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The New York Asian Film Festival Unveils Taiwan Ghost Month, Celebrating a New Era of Terror

  • Date:2021-08-17

Taipei Cultural Center (TCC) in New York is pleased to collaborate with the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) to present a ten-day virtual series of horror films in celebration of Taiwan’s Ghost Month. The series, as part of TCC in New York’s 30th Anniversary program, will serve as a refreshing conclusion to NYAFF’s 20th edition during these scorching summer days.

The Taiwan Ghost Month series will start immediately after NYAFF’s main course on August 23rd and showcase seven standout genre films, available virtually throughout the United States.

As NYAFF Executive Director Samuel Jamier notes, “Asian movies have helped forge the gold standard of horror. Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong boast some of the most frightening films in the history of world cinema. While Taiwan seems to have flown under the radar, its horror films, with their pervasively sinister atmospherics, not to mention a singular vision of vengeful ghosts, have proven to be a major force to be reckoned with in the past few years.”

This series showcases a constellation of domestic box-office hits from recent years that have been critically praised for incorporating Taiwanese folklore, Chinese mythology, contemporary social issues, and historical tragedies into their succinctly unnerving narratives. TCC adds, the series also reflects the surge of Taiwanese genre films in recent years, among which horror/ghost films make up the most burgeoning one. 

Taiwan’s Ghost Month is observed in the 7th month of the lunar calendar, which is from August 8th to September 6th this year.

The seven films in the series are:

Detention, directed by John Hsu, is an official selection of NYAFF 2020. An adaptation carved from a survival horror video game, it’s also the first mainstream take on the island’s traumatizing White Terror era in the 1960s, during which thousands were executed. The film won awards in five categories at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards in Taipei.

Get the Hell Out, directed by Wang I-Fan, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a scathingly hilarious critique of political dysfunction in which a zombie virus permeates parliament, with wild martial arts antics and a brash young female politician who may be the government’s best hope for survival.

The Heirloom, directed by Leste Chen, is an aesthetically exquisite haunted house shocker whose impressive deployment of creepy atmospherics, dread, and impressive visuals proved to be a Taiwan cinematic game-changer in 2005.

Mon Mon Mon Monsters, directed by Giddens Ko, premiered at NYAFF 2017. Renaissance man Ko pulled out all the stops in this outrageous mash-up of a college bully dramedy and a wild SFX-laden monster thriller that is out of this world.

The Rope Curse, directed by Liao Shih-Han. Taiwan’s already classic take on the found-footage genre features unsympathetic teenage protagonists, odd comic relief, and preternaturally eerie nighttime locations that will make even the most jaded horror fan afraid of the dark.

Silk, directed by Su Chao-Bin. Screened out of competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, this intriguing tale of a group of young ghost hunters (led by the uber-charismatic Chang Chen) chronicles their misguided attempts to use paranormal alchemy to capture the daunting spirit of a dead child.

The Tag-Along, directed by Cheng Wei-hao, premiered at NYAFF 2016. Inspired by an actual viral video, The Tag-Along was a huge sleeper hit. A video of a group of hikers followed by a ghostly little girl in red evolves into tales of supernatural havoc unleashed upon the unsuspecting living.

The Taiwan Ghost Month Series runs from August 23rd to September 1st. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit NYAFF’s official website: