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New York Asian Film Festival celebrates Taiwan's Ghost Month

Taiwanese horror movies being showcased online for US audiences

The New York Asian Film Festival celebrates Taiwan's Ghost Month. (Ministry of Culture photo)

The New York Asian Film Festival celebrates Taiwan's Ghost Month. (Ministry of Culture photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) has launched its "Taiwan Ghost Month Series."

The film festival will screen over 60 films from Japan, South Korea, and other countries in Asia virtually in the United States. As it is currently Ghost Month in Taiwan, the Taipei Cultural Center (TCC) teamed up with the festival to launch the "Taiwan Ghost Month Series," which features seven Taiwanese thrillers to celebrate the month of terror, according to the organizer.

The program kicked off with "Detention," a psychological horror film adapted from a video game and directed by John Hsu (徐漢強). "Detention" looks back at the White Terror period of Taiwan's history when thousands were executed. The film won five awards at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards.

The comedy "Get the Hell Out" examines the nation's political dysfunction in a hilarious way. The story features a zombie attack on the legislature, and a young female politician and martial arts may be all that can save the day.

"The Tag-Along" draws inspiration from an eerie video that went viral online, with a ghastly little girl in a red dress who may be the source of misery and mysterious disappearances.

NYAFF Executive Director Samuel Jamier stated that Asian movies have helped forge the gold standard of horror, as Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and Hong Kong boast some of the most frightening films in the history of cinema.

"While Taiwan seems to have flown under the radar, its horror films, with their pervasively sinister atmospherics, not to mention a singular vision of vengeful ghosts, have proven to be a major force to be reckoned with in the past few years," said Jamier.

The TCC pointed out that this series showcases a constellation of domestic box-office hits from recent years that have been critically praised for incorporating Taiwanese folklore, Chinese mythology, contemporary social issues, and historical tragedies into their stories.

The TCC noted that the series also reflects a surge of Taiwanese genre films in recent years, among which horror and ghost movies are particularly flourishing.

"Mon Mon Mon Monsters!," "The Rope Curse," "Silk," and "The Heirloom," round out the list. The program began on Monday (Aug. 23) and will run through next Wednesday (Sept. 1).