Halloween Horror Nights is back again, this time with a Thai twist.
With snake coils for a crown, scales for skin and green eyes that entice you to come closer into her temple grounds, the Serpentine Spirit patiently awaits the lone wanderer as they stumble through the dark, dense undergrowth before striking her prey. I’m frozen to the ground. There’s no way out except to dodge her long claws. Fail, and you’ll find yourself engulfed in the stench of the rotting flesh of the spirit’s insides.
Hitting closer to home, lying in the shadows of a tired, decrepit chalet is the Langsuir; a vengeful Malay spirit. Her bloodshot eyes canvas any who dare enter the haunted chalet. Her mouth and her fingertips are covered in blood, fresh from her most recent feast of bodies. She’s ready for her next meal. That is if you’re not already eaten alive by the other wandering Southeast Asian ghouls hiding in the chalet compound.
The depiction of these two spirits is par for the course of the annual Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) and is an anticipated event for those on the lookout for a good scare. I was invited to experience two out of five of the haunted houses—Curse of the Naga and The Chalet Hauntings—in the lead up to its opening on 27th September.
Curse of the Naga is the highlight of this year’s HHN. Curated by Thai directors of horror hits 4Bia and Shutter—Parkpoom Wongpoom and Gunn Purijitpanya—the haunted house marks the event’s inaugural regional collaboration in the creation of an original haunted house.
The house is inspired by one of the many curious Thai traditions—drinking the blood of a snake as a health tonic. However, instead of health benefits, here, drinking one of these “shots” will turn you into one of the Serpentine Spirit’s foot soldiers.
You’re immediately transported from the regular Universal Studios theme park into the mise en scène of the streets of Bangkok complete with a bustling night market reminiscent of Chatuchak Market. The entrance of Curse of the Naga is concealed by a side alley, away from the bright lights and commotion of the nightlife.
Being very visual filmmakers, the directors made sure that the house was authentically Thai—importing not just the fabric for the costumes but also props like worship shrines, incense and even making sure the language was not a badly Google-translated version of the Thai dialect. Even with all its lights on and no scare actors in position, the ambience in the house made my hair stand at attention.
The haunted house also experiments with tactile feedback—sound vibrations, sharp blackouts and animatronics—to boost your scare experience. As I gingerly trudge through the twists and turns and brave the undergrowth of an abandoned village, I lost count of all the corners that are perfect for multiple jump scare opportunities.
We are then transported from the Land of Smiles to Singapore’s common past-time—chalet staycations. The Chalet Hauntings features the most extensive collection of Southeast Asian ghosts in a single house; from the demented Pocong, demonic Toyol, Hantu Galah, and of course the bloodthirsty Langsuir.
The looming dilapidated structure of the chalet at Block E stands at the end of Frangipani Road, complete with a makeshift barbecue pit and fake lizards on the walls. As you prepare to enter through the doors, you’re greeted by the strong, sweet smell of frangipani flowers—a timely, yet a classic indication of a malevolent presence close by.
Shoes are scattered haphazardly at the entrance, the beds are unmade, fans were left switched on, and potato chip bags were strewn everywhere. From the abandoned living room to a long corridor of doors, you’ll find yourself cautiously making your way through not knowing what unexpected visitor will greet you at any point.
I managed to survive the preview, but barely. Just a taste of the two haunted houses has already left me with a constant uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. In addition to being one of the victims of a snake spirit and perhaps a Langsuir’s dinner, attempt to survive in Hell Block 9’s vile prison amongst the tormented and watch as your childhood fears of dolls and clowns come to life in Clown University and the Spirit Dolls haunted houses.
It’s Halloween, baby, and HHN9 is ready to turn your worst nightmares into a complete and fear-inducing reality.
S$60 (non-peak nights) & S$70 (peak nights)
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