I didn't want to even mention or touch upon the ongoing UMNO meet at PWTC. I got no reason to since every other blog covers it to death. However, when one Putri UMNO member takes pot shots at the movies, I can't but voice out my concern over such rhetoric.
Why oh why did this member be allowed to go to the platform and make a call to ban all horror and scary movies? Not only locally produced movies of such genre but also foriegn ones. According to her, if such movies were allowed to be produced, people would lose faith in religion (Islam). She wants producers to make movies of good moral values, proper storylines and meaningful subjects for the betterment of society.
And what's worse, her motion on this subject was PASSED!
Only last month, the Minister of Communication, Information and Culture announced that the Government would not support no condone movies or TV productions that highlight the rempit culture. Okay, that's one genre down the drain. Now horror movies.
This has been done before during the famous banning of VHS movies - VHS meaning violence, horror and sex. We barely recovered from that, until some producers started tweaking and testing the waters until Shuhaimi Baba broke the barrier with Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam.
Since then, producers became more courageous and now were brave enough even to produce pure horror movies like Histeria and Jangan Tegur. Not that they were any good, but they were genuine horror movies. What we cannot deny is that horror is a popular genre. Even a half baked production like Momok The Movie, based on my theater play Hantu Hantu Yang Saya Kenali, is raking in millions.
And as far as I know, there is no correlation nor study that proves such movies erode the viewers' faith in religion. Horror movies have been around since the Jalan Ampas days with early Hantu Kubur and Hantu Jerangkung movies.
And there were even horror movies from the US and England being screened. Malayans were introduced to werewolves, vampires. zombies and mummies through the silver screens.
"Booo!!! Seriously...does this face from the 60s scare you?
Who can also forget Jahlelawati's portrayal of Pontianak or Mariam Manado's Comel on the screen? I know it really looks dated when viewed today, but when it was released back in the 60s, it scared the pants of thousands of viewers.
S0 was there a marked decrease in anyone relinquishing their religious views since then? Did Muslims lose faith in God the minute they stepped out of the cinema halls after watching Dendam Pontianak or Sumpah Orang Minyak?
If not why the frequent fear by politicians and the powers that be, that horror movies can be detrimental to our psyche or our society and our religion?
If fact, I remember well when such movies actually made more Malays memorise as many ayats from the Quran as possible to ward of evil. The ayat Kursi also was especially memorised by children to protect themselves.
Is this a bad thing?
In the movies, the azan too was shown as being an effective way to chase evil away.
On the other hand, I also remember once, when we were not allowed to make Malay horror movies, Malay viewers went to see instead Chinese and English horror movies to sate their desires for such cinematic wares.
I could see instead, young kids beginning to believe that plastering yellow pieces of paper on the foreheads of zombies will make them stop hopping and also making the crucifix sign will ward off all evil.
I really really hope that calmer heads and clearer minds run our political arena. There are so many other important issues to focus on. Banning horror movies is not one of them.
Popular Hongkong Keongsi movies are loved by young and old, Malays and Chinese.See? If we don't have Malay movies to show that verses from the Quran or specific doas are used to protect oneself, young Malaysians would instead pick up from the foreign movies other funny explanations on how to get rid of ghosts and monsters. These include using garlic bouquets, driving oak stakes into the hearts of vampires and even holding your breath to confuse Keongsis.
If you want to ban something that has been proven to be deadly then ban long public holidays. We all know that long public holidays create massive traffic exodus called balik kampung. And hundreds have died and thousands maimed and injured every time such holidays take place. This is fact.
As far as I know, no horror movie made in Malaysia has killed a single person.
So which is worse?
So stop picking on filmmakers. As it is, our censorship is already stifling. Stop demonising our local films and let us make movies for the masses and give them what they want.