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Publication Date : 07-08-2013
Ghosts from some of Thailand's best-loved horror flicks will haunt Sentosa for Halloween
Confirming Thailand’s reputation for producing really scary movies, Sentosa Resorts in Singapore recently signed a deal with GTH that will see five of the studio's popular horror flicks, including Shutter and Pee Mak morph into haunted houses this October for the island's Halloween Spooktacular.
Synonymous with Asia's scariest fun, Spooktacular Halloween began four years ago after a team from Sentosa visited the US and discovered the marketing potential for a similar event back home.
"Over there, organisers create a different experience every October. We wanted to bring that concept to Singapore. Here in Asia, we don't really celebrate Halloween all that much so we are going for scary stuff with an Asian-theme," says David Goh, the senior division director of Sentosa.
Featuring haunted houses and other activities, the annual night-time festival has been a great success, with tickets being snapped up the moment they go on sale.
After last year's event, the team decided they wanted to turn horror-movie experiences into real-life haunted houses. And because Singapore filmgoers seem to have a particular penchant for Thai-style horror, the GTH movies were the obvious choice.
"It's very hard to explain why we like Thai horror so much, but looking at the Asian horror film industry, Thai movies stand out. They touch something you can't explain. They bring your nightmares to the screen so accurately and GTH is very successful with internationally acclaimed movies alike Shutter and the latest Pee Mak," says Goh.
"It's a great opportunity for us to explore our content in different forms," says GTH's international sales executive Yongyooth Thongkongtoon. "Thai horror films don't just spook audiences but bring a greater depth of drama to the screen. I think our movies relate to the belief in karma and this, of course, touches something in Asian filmgoers."
GTH execs were initially wary of Sentosa's approach, Yongyooth says.
"We weren't quite sure what they wanted us to do. But after we talked, it seemed like destiny. We had already set up a haunted house pavilion during the GMM Experience expo last year and that was close to what they were looking for," he says.
He and other members of the GTH team went to Singapore and spent time at the proposed location, Fort Siloso. They surveyed the area, walked around at night and quickly released that the dark, gloomy and isolated spot was ideal.
In addition to Shutter and Pee Mak Phra Khanong, three other films have been chosen for the theme park - Body, Dek Hor (Dorm) and Programme Na Winyarn Arkhad (Coming Soon).
Among the team directors take part in putting it all together are self-confessed theme-park geeks Parkpoom Wongpoom, who co-directed Shutter, and Paween Purijitpanya of Body fame.
"Once, when we took our movies overseas to a film festival, we went to a theme park 10 days in a row and had a go on every ride," says Paween.
And even though they didn't visit any haunted houses, they say their obsession with theme parks has helped them design an attraction that will be scary yet fun.
Paween says Thai celebrations of Halloween tend to be limited to parties in RCA or Silom pubs while Bangkok's haunted houses like Mansion 7 or the Bloody Hospital are less popular.
"Sentosa has created its own stories for the event in previous years but this time with our popular ghost movies and famous ghosts, visitors will enjoy much more excitement," says Paween.
Parkpoom says creating the haunted houses is really just about writing the script and selecting the most terrifying scenes from each film to serve as the sets.
"The visitors are the characters who are trapped in the situation and have to accomplish a mission in each zone so that they can move to the next spot. Each mission will relate to the story's characters, such as putting body parts together at the 'Body' house while at the 'Pee Mak' house, visitors will have to practise Pee Mak's kong pan dance. They can't get out until they do it properly," he says with a wicked laugh.
Paween adds that Chaba, the ghost from the movie Coming Soon, will be the event's hostess, waking up the four other ghosts from the big screen.
The Thai contribution is about 80 per cent complete with the mock ups and mechanic models soon ready for shipment to Singapore. For their part, the Sentosa team is working on preparing the houses. The whole project is budgeted at around US$1 million.
"The process is much like filmmaking. We have an art director and hold auditions for the actors who will portray the ghosts," says Parkpoom
Spooktacular will open with a sneak preview on October 18, when GTH will take actors and directors including the Pee Mak gang to the Pee Mak house to teach visitors the dance.
"It's very detailed project," says Paween. "Visitors will have to spend four hours going from house to house. I think it will be just as exciting as the Transformer rides at Universal Studios."
There's a preview on October 18 but tickets have already sold out. However, there are 200 tickets on reserve for Thais only. They cost S$40.60 (US$32).
Spooktacular opens to the public on on October 19, 25 and 26 and October 31 to November 2, from 7 to 11 nightly.
Visitor numbers are limited to 1,500 per night divided into groups of eight.
Tickets costs S$56.60 for early-bird reservation from October 1 to 15. After that, prices are S$66.60.
Thais can get tickets through GTMS. Call (02) 687 0787 or e-mailing Holiday Asia at email@example.com. For more information, click www.Spooktacular.com.sg.