by Lash

Why do people watch horror movies to scare themselves silly? Whenever a door slams itself shut suddenly, do you get a kick hearing the unexpected shrieks? After a cat jumps across the screen out of nowhere, do the nervous giggles make you snigger in glee? Or for the guys, do you take the opportunity to put your arms around the girls’ shoulders every time there is an on-screen scare?

Overseas productions aside - when was the last time you were truly spooked by a local horror movie? While Cheng Ding An’s Ghost on Air (2012), Chia Yee Wei’s Blood Ties (2009) and Kelvin Tong’s The Maid (2005) each has its merits, we don’t remember any spine-tingling sensation after catching those flicks.

How does writer-director and co-producer Tony Kern ’s Afterimages fare? After two previous features (documentary A Month of Hungry Ghosts and lost-footage drama Haunted Changi), which are both horror flicks, Kern has grasped the art of scaring his audiences. Just by watching the promotional trailers, you are right to think Kern’s third big-screen work will deliver spine-tingling fear.

The Singapore-based American Kern brings you five short horror stories that unfold when a group of students burns paper effigy cameras for the wandering spirits. It happens during the ghost month, and surprise – the students receive films in return. From a swimming pool drowning and a horrible suicide, to a woman who’s obsessed with beauty and a dismembered corpse, the students realise that there is a price to be paid for asking the dead to produce your films.

This production was a commercial hit because people like to pay to scare themselves silly in the theatres. Plus the fact that this movie is rated NC16 by the film regulatory board means it’s got some good scares to offer – and truly it does.

While there is no excessive blood and gore in this film, the scenes are intense and there is little breathing space in between the sequences. Watch helplessly as a man struggles underwater against an unseen force in a swimming pool; an angry female ghost forces herself through the grilles of a prison cell, and our favourite: a woman slits her face with a pair of scissors, before gouging under the skin to remove needles that she believes had been implanted there.

Kern does good work linking the stories together before the big finale. The ensemble cast delivers what they are supposed to do. Veteran members like Vincent Tee, Mike Kasem and Daniel Jenkins are wonderful in their roles. Meanwhile, household names and familiar faces like Lim Yu Beng, Pamelyn Chee, Lim Kay Tong and Keagan Kang also pop up to add star power.

This collection of horror stories delivers in the scare department - something we've been missing in local horror movies. Get ready to uncover some old-school scary fun. 

We chatted with one of the Afterimages cast- Mike Kasem, on this experience filming the horror movie. Kasem, son of the late legendary American radio DJ Casey Kasem, is a multi-faceted entertainer, having been a TV host, an MTV VJ and a DJ. He now co-hosts the morning drive time show 'LIVE!’ with  Mike and Vernetta from 6 am to 10 am on GOLD 905!

1. What was it about this movie that made you say yes?
I took on this role because of director Tony Kern’s enthusiasm and talent. When you get a chance to work with someone who can get the best out of you as an actor, it makes all the difference. He keeps the set fun and easy.

2. Being a horror film, were there strange things that happened on set? 
I wish I had stories of strange things that happened during the filming of Afterimages but I don’t. I suppose the most impressive to me is that while holed up in an elevator shaft (required for my scenes in the movie) for a week straight, nobody let out a fart. That could have been disastrous!

3. How was the acting experience like for you?
It was a tremendous experience as this was my first horror film. You get to draw on different emotions than you would normally, and deliver lines while impending doom is setting into everyone’s minds. It’s a fun progression, despite the gloomy outlook of the film.

4. Would you film another movie, should an opportunity came along?   
I’ve been blessed, not long after Afterimages, I booked a substantial role in a Singapore film based on the birth of Singapore as an independent country during the time of the riots, called 1965. I was fresh off the set of Tony’s film and was eager to pursue more roles. I have since been in many of Singapore’s sketch comedy series and now have a recurring role on channel 5’s hit Tanglin.

5. Which are your favourite horror movies?
Ironically, I’m not a horror film fan at all! I hate watching a film to just be scared, but there are some films that I like bordering on horror, like The Sixth Sense and World War Z.