If you’re a Malay who loves ghost stories of haunted hotels in Genting Highlands and the Karak Highway Pontianak, then it’s time you watched these 8 classic Malaysian horror movies! These movies will definitely scare you, but they’ll also give you a look into Malaysian culture and beliefs.
While it’s true that Malaysia’s neighbors such as Thailand, Japan, South Korea and even Indonesia have a longer list of horror movies, Malaysia makes up for it in terms of character. These Malaysian horror movies are classics for a reason!
8 Classic Malaysian Horror Movies You Should Check Out this 2020
“23:59” is situated in the year 1980 and recounts the experiences of a troop of soldiers stationed at a training camp situated on a jungle island. The horror unfolds with the demise of a purportedly deranged woman residing on the same island, occurring precisely at 23:59 (military time equivalent to 11:59 PM). Following this event, a series of supernatural occurrences commence, consistently originating at 23:59. The unsettling incidents also involve the soldiers, particularly when they stumble upon one of their fellow army recruits subjected to gruesome mutilation.
23:59 is more of a generic horror movie, complete with a vengeful spirit devoted to killing people and a lot of jump scares. Still, a lot of people love it for its story’s premise, good cinematography and production. But if you’re also looking for horror films that have that 1980s vintage horror feel, you’ll definitely love 23:59.
2. Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam 1 & 2
“Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam” (Pontianak Scent of the Tuber Rose) is a renowned Malaysian horror movie series. Beginning in 2004, the first film follows the vengeful Pontianak spirit Meriam, while its sequel, “Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam 2,” delves further into her quest for revenge against her murderer and his descendants. The franchise achieved considerable box office success, solidifying its status as a classic in Malaysian horror cinema.
“Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam” encountered pre-screening challenges due to the title’s misunderstood term “Sundal,” which caused unwarranted controversy. Despite this, the title, translating to “Fragrant Night Vampire,” fittingly reflected the story’s essence. Issues also arose regarding soundtrack copyrights and the 18PL rating. Director Shuhaimi Baba faced creative restrictions to meet rating requirements, limiting the ghost’s appearances to dreams and avoiding gore. Nevertheless, the film’s success birthed a horror franchise. It garnered comparisons to revered Asian horror classics like Ju-On (The Grudge) for its suspenseful elements, highlighting its worthiness for viewing.
Released in 2016, Munafik tells the story of a Muslim medical practitioner named Adam who suffers many losses after his wife dies. Even weirder things start to happen when he meets Maria. Munafik was also a box office hit, gaining a RM17.04 million profit with just a measely RM1.6 million budget.
It also has a lot of good reviews, and was even nominated at the 2016 KL Film Critic’s Council Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography. It was also nominated for numerous awards at the 28th Malaysia Film Festival, 2016 Anugerah Skrin, 2017 MeleTOP ErAwards, and 2017 Bintang Popular Berita Harian Awards.
And like Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam, Munafik also became a sort of Malaysian horror movie franchise, with sequels Munafik 2 (2018) and Munafik 3 (to be released in 2020). Director Syamsul Yusof claims that he always wanted to make Munafik into a trilogy ever since he created the first film in 2016.
Dukun, on the other hand, is a 2018 Malaysian horror movie that’s based of a true life events. Dukun translates to “shaman”, a person who has access to the world of good and evil spirits. It tells the story of a Malaysian politician who was killed by a once-slightly popular Malaysian singer who turned into a “witch doctor”.
The film was initially planned for release in 2007; however, it experienced a phase of “production purgatory” with no subsequent updates. This stagnation stemmed from concerns about potential controversy linked to adapting a true high-profile murder case.
“Dukun” eventually saw release in 2018 after leaked footage garnered attention in 2012.
Astro Shaw, the distributor, ultimately opted to release the movie after nearly a decade of its completion in production.
Although “Dukun” is grounded in a real-life murder case, the narrative takes artistic liberties in its presentation. Many regard “Dukun” as a hidden gem, a film that endured the passage of time and matured like fine wine.
5. Khurafat: Perjanjian Syaitan
Khurafat: Perjanjian syaitanw, simply known as Khurafat, is a 2011 Malaysian horror film thriller directed by Syamsul Yusof (same director of Munafik!) It was Yusof’s first horror movie and directorial debut. It tells the story of a hospital assistant named Johan and his wife, Asishah, and all the hauntings they keep experiencing.
Like Munafik, Khurafat dabbles in black magic and other religious topics that’s often related to horror. If you’re one of those Malaysians curious about such things, then we suggest giving Khurafat a try.
6. Villa Nabila
Villa Nabila is one of Malaysia’s most haunted houses. Located in Johor, this Malaysian horror movie with the same name is based off of real-life ghost stories that happened in Villa Nabila. What’s different with this horror movie? It’s presented in a documentary style, which if we’re being honest, really makes everything scarier!
Villa Nabila’s story starts when a teenager suddenly disappears, and continues with a number of interviews with the people who’ve experienced hauntings in the Villa Nabila. It’s an interesting horror film with stories of attempts of demolishing the haunted mansion, and the Villa fighting back to keep its place in Johor in the most scary ways.
7. Highland Tower
Highland Tower bears a striking resemblance to Villa Nabila, as it is presented in a documentary style and recounts the chilling ghost narratives associated with the Highland Tower. The luxury condominium, Highland Tower, met its demise in December 1993 due to relentless rainfall and landslides. This catastrophic event claimed the lives of approximately 48-50 individuals and remains etched as one of the most heart-wrenching incidents in Malaysia’s history.
Within the film, a team of documentary filmmakers embarks on an exploration of the remaining two blocks of Highland Towers, driven by rumors of its haunting. If you like watching documentary-style horror movies, then you should definitely check out Highland Tower. It’s Malaysia’s own, after all.
8. Haunted Hotel
Released in 2017, “Haunted Hotel” gained prominence as one of the most eagerly awaited horror movies in Malaysia’s recent film history. This horror film, a collaboration among China, Malaysia, and Thailand, narrates the eerie tale of the haunted Amber Court situated in Genting Highlands, Malaysia.
A couple in Malaysia wins big at Genting Highlands but can’t find a hotel. They choose Amber Court, a reputedly haunted one. “Haunted Hotel” is a successful haunted hotel-themed movie. Watch it. For casino fun like the movie, try EMPIRE777, a trusted online casino in Malaysia. If you sign up now, you can play for free with RM30 Free Credit–No Deposit Required!