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Monster movie fan? Here's how you can watch the original 1954 Godzilla on the big screen

Asian Film Archive's State Of Motion 2019: A Fear of Monsters is back with 27 seminal films to satiate any horror film fan's appetite.

Monster movie fan? Here's how you can watch the original 1954 Godzilla on the big screen

A film still from the original 1954 Godzilla directed by Ishiro Honda (Photo: Godzilla)

From the multilingual Pontianak and the mammoth Godzilla to the genre defining Orang Minyak (oily man) who seeped his way across borders, Asian monsters have long entertained and united audiences through shared fear.

Which is why the Asian Film Archive's State Of Motion 2019: A Fear of Monsters is back – after an initial run earlier this year. Running from today (Jun 7) till Jul 21, this programme is the cinematic continuation of the showcase that features seminal Asian horror films from the 1950s – 2000s.

Over 27 films, the programmes seeks to explore the appeal of the region’s popular horror genre and its monsters that have traversed folklore to the silver screen.

Kicking off this round is Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla – regarded as the King of the Monsters in film history and considered one of the most influential and essential viewing in the monster movie genre. The original 1954 version titled Gojira, was made at a time when Japan was reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing in the Pacific, and has since spawned over 30 sequels and adaptations to date.

Another film to revisit is BN Rao’s 1958 Sumpah Pontianak. Starring Maria Menado, this is the third in a trilogy of pontianak-themed films that capitalised on the local population’s fear for “the most treacherous of vampire”. It also boasts a film score written by Zubir Said, who composed Singapore’s national anthem.

Other films to look out for include Nonzee Nimibutr’s 1999 Nang Nak from Thailand; Ho Meng Hua’s 1976’s Oily Maniac from Hong Kong; Cannes favourite Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2012 Mekong Hotel from Thailand; and Ryu Murakami’s 1989 Raffles Hotel from Japan. The latter was shot on location in Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, which was also the setting in Murakami’s novel. 

A film still from 1958's Sumpah Orang Minyak (Curse of the Oily Man) by P Ramlee (Photo: Sumpah Orang Minyak)

P Ramlee fans will also be able to catch his 1958 effort Sumpah Orang Minyak (Curse of the Oily Man). For the uninitiated, the Orang Minyak – a Malay supernatural icon based on real criminal cases – inspired a spate of movies that catapulted the folklore legend to the peak of its notoriety and screen fame in 1950s and 1960s Malaya.

For those who recall the infamous Adrian Lim ritual murders in 1980s Singapore, there is a screening of Arthur Smith’s 1991 Medium Rare, which the story is loosely based on. The tale about a sceptical Australian journalist pursuing the story about a Singaporean medium claiming to have supernatural abilities caused quite the furore when it was released as Singapore’s first ever full-length English-language film.

There is also a theatrical presentation of HBO Asia’s first original horror anthology series Folklore – created by celebrated Singaporean director Eric Khoo and featuring six country-specific stories from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Thailand. Each standalone film is helmed by a different director and based on the superstitions and myths from the respective filmmaker’s country.

All the films in the State Of Motion 2019: A Fear of Monsters programme will be screened at the newly revamped 132-seater Oldham Theatre in the National Archives of Singapore.

Asian Film Archive’s State of Motion 2019: A Fear of Monsters runs from Jun 7 to Jul 21. Tickets are priced at S$10 and available here.

Source: CNA/gl