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 :
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]?
4 Responses to Taoist Horror Movies
It’s quite an interesting question whether there could be a Taoist horror movie — as opposed to a horror movie that just references Taoism. I’m inclined at first blush to think there can be no such thing.
I tend to agree with you. It’s an interesting thought, though!
I think that many horror films deal in oppositions rather than polarities, with their ultimate goal being that either good or evil must prevail over the other by the film’s end. Perhaps if a horror film is to be Taoist in its principles on the whole, then this would mean that it essentially finds a way of showing that ‘opposing’ forces such as good and evil are in fact mutually indispensable.
In this vein, I’m reminded of The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014), in which a mother and her son are plagued by manifestations of her grief over the death of her husband and the guilt that she feels for increasingly laying blame upon the troubled child.
By the film’s end, it becomes clear that the key to her ability to go forward is not the total banishment of these emotions that are plaguing her on an increasingly physical level, but rather her acceptance that these are unavoidable truths in what it means to be human. As she finds this balance within herself, the harmony is naturally restored in that which surrounds her and she learns to live with the ‘monster’ (quite literally represented in the film’s final sequence).
I really enjoyed this film and I am very interested in the existence of other horror films that handle their subjects in a similar way.
Your comment makes a great deal of sense. And I loved The Babadook. If I come across any other films like that, I’ll blog about them!
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂