film. At the same time, it is relatively easy to notice that the celluloid representations of Asian spirits frequently do not comply with the Hollywood-established patterns, easily recognisable to a Western horror fan. This, to a certain extent can be said to reflect local religious beliefs, customs and traditions, as well as numerous Eastern aesthetic and philosophical values. Recently, however, many Asian horror films seem to convey a message that the spiritual world is in need of a technological upgrade. This, in turn, has a direct effect on the popular understanding and representation of the supernatural, as observed in everyday life in the said Asian cultures, and the idea of "the ghost" evolves. This paper examines the notion of spiritual technologies, understood in a twofold manner. On the one hand, based on an analysis of a number of contemporary East Asian and South East Asian horror films, the discussion will focus on the ways modern technologies, particularly visual and media technologies, have contributed to a shift in understanding the concept of the ghost. On the other hand, this paper will focus in more detail on the case of Thai horror cinema, where ghosts have become a narrative technique and ghost stories seem to have contributed to the development of cinematic technologies in general.
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In English ; only abstract in English.
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