The last time 8 DAYS spoke to Glen Goei was in 2009, back when he was busy promoting his second directorial feature, The Blue Mansion. That Adrian Pang-starring dysfunctional family black comedy was the long-awaited follow-up to the theatre doyen's disco-tinged nostalgia-fest debut, Forever Fever, which was released eleven years earlier.
When asked if we had to wait another decade to see his next movie, Goei said then, “I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t foresee what I’m going to do next; it all depends on whether there’s a story to tell.” Turns out we really did have to wait that long for his next big-screen venture to come to fruition.
Revenge of the Pontianak, which opened last week, is Goei’s take on the legend of pontianak, the vampiric ghost of a woman whose spirit is trapped in banana trees after she died during childbirth. The 1960s-set story stars Remy Ishak and Shenty Feliziana as newlyweds in a kampong who are stalked by the titular phantom menace (Nur Fazura).
Goei, who’s also the co-artistic director of theatre company Wild Rice, co-wrote and co-directed the Malay-language movie with Malaysian writer-director Gavin Yap; the script was penned in English and translated into Malay by local playwright Alfian Sa’at.
While Goei may be a horror neophyte, this isn’t the first time he has dealt with wandering spirits, malicious or otherwise. “If you look at all my three films, they seem to have a ghost character in them,” says Goei, 57, referring to the John Travolta-lookalike guardian angel in Forever Fever and Patrick Teoh’s lingering spectre in The Blue Mansion.
“Even though I’m not a horror filmmaker, I seem to have an affinity to ghosts,” he adds. Here, Goei tells us more about the making of Revenge of the Pontianak during a break from prepping Emily of Emerald Hill for its three-week run starting this Wednesday (Sept 4).
1/41/4Giving pointers: Glen Goei on the set of 'Revenge of the Pontianak' in Hulu Langat, Selangor.
2/42/4Between takes: Goei with (from left) co-director Gavin Yap, and actors Remy Ishak and Nur Fazura.
3/43/4Something wicked this way comes: the pontianak (Nur Fazura) makes an unannounced visit.
4/44/4Woman in red: Nur Fazura as Mina the she-demon with a bone to pick with the living.