HBO brings Malaysian myth ‘TOYOL’ to scare viewers this Halloween weekend

The ghost of an unborn infant haunts HBO viewers on SKY as the Malaysian flick “Toyol” airs this Sunday (November 4), the fifth episode of the horror anthology series, “Folklore.”

A Member of Parliament (Bront Palarae) of a fishing town seeks the help of a mysterious woman (Nabila Huda) with shaman-like powers in order to save the town from its dire economic situation. After she miraculously fixes the problem, the two fall in love. But the woman hides a deep, dark secret that will threaten to destroy everything as she could unleash the “toyol” upon the world.

According to Malay folklore, the “toyol” manifests itself as a newborn baby, only with blood-red eyes and sharp teeth. It is summoned through black magic by its owner and does their bidding no matter how gruesome the wish is.

Will the local politician know the real motive of the shaman before it is too late?

HBO Asia’s first horror anthology, “Folklore,” is a series that draws on the local myths from Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Following “Toyol” is the last installment, the Korean episode,“Mongdal.”

Episodes are helmed by different directors from various Asian countries, and are filmed in the local language of the country that the episode is based in.

Watch “Toyol” on November 4, 10PM on HBO Ch. 54 SD/Ch. 168 HD (For Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Lipa-Batangas) or on Ch. 402 SD/710 HD (For Bacolod, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo). SKYdirect subscribers can watch on Ch. 22 HD. It is also available for streaming on HBO GO which is exclusively available to SKY subscribers. To subscribe, call 418-0000 or your local SKY office or visit www.mysky.com.ph.

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.

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New HBO original period drama series GRISSE premieres on November 4

HBO Asia’s brand new original period drama, GRISSE, is an eight-part hour-long series that is set in the mid 1800’s within the colonial period of the Dutch East Indies. The English language series chronicles the story of a group of unlikely individuals who lead a rebellion against a brutal governor and suddenly find themselves in control of a Dutch garrison town called Grisse. The story revolves around a number of unique characters, each from diverse backgrounds and creeds who unite for the chance to break the yoke of tyranny and write their own destiny.

Catch the series every Sunday at 9pm starting November 4 on HBO (SKYcable ch 54 SD | 168 HD). It will also be available for online viewing on HBO GO, HBO’s video streaming service that enables users to watch HBO’s channels live and HBO original productions and more on demand. In the Philippines, it is exclusively available to SKY subscribers.

Developed and produced by HBO Asia and together with Singapore-based Infinite Studios, GRISSE will feature an ensemble cast of actors who are based in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Europe, Australia and the U.S.. They include Adinia Wirasti (HBO Asia’s “Halfworlds Season 1”), Marthino Lio (“Sayang You Can Dance”), Michael Wahr (“City Homocide”), Edward Akbar (“Air Terjun Pengantin”), Jamie Aditya (“Sync or Swim”), Toshiji Takeshima (HBO’s “True Blood”), Joanne Kam (“Kopitiam”), Zack Lee (“The Raid 2”), Tom Dejong (“Medisch Centrum West”), Ully Triani (“Stay With Me”), Rick Paul Van Mulligen (“A’dam E.V.A.”), Alexandra Gottardo (“Tanah Air”), Hossan Leong (“The Forbidden City”) and Jimmy T (“Robocop 3”). Creator and Showrunner for GRISSE is Mike Wiluan (“Buffalo Boys”) who directed alongside Tony Tilse (HBO Asia’s “Serangoon Road”, “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”) and Ler Jiyuan (“Gone Case”, “The Love Machine”).

HBO has also recently announced that select HBO Asia Original productions will be available to audiences in HBO Europe’s territories. These HBO Asia Original titles include the period drama series GRISSE; horror anthology series FOLKLORE; Japanese drama series MISS SHERLOCK; and the first two instalments of the Chinese language martial arts anthology movie series, MASTER OF THE DRUNKEN FIST: BEGGAR SO and MASTER OF THE SHADOWLESS KICK: WONG KEI-YING. These titles will be available in territories including Spain (on HBO España), Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark (on HBO Nordic), and in Central European territories including Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Croatia (on HBO Europe). GRISSE will also be available to HBO’s U.S. subscribers across the channel’s platforms, including HBO GO®, HBO NOW®, HBO On Demand®, and participating television and streaming partner platforms.

“With an array of diverse cultures and rich histories, Asia has proven to be a melting pot of storylines that we are excited to bring to life and captivate our audiences in the region and beyond,” said Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia. He further adds, “With five more HBO Asia Original productions being available in HBO U.S.’ and HBO Europe’s territories, we are proud and delighted to be able to share some of what Asia has to offer with the rest of the world through our global network.”

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. GRISSE marks the network’s thirteenth Asian Original to date, with more slated to premiere in the coming years and further strengthening its commitment to producing more compelling and relevant local content for the Asian and global audience.

Show details and image 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.

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HBO anthology series Room 104 returns for a second season on November 10

The anthology series ROOM 104 will return for its 12-episode second season, debuting two episodes back-to-back, same time as the U.S. on Saturday, November 10 at 12.30pm, exclusively on HBO GO and CINEMAX two new episodes will subsequent air every Saturday at the same time.

From creators and executive producers Mark and Jay Duplass, the show is set in a single room of a typical American chain motel and tells a different story of the assorted characters who pass through it in each episode, ranging from comedy to drama to horror.

Season two actors include: Mahershala Ali, Joel Allen, Stephanie Allynne, Katie Aselton, Frank Birney, Josephine Decker, James Earl, Marlene Forte, Abby Ryder Fortson, Ginger Gonzaga, Judy Greer, Brian Tyree Henry, Anita Kalathara, Anita Kalathara, Tom Lenk, Phil Matarese, Sheaun McKinney, Natalie Morales, Kent Osborne, Zane Pais, Leonora Pitts, Mark Proksch, Pia Shah, Michael Shannon, Onur Tukel, Dolly Wells, Jud Williford, Rainn Wilson, Mary Wiseman, Charlyne Yi and Katya Zamolodchikova.

Season two directors include: Patrick Brice, Josephine Decker, Mark Duplass, Gaby Hoffmann, Liza Johnson, So Yong Kim, Jonah Markowitz, Natalie Morales, Lila Neugebauer, Ross Partridge and Julian Wass.

Season two writers include: Lauren Budd, Josephine Decker, Mark Duplass, Esti Giordani, Liza Johnson, Onur Tukel and Julian Wass.

Season two credits: ROOM 104 was created by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass; executive producers, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Sydney Fleischmann, Mel Eslyn, Xan Aranda; co-executive producer, Ross Partridge; producer, Tyler Romary.

In the Philippines, HBO GO is exclusively available to SKYcable subscribers.

Show details and image 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.

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HBO Original Documentary “Jane Fonda in Five Acts” to premiere September 25 on HBO Go

Girl next door, sex kitten, activist, fitness tycoon: Oscar-winner Jane Fonda has lived a life marked by controversy, tragedy and transformation, and she’s done it all in the public eye. Directed and produced by award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy, JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS, an intimate look at her singular journey, premieres in Asia the same time as the U.S. on Tuesday, September 25 at 8am, exclusively on HBO GO.

Jane Fonda has been vilified as Hanoi Jane, lusted after as Barbarella and heralded as a beacon of the women’s movement. This film goes to the heart of who she really is, a blend of deep vulnerability, magnetism, naiveté and bravery, revealing a life transformed over time.

The documentary draws on 21 hours of interviews with Fonda, who speaks candidly about her life and her missteps. She explores the pain of her mother’s suicide, her father’s emotional unavailability, 30 years of an eating disorder and three marriages to highly visible, yet diametrically opposed, men. JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS also includes interviews with family and friends, as well as rare home movies and verité footage of the 80-year-old Fonda’s busy life today at, as she puts it, “the beginning of my last act.”

Where “girls” of her generation were raised to be passive and compliant, Fonda has always seemed like very much “her own woman.” But her memories reveal the extent to which she was defined and controlled by the desires, ambitions, and fortunes of the powerful men in her life, and how much her own secret insecurities, unresolved anxieties and impulsive actions often prevented her from being the person she aspired to be.

Featuring interviews with Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin, producer Paula Weinstein and former spouses Tom Hayden and Ted Turner, among others, the first four acts of Fonda’s life are named after the four men who shared – and hugely influenced – her personal and professional ambitions. The fifth act is named after Fonda herself, as she finally confronts her demons, reconnects with her family and resumes a successful career as both an actress and an activist, entirely on her own terms.

Fonda recalls growing up “in the shadow of a national monument” in the form of her father, Henry. One of the most beloved actors of his time, the elder Fonda was a distant father in private, neglecting his family and having an affair while her mother descended into mental anguish that led to tragedy.

Fonda’s name and good looks brought her modeling gigs and a chance to study acting with Lee Strasberg, but “it never felt real,” she recalls. She impulsively went to France to experience the cinematic revolution of the French New Wave, and married director Roger Vadim, agreeing to live a “heady and hedonistic” life and reluctantly allowing herself to become a sex object with films like “Barbarella.”

Fonda’s proximity to leftist politics in Paris inspired an awakening about America’s role in Vietnam. Despite being a new mother, she threw herself into anti-war activism, eventually earning the nickname “Hanoi Jane” and a place in the crosshairs of the Nixon administration, and meeting her second husband, activist and organiser Tom Hayden.

“I’m proud of most of what I did,” Fonda recalls of the period when she became a divisive political figure, “but very sorry for some of what I did.” While her acting career soared in films like “Klute” and “Coming Home,” she lived a deliberately stripped-down life with Hayden and their son, Troy Garity (who recalls the family arriving at the Oscars in a station wagon), funneling just as much energy into Hayden’s career and ambitions as her own. She produced an exercise video to raise money for their political work, only to see “Jane Fonda’s Workout” become the best-selling home video to date.

With a newfound sense of purpose, Fonda began to confront her chronic discontent, leaving Hayden, going “cold turkey” on a lifelong eating disorder, learning more about her mother’s life and death and fostering an emotionally creative reunion with her father on the film “On Golden Pond.” Buoyed by the affection of third husband, billionaire mogul Ted Turner, she went into semi-retirement, until she recognised that she still had more to contribute and finally struck out on her own.

Today, still challenging herself creatively and still active politically, Jane Fonda continues to demonstrate that there is no limit to the possibilities in a life full of self-determination, honesty and hard work.

Susan Lacy is the creator and former executive producer of the celebrated WNET series “American Masters,” which is shown on PBS in the US. She has won countless awards, and has produced and directed a broad library of acclaimed films exploring the lives of America’s most enduring cultural icons. Her previous HBO documentary, “Spielberg,” debuted on the network in October 2017 and was recently nominated for an Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special.

HBO Documentary Films presents a Pentimento production; produced and directed by Susan Lacy; produced by Emma Pildes and Jessica Levin; edited by Benjamin Gray; co-edited by Kris Liem; director of photography, Sam Painter; music by Paul Cantelon.

Show details and image 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.

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Agnes of God (1985). Fonda plays psychiatrist Dr. Martha Linvingstone who has to uncover hidden aspects of a young nun’s personality.


On Golden Pond (1981). Fonda plays the estranged daughter to her real-life father Henry Fonda.

Jennifer Garner and David Tennant star in new original comedy series Camping to premiere exclusively on HBO and HBO on Oct 15

Jennifer Garner (“Love, Simon”; Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner for “Alias”) and David Tennant (“Jessica Jones,” “Doctor Who”) headline the cast of the brand-new HBO Original comedy series CAMPING. The first of eight episodes of its debut season will air in Asia same time as the U.S. on Monday, October 15 at 10am, with a same day primetime encore at 11pm, exclusively on HBO GO and HBO.

To celebrate her husband Walt’s 44th birthday, the obsessively organised and aggressively controlling Kathryn gathers together her meek sister, her holier-than-thou ex-best friend and a free-spirited tagalong – and what was supposed to be a delightful, back-to-nature camping trip quickly becomes a weekend of tested marriages and woman-on-woman crime that won’t soon be forgotten.

CAMPING follows a group of old friends as they arrive at the underwhelming Brown Bear Lake campsite to celebrate a landmark birthday, sparking heightened emotions, latent tensions (sexual and otherwise) and memories they’d rather forget. Other series regulars include: Juliette Lewis (Oscar nominee for “Cape Fear”), Arturo Del Puerto (“Independence Day: Resurgence”), Ione Skye (“Fever Pitch”), Janicza Bravo (directing credits include “Lemon” and HBO’s “Divorce”) and Brett Gelman (“Stranger Things”). The recurring cast includes Bridget Everett (“Trainwreck”).

The show is written and executive produced by Lena Dunham (creator and star of HBO’s “Girls”), Jenni Konner (executive producer of HBO’s “Girls”) and John Riggi, and is based on the British series of the same name created by Julia Davis and produced by Baby Cow Productions.

The Characters

Kathryn McSorley-Jodell (Jennifer Garner) is a controlling LA mom who is far less cheerful than her Lululemons imply. She directs the weekend’s proceedings with an iron grip, until she’s faced with a woman who undoes all her best-laid plans. Walt (David Tennant) is an obedient husband and a loving father, the reliable lynchpin of his male social group, but below that reality lurks a subtle but growing discontent about what he’s just signed up for.

Jandice (Juliette Lewis) is a woman of many talents: a DJ, a reiki healer and a certified public accountant. Her life may seem ideal, but the reality is far less. Smack dab in the middle of a midlife crisis, the recently separated Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto) now expresses his instability through a youthful wardrobe and very strange life choices.

Carleen (Ione Skye) has spent her life in the shadows as Kathryn’s sister. Timid and terrified, she must rely on her own strange passions, such as crocheting, to get her through the lonely days. Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo) is the friend you go to for everything: best massage, best jeans, best oatmeal. But her tension with Kathryn over a breach of confidence threatens to topple the weekend.

George (Brett Gelman) is loyal, goofy and infinitely game. He’s as obsessed with his best friend, Walt, as he is with his wife, Nina-Joy, and just under the surface of this affable boom operator simmers barely repressed rage that can stop any singalong.

Harry (Bridget Everett) is the tough-talking, nature-loving queen of the campsite; her passion for her wife, Nan, is surpassed only by her passion for all other women and an assortment of arms.

“When we saw Julia Davis’ hilarious U.K. ‘Camping,’ we knew this was the most fun concept for writers and actors,” observe Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. “We are so excited by our cast. We are so excited by this story. We are so excited to make you never want to go to the woods again.”

CAMPING is written and executive produced by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner for A Casual Romance; written and executive produced by John Riggi; executive produced by Julia Davis for Hush Ho; Christine Langan for Baby Cow Productions; executive produced by Ilene S. Landress and Tom Lassally; co-executive produced by Adam Countee; pilot directed by Jenni Konner.

Series details and image 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.

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HBO Asia premieres horror anthology “Folklore” on October 7

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 Guide:

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

Folklore - A Mother's Love Still 2

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

Folklore - Tatami Still 1

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

Folklore - Nobody Still 2

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

Folklore - Pob Still 1

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

Folklore - Toyol Still 4

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

Folklore - Mongdal Still 1

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.

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The End of April (2016)
Hyeon-jin already thought her new apartment building was eerie, and her next-door neighbors very strange-but when those neighbors end up murdered, things only take a turn for the stranger.


Creepy (2016)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who made his name with classics Cure & Bright Future, gets back to his roots by putting the thumbscrews to the audience with his latest, Creepy. A year after a botched hostage negotiation with a serial killer turned deadly, ex-detective Koichi, & his wife move into a new house with a deeply strange new neighbor.


Imprison
Nightmarish visions haunt a prisoner after his cellmate shockingly dies.

Next Westworld episode to be set in Shogun World

HBO recently released new Westworld photos pertaining to the episode “Akane No Mai” which will premiere on Monday, May 21.

Hinted at in last season’s finale, Shogun World will bring us new characters such as the ones played by Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel,” “Pacific Rim“) and Hiroyuki Sanada (“The Wolverine,” “47 Ronin“). The video teaser also hints at interactions of Shogun World denizens with Maeve (Thandie Newton) and her gang.

New Westworld episodes will air Mondays at 9am with same day primetime encore at 10pm.  New episodes will also be available for streaming within the same day on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available to SKY subscribers.

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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.