Pocong Horror

Jul 3rd, 2008, in IM Posts, by

The horror of pocong films, the Indonesian movie industry's obsession with ghosts.

The Indonesian film industry has tried many different genres, from comedy to religious to drama to teen romances, but currently have decided that horror films are their best bet to draw in audiences, says one Tasha Hadifitri. This is not entirely a problem by itself, the appalling standard of the films is however.

The main point of the films, says Tasha, is just to show as much gore and violence as possible, without bothering whether the story makes sense, and the producers keep re-using the same figures of horror in each film, like the dreaded hopping/floating pocong ghost, or the kuntilanak vampire.

Pocong
A Pocong.

Tasha goes on to complain that such films make the people who watch them, well, stupid, too inclined to believe in mysticism, and over-fearful. People even try to act out scenes they've watched, get in touch with spirits, or visit dukun, or shaman.

The "other world" does exist, she says, but it is better if that world and this world keep their distance from each other, the beings in either world each have their own purpose and they should not disturb one another. [1]

Here are some samples of recent pocong fare:


Largely incoherent trailer for "40 Hari Bangkitnya Pocong".


Lots of kissing in this one, "Tali Pocong Perawan".


32 Comments on “Pocong Horror”

Pages: [1] 2 »

  1. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    July 3rd, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I’ve only got one thing to say:

    Hidup Suzanna

  2. avatar ultratupai says:
    July 3rd, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Ya, there is plenty to be scared of in Indonesia.

    The “other world” does exist, she says, but it is better if that world and this world keep their distance from each other, the beings in either world each have their own purpose and they should not disturb one another.

    I overheard someone say that very same thing at Taman Anggrek.

  3. avatar timdog says:
    July 3rd, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    On a more serious note… hahahaha… why has indonesia not – as far as I know – managed to produce any classy, effective, genuinely scary horror movies? Japan and Korea do; Thailand does. Much of the best “Asian horror” is not high-budget – in terms of production costs and technology there is no reason why Indonesia couldn’t turn out something like “Shutter”, so why the hell is an endless torrent of squealing teenies and f”%$&^$n’ pocongs all we get?

  4. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    July 4th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Timdog,

    How dare you ! How dare you belittle that goddess, that Queen of Scream, Indonesia’s greatest ever movie actress.

    Suzanna.

    My friend, Suzanna is scarier than Hilary Clinton on crack ! If you were before me, I’d engage you in fisticuffs !!

  5. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    July 4th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    P.S.

    Also, yes, it’s true, some recent efforts have sucked beyond belief. But there have been some decent horror flicks

    Passing Grade:

    Kuntilanak 1 & 2 – nice use of Indonesian demon imagery with the white-haired kuntilanak.

    Hantu – shameless ripoff of the Blair Witch project, but it works.

    Suster Ngesot – Mike Lewis’s death scene in the graveyard is one of the funniest things I’ve seen for a while.

    Dendam Suster Ngesot: whilst the pacing of the film is patchy, and some of the characterization weak, Wulan Guritno carries this film (completely unconnected to Suster Ngesot). Guritno’s spooky presence echoes the atmospherics of the mist-strewn tea plantations.

    Hantu Jeruk Perut: Good graveyard shots, perhaps overuse of the old spotlight-behind-a-tree to create scary X-file beams of light in the woods effect.

    Sundel Bolong: political undertones of the 60s in this remake of the classic staring the goddess Suzanna.

    Failing Grades:

    Terowongan Casablanca
    Hantu Jembatan Ancol
    Tusuk Jelankung (a 2-hour series of movie clips stiched together).
    Pocong 2 (sorry Ringo).

  6. avatar timdog says:
    July 5th, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Achmad – I will always defer to your cultural wisdom, and I certainly have not seen all of the films that you list (god help me, no!). But I’ve seen the Kuntilanaks; I didn’t rate them. I’ve seen Hantu Jeruk Perut… I was not particularly scared I must say…
    Still, I live in hope for a truly international quality Indonesian horror…

  7. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    July 6th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Timdog,

    They’re all ironic, post-modern comedies !

  8. avatar janma says:
    July 6th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    They’re all ironic, post-modern comedies !

    oh yeah, like indonesia has ‘ironic post modern comedies’….! that’s what Indonesians call quality drama tv…. it’s what anyone with taste, intelligence and an unfortunate love for Indonesia calls ‘ironic post modern comedies’.

  9. avatar Farah says:
    July 6th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    … horror movies..
    western ghost, you would see the “human shape” like in zombie, dracula.. they are all still human shape.. i am not that scare to see western movies too actually. Good in special effect, but still the ghost not so scary. I think house on haunted hills and 13th ghost are on my 10 ten fave dvd’s.
    But then, indonesian movie, like tusuk jelangkung, does made me had goosebumps while watching it. Also thai movie.. they were scary too.. i think because its involving in myth, lagend and sometimes child bedtime story and added with “true story” things (whether its true or not).
    Even though it had a lame special effect etc (hey, i am not from movie industry !), but better than watching some sinetron “horrors” !!

  10. avatar Lairedion says:
    July 6th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Horror movies are meant to make you laugh, not to scare you off. Keeping that in mind I think some of the Indo horror movies are quite enjoyable to watch.

  11. avatar tomaculum says:
    July 7th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I don’t understand my former sisters and brothers in Indonesia.
    Why still looking for an extra, virtual horror?
    Isn’t living in Indonesia enough thrill? FPI, ABB, corruptible police and public official, the army, intolerance, Mai 1998 (and a “repetition” of it) etc,etc. And not to forgett: travelling with bus (and with airplane or train too …, oh my …).
    There are enough material for some really thrilling horror shows.

  12. avatar Farah says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 7:31 am

    @ tomaculum

    oh.. yes.. you are right.. we could see some horrors in our daily life here in Indonesia…

  13. avatar Cukurungan says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I don’t understand my former sisters and brothers in Indonesia.
    Why still looking for an extra, virtual horror?
    Isn’t living in Indonesia enough thrill? FPI, ABB, corruptible police and public official, the army, intolerance, Mai 1998 (and a “repetition” of it) etc,etc. And not to forgett: travelling with bus (and with airplane or train too …, oh my …).
    There are enough material for some really thrilling horror shows.

    Brother we do not call that as horror but “Art of Life” sometime we forgot with God but by riding KOPAJA or MIKROLET we never forgot with GOD anymore.

  14. avatar tomaculum says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Riding a Kopaja or Mikrolet I wouldn’t think of God but about the question whether my life assurance is good enough (and whether the person sitting by me is a pickpocket or a Kapak merah – hijacker).

  15. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Don’t spend your money on horror movies. Just come to Kuta and spend some time in Poppies Lane or Double Six in the early hours. You will wonder if this is Indonesia or Zombinesia.

  16. avatar C-O-T says:
    July 10th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Indeed, Indonesia has plenty of scary things. However, the movie industry in Indonesia does not have to keep producing this kind of stupid movies. What do they expect anyway? Are they trying to make the present generation believe in such things as Pocong, Kuntilanak or Gondoruwo. It is stupid.

  17. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    July 10th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    What Janma dearest, are you saying…Leyak don’t exist ??

  18. avatar Steamd Abalone says:
    July 11th, 2008 at 5:04 am

    The custom of wrapping corpses in ‘that’ manner came from M East

    I wonder why these ‘pocong’ thingie doesn’t exist in where it came from ?

  19. avatar Farah says:
    July 12th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    @ Dewa
    hehehe.. you right about poppies lane zombies :D they’re scary…

    @ steamed abalone
    in indonesia moslem also buried that way too.

  20. avatar timdog says:
    July 12th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    @Steamd Abalone – because Indonesians love ghosts and have co-opted plenty of non-Indonesian-origin ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties into their own creepy pantheon…

    The loosely Islamic origin of the Pocong is a fine example of this: throughout Indonesian cultures, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu or “other” (particularly the “others” actually) death, funeral rites and graves are given tremendous importance. Throughout the country you will find the idea that if someone’s funeral or burial is not carried out correctly according to the strict rules, then their spirit will prove malicious and dangerous. This is clearly an “indigenous” Indonesian idea, maintained in some form amongst Indonesian Muslims, namely: POCONG!!!!!! AAIIIIIEEE!!!!

    @everyone – I will stop now, immediately (I think I showed remarkable restraint by producing only 100 words on that ;-) )

  21. avatar Irman says:
    July 13th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Pocong horror
    hmm..its story should be telling us about how pocong suddenly appears at night and punish those corrupt official..at least it could remind those corrupt civil servant to stop corruption..haha i really wanna see that

  22. avatar Purba Negoro says:
    July 14th, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Pocong:
    the real reason behind such crappy Indonesian films:
    They are economically lucrative.

    Chinese and Indian financiers of films seek definite returns on investments, and seek to invest as little as possible for most return- sensible business strategy.

    This translates to many blatant rip offs of Western scripts, clone after clone of rom-coms (very cheap- cost circa 2 billion rupiah- expected ROI- 25%).

    My work colleague invested in that dreadful film about the gigolo- Quicky Express or something.
    Expect to see more “Sex sells” nonsense- this is the rediscovered gimmick (who remembers the omni-present camel-toe 1980′s semi-blue movie Indonesian films?)

    As Mr Yun- a Jakarta film producer stated, “Indonesians want to earn a crown [international awards and recorgnitions- ie Opera Jawa] but we Chinese and also Indians want to make money”

    so Indonesian film is two streams- art film (almost entirely pribumi) and commercial mass-release (Indian and Chinese- few pribumi).

    The sad fact is many pribumi are simply disinterested in fine art cinema- and seek stupid, simplistic escapist nonsense.

    Read “Shadows on the Silver Screen” by Salim Said for a very preceptive insight into Indonesian film.

  23. avatar Ryan Midnight says:
    July 26th, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I’m a huge fan of Indonesian horror films! Mystics In Bali is one of my favorite films.

  24. avatar zecky says:
    August 9th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    The sad fact is many pribumi are simply disinterested in fine art cinema- and seek stupid, simplistic escapist nonsense.

    Well let’s face it – Indonesian society isn’t exactly the richest in the world, so what’s wrong with some escapism? Even if it is bad quality?

    Plus I haven’t watched any Indonesian horror, but some of the pocong videos on YouTube are scary as hell – I find 2 minutes of them much scarier than 2 hours of some of the trashy Hollywood slasher flicks.

  25. avatar janma says:
    August 13th, 2008 at 11:49 am

    What Janma dearest, are you saying…Leyak don’t exist ??

    I don’t know where I said that leyak don’t exist???? what gave you that Idea? yeah, they exist, but I don’t believe in Pocongs.

  26. avatar Zekky says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Why are so many far-Eastern horrors similar? Indonesian, Philipino, Japanese, Korean… they all seem to feature dead women with white robes and long messy black hair.

  27. avatar diego says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 5:50 am

    What Janma dearest, are you saying…Leyak don’t exist ??

    I don’t know where I said that leyak don’t exist???? what gave you that Idea? yeah, they exist, but I don’t believe in Pocongs.

    As a balinese of course I’ve heard lots of stories about leyak. It’s fairly common among big family members to accuse one another of “capable of turning him/herself into leak” (nge-leak). But, personally, I’ve never seen any. I’m just wondering, have you ever seen leak, Janma? I mean, can bules see such things? A poco…??? :D

  28. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Pak Purba Yth.,

    As a Pendekar Bangsa I am disappointed you’d describe our great films as “crap,” — consider:

    Hantu Jembatan Ancol
    Hantu Ambulans
    Hantu
    Hantu Setasiun Kereta Api Manggarai
    Pocong, 2 & 3
    Suster Ngestot
    Dendam Suster Ngestot
    Kuntilanak 1 -3
    Beranak Dalam Kubur —

    To name but a few. The cinematic tension, rich visual tapestries and insight into the human condition is unparalelled, except perhaps on the online musings of Anak Alang B.

    Merdeka, Kawan.

  29. avatar tomaculum says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Don’t need to watch a horror film, just read Purba’s comments …. :(
    BTW where is Purba?

  30. avatar Desiree Rampershad says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Hi ,I am from South Africa & I have Indonesian friends who live here. Ita told me about Pocong & I watched some trailers over the internet & I think the Indonesian horror is awesome!!! Good job with really scaring me. Indonesian horor is really good in my opinion & the actors are very good looking!

Pages: [1] 2 »



Your view on “Pocong Horror” :


RSS
RSS feed
Email

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-14
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact