In recent years, Asian horror has emerged as major player in the horror movie genre. With stories based on deeply-rooted myths and folklore passed down across generations in various Asian cultures, these movies have entranced and terrified global audiences.
On October 7, HBO Asia will premiere its very first horror anthology original series entitled FOLKLORE (#FolkloreHBO). It is comprised of 6 hour-long episodes that takes place in six Asian countries – Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – featuring supernatural beings and occult beliefs in their respective regions. The episodes are also helmed by local directors and filmed in the local language.
FOLKLORE is produced and created by Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo, with the aim of modernising Asian horror by showcasing the brand of horror that each country is known for while exploring societal dysfunctions in a manner that is specific to the country but possessing themes that will resonate to a global audience.
FOLKLORE premieres on Sunday, October 7 at 10pm exclusively on HBO (ch 54SD | 168HD on SKYcable). New episodes will debut at the same time every Sunday. The series will also be streaming on HBO GO, HBO’s video-streaming service exclusively available in the Philippines to SKYcable subscribers.
Episode #1: “Folklore: A Mother’s Love”
Premieres: Sunday, October 7 at 10pm on HBO
Directed by: Joko Anwar (Indonesia)
Cast: Marissa Anita, Muzakki Ramdhan
A single mother and her young son discover a group of dirty and underfed children living in a mansion’s attic. Upon saving them and returning them to their families, she has unknowingly snatched these children from their adopted mother – Wewe Gombel – and must now beware her vengeful wrath.
Episode #2: “Folklore: Tatami”
Premieres: Sunday, October 14 at 10pm on HBO
Directed by: Takumi Saitoh (Japan)
Cast: Kazuki Kitamura, Misuzu Kanno, Daisuke Kuroda, Shima Onishi
A murder scene writer returns home to attend his father’s funeral and begins to experience constant flashbacks of his childhood. He then discovers a secret door in the house that leads to a room that hides a horrifying secret from his family’s past.
Episode #3: “Folklore: Nobody”
Premieres: Sunday, October 21 at 10pm on HBO
Directed by: Eric Khoo (Singapore)
Cast: Li Wen Qiang, Maguire Jian, Sivakumar Palakrishnan, Aric Hidir, Louis Wu, Dayang Nurbalqis
A Pontianak is awaked when a foreman and a construction worker attempt to bury the body of a dead girl instead of burning her. A series of unfortunate events begin to occur at the construction site.
Episode #4: “Folklore: Pob”
Premieres: Sunday, October 28 at 10pm on HBO
Directed by: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Thailand)
Cast: Nuttapon Sawasdee, Parama Wutthikornditsakul, Thomas Burton Van Blarcom
A journalist meets with Pob, a Thai ghost, who confesses to a murder. Finally finding an outlet for complaint, Pob explains how the murder happened and requests for his story to be published. However, the journalist declines and the two make a deal of a lifetime.
Episode #5: “Folklore: Toyol”
Premieres: Sunday, November 4 at 10pm on HBO
Directed by: Ho Yuhang (Malaysia)
Cast: Bront Palarae, Nabila Huda, Redza Minhat
A Member of Parliament (MP) of a fishing town turns to a mysterious woman who possesses shamanistic powers in order to salvage his town’s dire economic situation. She fixes all his problems and the two soon become lovers. However, the woman has a dark secret that threatens to destroy his life.
Episode #6: “Folklore: Mongdal”
Premieres: Sunday, November 11 at 10pm on HBO
Directed by: Lee Sang Woo (Korea)
Cast: Lee Chae-Yeon, Jeong Yun Seok
A mother tries to appease the moods and demands of her borderline psychopathic son. When a new girl comes to town, her son falls quickly and deeply for the new girl and is determined to win her over possibly even against her will. When things take a tragic turn, his mother will stop at nothing to make her son happy even if it means finding a bride to join him in the afterlife.
“Folklore: A Mother’s Love” from Indonesian director Joko Anwar and “Folklore: Pob”, directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang from Thailand have recently been selected for the prestigious 43rd Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF). This is the first time an Asian TV series has been officially selected since the inception of Primetime programme at TIFF since 2015. The Primetime programme channels the best international television fit for the silver screen, focusing on powerful, small-screen storytelling that pushes the boundaries of original scripted series and episodic programming.
HBO Asia started producing its Original productions in 2012 and has since expanded their range of Asian Original productions to include series, movies and documentaries. FOLKLORE marks the network’s twelfth Asian Original to date, with more slated to premiere in the coming years. Other upcoming Asian Original productions by HBO Asia include GRISSE – an eight-part hour-long period drama series set in the mid 1800’s within the colonial period of the Dutch East Indies and THE WORLD BEHIND THE TEENAGE PSYCHIC – an hour-long Mandarin documentary that seeks to delve deeper into the unique shamanistic practices during the Ghost Month in Taiwan.
Show details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.
Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.
Check out my posts on other HBO shows:
- Fahrenheit 451
- Cormoran Strike
- The Garden of Evening Mists
- Sharp Objects
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- The Bridge
- The Deuce
- The World Behind the Teenage Psychic
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