Tag Archives: Movies

Taoist Horror Movies

Believe it or not this phrase was a recent search term that lead someone to On the Other Hand.

It’s one of those terms that sticks with you. I’d never thought about what a Taoist horror movie would look like or even wondered if there was such a thing.

What makes a movie Taoist? Does a throwaway reference to Taoism count? What about any movie set in China that references ancestor spirits? Sometimes that’s about all that is used in North American horror movies when Christianity is dragged into the plot. It’s not surprising that there are films out there that do the same thing with other religious or philosophical beliefs. I just wonder where the line between Taoist horror movie and horror movie with vague references to Taoism is or should be drawn.

Time for some Internet research.

So it turns out that there (might be) such a thing as a Taoist horror movie :

Xiong Bang

Fei Taugh Mo Neuih

Shuang Tong

Wu Long Tian Shi Zhao Ji Gui

Or at least these are films that employ certain Taoist principles and ideas. I haven’t watched them so cannot say if they’re about as “Taoist” as a ghost story involving a priest and a crucifix could be said to be “Christian.” 😉


Have you seen any of these films? What did you think of them? Where do you draw the line between [noun] horror movie and horror movie that references [noun]?








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The Joy of Fear

Happy Halloween! Let’s talk about our favourite horror, ghost or supernatural tales today.

When I was nine or ten years old I checked a book of ghost stories out from the school library and snuck it home.

Mom found it, of course. Somehow parents almost always do. 😉 I don’t remember having a conversation about that specific book with her but the topic did come up again and again. She didn’t understand why I’d want to read or watch such dark material.

There’s more than one type of fear.

The terror that comes from someone physically harming you against your will is nothing at all like the extra squirt of adrenaline that is released with a spooky story. It’s like comparing Mount Everest to a pebble.

Take The Others, for example.

The protagonist, Grace, lives in an isolated mansion with her two young children who are extremely photosensitive. To protect them she creates a life that keeps them away from the sun but one of the side effects of her many rules is that the family is incredibly socially isolated. When Grace decides to hire a few servants to help keep the estate going until her husband returns from the war things start to get really weird.

There are some deliciously frightening scenes in this movie (and none of them were gory!) Why are the servants so secretive and bizarre? why did the strange entities begin moving around in her home at about the same time her servants arrived? will she ever hear from her husband again?

The process of figuring out the twist in this movie before it was revealed at the end was quite entertaining. All of the strange moments sprinkled through the film do eventually click into place and the most terrifying scenes actually end up providing the biggest clues.


What are your favourite spooky movies, books or television shows?


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Pacifists and Horror Flicks

Despite the title, this isn’t just about watching scary movies or about nonviolence.  It’s about being incongruent.  Yes, I’m a pacifist who loves (certain) horror flicks. Fear and anticipation are a delicious elixir when one knows that they are, without a doubt, absolutely safe. I don’t like blood and gore, torture, or graphic scenes of violence but I love suspense.  The types of horror flicks that interest me, then, tend to be psychological thrillers. I like a little intellectual stimulation and moral ambiguity with my adrenaline. It’s rare to find a horror movie that combines these elements artistically so I don’t watch very many of them.

And yet there’s a part of me that is uncomfortable with this. I don’t always even like to eat meat because  some animal – a cow, a chicken, a pig, a fish, some shrimp, occasionally a deer- had to die in order for me to eat that particular meal. I can’t stand the sight of someone else in pain  in real life, but the threat of it onscreen sometimes is a good thing for a plot. How do I justify these conflicting beliefs? Well, I don’t know that I ever have. I’ll often go a year or so between scary movies because I’m not sure how to, on the one hand, feel just a little guilty for eating meat when I willingly watch movies or TV shows that glorify violent responses to conflict.

The only real defence I can muster of the irregularities in my beliefs and actions in this regard is that stories aren’t real. If someone was actually being chased down the street by a knife-wielding fiend, if the dead really were restless, if aliens actually were on the warpath, I’d protect as many people as possible. Or maybe I’d run and hide with everyone else who doesn’t have super-strenght or a firearm. But I definitely wouldn’t think of it as entertainment in the even most embryonic sense of the term.

So, this is my half-formed thought of the day. What do you think?

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