Horror-philes rejoice! HBO Asia Originals is bringing you Folklore, a six-episode hour-long horror series based on six myths from six Asian countries: Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
In preparation for the series, we’ve compiled the superstitious myths highlighted in each episode.
According to ancient folklore, Wewe Gombel is a woman whose husband stopped loving her because she’s unable to bear children. One day, she catches her husband cheating on her. His betrayal hurts her and in her anger, she kills him. The crime results in the villagers hating her and they chase her from the village. In despair, she commits suicide. After her death, her vengeful spirit becomes Wewe Gombel, who abducts children.
Catch this in: Episode 1: “A Mother’s Love”
A single mother and her young son save a group of abandoned children in the attic of a mansion. Unbeknownst to them, these children belong to Wewe Gombel and they must now beware of her vengeful wrath.
Tatami Room Ghost/Zashiki-Warashi
According to the mythology, Zashiki-warashi or the “sitting room child”, is known for inhabiting storerooms, sitting rooms or guest rooms of old Japanese houses. This ghost appears as a child between three to six years old with a bob-style haircut, red face and dressed in traditional clothing. They are mischievous pranksters that disturb the family or visitors staying in the house.
Catch this in: Episode 2: “Tatami”
A writer returns home to attend his father’s funeral. He discovers a unknown room in the house that hides a horrifying secret from his family’s past.
Pontianak is a female vampiric ghost said to be the spirit of women who died during childbirth. They are usually depicted as being pale skinned with long black hair and red eyes, wearing a white dress smeared in blood. Often blaming men for their suffering, the pontianak is able to appear as a beautiful woman to attract men before killing them. According to the myth, soft cries of a baby, a whining dog and a sweet smell indicate the presence of a pontianak.
Catch this in: Episode 3: “Nobody”
A foreman and construction worker attempt to bury the body of a dead girl instead of burning her. This awakens a pontianak and a series of unfortunate events begin to occur at the construction site.
Pob is a cannibalistic spirit that eats human guts. In Thai mythology, one can strike a deal with the pob. In exchange for honouring the living memory of a loved one, the pob will save someone’s life for you or give you the winning lottery numbers… but at a dangerous cost.
Catch this in: Episode 4: “Nobody”
A journalist meets pob, and pob confesses a murder to him and asks him to publish the story. The journalist declines and the two make a deal of a lifetime.
A toyol is a spirit summoned from a dead foetus using black magic, and appears as a small new born baby with a large head, blood-red eyes and sharp teeth. According to myth, toyols are often used for selfish but petty gains by its owner.
Catch this in: Episode 5: “Toyol”
A politician turns to a mysterious woman bomoh to help fix his problems and the two end up becoming lovers. However, the woman has a dark secret.
Mongdal Gwisin is a ghost that died as a bachelor. The spirit can only find peace once it marries the spirit of a virgin girl.
Catch this in: Episode 6: “Mongdal”
A mother tries to appease the demands of her borderline psychopathic son. He falls in love with a new girl in town. Things take a tragic turn and the mother will not stop until her son is happy even if it means finding him a bride to join him in the afterlife.
Are you scared yet?
Everyone knows that Asian ghosts are waaaaay creepier than mat salleh ghosts (Poltergeists? Please). Folklore premieres on 7 October at 10pm on HBO (Astro channel 411/431 HD), so prepare to sit back and be scared, Asian style!