Box Office Hits Play On the Dread Factor
Creepy tales pervade Indonesian culture. From ghost stories children whisper to each other to disturbing urban legends professionals share during lunch breaks, there’s no end to the scary stories.
From that perspective, it is hardly surprising that the Indonesia’s movie theaters are filled with films about ghosts. While horror movies have always been popular there, lately they have been taking over the box office.
Seven of the top 10 Indonesian films from the first quarter of this year were horror flicks. “Arwah Goyang Karawang” (“Dancing Karawang Ghost”) sits at the top of that list with more than 700,000 tickets sold, followed by “Pocong Ngesot” (“The Crawling Ghost”), “Kalung Jelangkung” (“Jelangkung Necklace”), “Pelukan Janda Hantu Berondong” (“In the Arms of the Teen Ghost’s Widow”), “Dedemit Gunung Kidul” (“The Ghost of Mount Kidul”), “Jenglot Pantai Selatan” (“The Ghost of the South Beach”) and “13 Cara Memanggil Setan” (“13 Ways to Call Satan”). All of them managed to sell more than 200,000 tickets.
The English translations of these titles are lacking, because the ghosts in each of the films are uniquely Indonesian. The pocong, for example, is known as the shrouded ghost because it is still tightly wrapped in the traditional white cloth people are buried in. The kuntilanak is a long-haired female ghost, while jelangkung is a game used to call upon evil spirits.