According to my note, about 20 or 41% of Indonesian films released on 2007 could be categorized as horrors. The trend is then continuing until mid 2008. In this month, we are screening Sumpah Pocong (the translation could be “oath taken while dressed in a cadaver’s shroud”), Pulau Hantu 2 (could be “ghost island”) and Hantu Perawan Jeruk Purut (could be “virgin ghost of citrus fruit”, don’t laugh!).
Apparently, Indonesian film industry still considered this genre as super talisman for the selling. The talisman recently has been worth, indeed. Moreover, there was a bonus to dearest filmmaker: Making horror movies is always cheaper than, for example, drama.
Let’s take a look two films from the same director: Hanung Bramantyo, the best Indonesian director 2005 and 2007. On year 2007, Get Married‘s budget was about 4.5 billions Indonesian Rupiah, whilst Legend of Sundel Bolong cost 2.5 billions only. Whereas Hanung once said, Legend of Sundel Bolong as a horror movie was an expensive one.
How come they kept the low budget on supernatural horror movie? One of reasons, this genre did not require any big star. Just put the newbies on and amazingly, the tickets sold out yet.
Horror movies grew up rapidly in Indonesia because moviegoers here so enjoyed them. We would love to be scared off. Nothing is wrong with that. A spectator watched action movie for being astonished and felt like gasp, watched comedy for getting huge laugh. And watched horror, what else, for being scared! Crystal clear.
But, excessive things have it own side effect, don’t they? While other people had never problem with walking everywhere he/she likes and works overtime until midnight, we, the Indonesian? Taking one foot step away, we will anxious. Beginning to feel how if in that corner Miss Sundel Bolong could suddenly shows up. Or maybe Mr. Genderuwo, Pocong, Hantu Jeruk Purut, Kuntilanak, Siluman Babi, Leak, Suster Ngesot, Nyi Loro Kidul … gee! So many supernatural beings that Indonesian citizen must afraid of!
Yes, those supernatural beings do exist, if you ask me. Just, I wonder why our folks are willing to waste their time just for something not supposed to be human business.
Take a look closer here, lottery fortune teller still in demand, we also still believe in tarot, oracle service via SMS, etc. Even some of youngster who represented modern logic generation depend on astrology for living their life (if not, why they keep on expecting horoscope rubric in youth/cosmopolitan medias?).
Some said our society is spiritual (precisely: to much believe). This is a question of culture. So, the question is: How will Indonesian movies sterile from mystical-horror genre? I hope I am wrong, but maybe until 10 years from, now this question is still relevant.