I arrived at work very early one morning, and as soon as I stepped off the elevator a call bell was ringing. I answered it, and it was a resident asking if someone could come into his room and turn the light on. I went into the room and asked what he needed, and he said, “There’s a man on my ceiling! Do you see him? Get him out of here!” The resident had the most terrified look on his face. I assured the resident that no one was there. I even pulled the curtain back to show him. He looked frightened and said, “He’s right there! Turn the light on! He keeps looking at me!”
Humper Monkey’s Ghost Story has just about everything you could ask for in a haunted building story. Inexplicable occurrences, dead bodies, a Nazi past, and lots of general creepiness. Oh, and it’s theoretically true. It seems to have originally been posted on Something Awful.
Be forewarned that it’s really long; plan to set aside an hour or two if you want to read the whole thing, as it’s easily novella length.
Director: Chao-Bin Su
Writer: Chao-Bin Su
Cast: Chen Chang, Yosuke Eguchi, Kuan-Po Chen, Kar Yan Lam, Barbie Hsu, Bo-lin Chen, Chun-Ning Chang, Fang Wan,
I can honestly say that this is the first horror movie I’ve seen using fractals as the main plot device.
A modestly-budgeted Taiwanese film, Silk follows a team of researchers using a Menger Sponge in an attempt to trap a ghost, ostensibly as part of government-funded anti-gravity research. More specifically, they plan to capture the ghost of a child trapped in a single room in a Taipei tenement, repeating the same actions over and over again. Hashimoto (Yosuke Eguchi) is the crippled leader of the team with an ulterior motive, while Tung (Chen Chang, the desert bandit love interest from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is the “man of action” brought in because of his skills at keen observation and lip-reading. Naturally, as the research progresses, complications ensue. For one thing, the ghost really doesn’t like people looking at him, and he can reach into their chests and stop their hearts…
This harks back to a number of early SF works on scientific methods for capturing ghosts or the soul. The Menger Sponge functions as a sort of universal plot device: because of its ability to store different wavelengths of energy, not only does Hashimoto intend to use it as a ghost storage jar, but they also use special Menger Sponge film to photograph the ghost, Menger Sponge eye-spray to see the ghost, coat the walls of the room to prevent the ghost from escaping, etc. It has just enough of a veneer of plausibility to engage your sense of disbelief, and is certainly more plausible than the magic icky fluid in District 9.
This is a very solid, well-paced ghost story with some intellectual novelty, albeit one that owes a number of stylistic elements to recent Japanese horror movies like Ringu and Ju-On. While modestly budgeted, it doesn’t come across as cheap, and the special effects are simple but effective. (The only place where they fail is in the CGI for an SUV crash, which looks like it could have been rendered in the latest Grand Theft Auto. Even so, it’s still miles above the digital bloodshed in Ugandan action films.) Best of all, they’ve eschewed all the boo-shock scares that infest modern horror films in favor of a certain amount of depth and subtlety.
The DVD contains deleted scenes and outtakes that were properly excised. However, do watch the director’s original ending, which is considerably darker, more effective, and more appropriate than the one in the film.
Here’s a trailer:
Like all fractals, Menger Sponges engender a certain geeky fascination, so I’ve found a couple of videos that show various Menger Sponge animations and recursions.