With Halloween gaining more and more pop culture popularity in India, here’s our pick of five spooktacular Indian horror films to enjoy.
To Indians, Halloween doesn’t bring up images of “trick or treating” in the neighbourhood but it does bring up vague thoughts of a foreign festival. Or, at least it used to. With the explosion of global pop culture in our collective conscience, we now know what exactly Halloween stands for and while “trick and treating” is still not a norm, Halloween parties featuring people dressed up as their favourite monsters and pop culture icons is becoming a more and more common sight in metropolises.
And, what is Halloween without a spooky movie (or five)? Hollywood on a yearly basis release their spookiest offerings this time of the year and ensures blockbusters regardless of whether the film is any good or not. While we Indians may not be going around collecting candies anytime soon, that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the spirit of Halloween from the comfort of our couches. Why not just sit back with a tub of popcorn (or if you’re feeling especially ‘Halloween’y’, candies are a good call) and enjoy our pick of five of the finest Indian horror movies that is sure to scare the living daylights out of you?
Bees Saal Baad (1962):
Directed by Biren Nag, Bees Saal Baad (After Twenty Years) is one of India’s earliest horror films. Released on New Year, 1962 the movie was a success and had scarred the country, back then. The image of a mysterious young woman walking through a field in the middle of the night crooning, “Kahin deep jale, kahi dil (Somewhere a lamp burns, somewhere else a heart)” has creeped out generations.
Raat (Night) is Ram Gopal Verma in his prime. The premise follows the Sharma family re-locating to a semi-urban locality in a house that has a “reputation”. The Sharma family consists of Mr. Sharma (Akash Khurana), his wife Shalini (Rohini Hattangadi), their only daughter Mini (Revathi) and their grandchild Bunty (Master Ateet) whose parents had been killed in an accident. Strange things start happening with the return of a dead kitten, a brutal murder and attempts to kill Mr. Sharma and Manisha’s boyfriend, Deepak (Kushant). What is the force behind these brutalities? Watching this cult classic will ensure that you will never look at cats the same way.
The House Next Door (2017):
It’s tempting to write off ‘The House Next Door’ as India’s homage to Hollywood horror classics like ‘The Exorcist’. Much of the dialogue and relationships evoke corny melodramas from the 1950s. But don’t let that distract you from the story in which a doctor and his wife learn that someone in their Himalayan neighbourhood is possessed. Director Milind Rau’s set pieces are chilling, with clever camerawork and stunning visuals.
Tarun Majumdar weaves a tale of reincarnation in this Bengali cult classic where a middle aged woman named Sheba comes to an obscure town as the governess of a renowned household called “Raykuthi”. But little did she know about the bungalow and the sordid secrets that it holds. The two murders from seven years earlier still haunt the grounds and the mist of mysterious happenings get only thicker.
Demonte Colony (2015):
Ajay Gnanamuthu’s story takes us on a journey with four friends who after a night of drinking are stranded in the rain. When one of them suggests an adventure, another friend, an aspiring director suggests they check out a dilapidated mansion in the vicinity, called Demonte Colony. The other two even though reluctant are pulled into joining. Only later do all of them realize they have fallen into a trap that could prove to be fatal.