Asian hauntings: Horror cinema, global capitalism and the reconciliation of alterity?
In contemporary global capitalism, a tension that destabilizes the signifier ‘Asia(n)’ is the very ‘impossibility of the thing [signified]’.2 The appearance of Asia as a regional bloc is then, at best, the outcome of a formative process that has suppressed and disciplined ‘internal contradictions . . . for the sake of commensurability and compatibility within the global distribution of cultural power’.3 With this in mind, the emergence of Asian cinema, though a contentious term in itself, must be recognized as an important representational medium that explores and gives expression to the issues that undergird constructions of regionalism.4 In this regard, this chapter takes as its specific focus of analysis the genre of Asian horror cinema. It maintains that Asian horror films must be seen as a body of interconnected texts through which the semiotics of Asia’s ‘cultural, political and economic self-definition’5 is produced and circulated. Accordingly, a central question drives this chapter: what do Asian horror films reveal about Asian identities?