Friday, September 5, 2014

CFP: Locating Southeast Asian Horror

Plaridel Special Issue
Locating Southeast Asian Horror

Issue editors: Katarzyna Ancuta & Patrick F. Campos

The unprecedented success of Japanese and Korean horror on international markets in the early 2000s increased the demand for the genre from the region, but also set a new standard against which these productions were judged. Encouraged by the enthusiastic reception of (the problematically labeled but widely accepted category) “Asian Horror” by commentators and the global fan community, Southeast Asian national cinemas began to revitalize their local horror genres, and distributors eventually turned to Southeast Asian horror as well.
But contemporary “Southeast Asian Horror” proved to be quite diverse, ranging from those that adapt the same strategy that made J- and K-horror into a global phenomenon, to a great majority of horror films that resisted or spawned its own formula. Many of these films followed local modes of narrative, frequently mixed elements of comedy with horror, introduced stories of supernatural creatures incompatible with the generic hordes of universally acceptable ghosts and monsters, and appreciated a different aesthetics than one usually associated with either Western or East Asian horror film.

There is much to be said about Southeast Asian horror yet until now the genre has mostly eluded the attention of the academic community. This collection is an attempt to fill in the gap. Horror forms a staple part of Southeast Asian cinematic repertoire. As a genre, it is almost exclusively supernatural. This is not surprising, given the region’s rich texture of religiosity, supernatural beliefs, shamanic rituals, and animistic practice. While there is no denying that, at least to a certain extent, Southeast Asian horror has been influenced by Western or, more recently, East Asian horror films, we cannot underestimate the importance of the particular politics, local cultural grounding, and other permutations of Southeast Asian Horror.

With this in mind, this special issue aims to answer a number of questions: Does Southeast Asian horror exist as a separate, recognizable category? How is Southeast Asian horror different from Western or East Asian horror genres? What are the particular political and cultural characteristics of horror films when considered in the context of Southeast Asia or as being Southeast Asian? Are there any similarities or differences between films in the region across national cinemas? What is the current reach of Southeast Asian horror, in terms of international viewership? What are the modes of receiving and appreciating Southeast Asian horror?
We invite contributions of academic articles that can further the discussion of the topic.

Some of the suggested themes are:
  •     Foreign influences on Southeast Asian horror
  •     Transnational horror
  •     Southeast Asian horror narrative structure
  •     Southeast Asian horror sub-genres
  •     Comparative view of horror from Southeast Asian national cinemas
  •     Themes, motifs and locations
  •     Folklore and oral tradition
  •     Rural and urban horror
  •     Haunting and spectrality
  •     Representations of otherness
  •     Representations of gender
  •     Race, class and ethnicity issues
  •     Political dimension of Southeast Asian horror
  •     Cultural dimension of Southeast Asian horror
  •     Southeast Asian horror audiences
Manuscripts should be submitted via email to, on or before 1 DECEMBER 2014.
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