While Vietnam isn’t so big on Halloween, the younger generations have seemingly adapted to one of the most exciting and thrilling holidays celebrated around the world. Houses decorated with jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and webs aren’t too unfamiliar of a sight anymore.
However this year, while most of Vietnam has already lifted lockdown restrictions and people are now allowed to go out, the festivity won’t be as grand as it was before COVID-19. Instead of getting all dressed up in the scariest costumes and doing trick or treating with friends, kids are most likely spending Halloween inside their homes — probably still in costume.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have thrills and chills. There are a million horror movies, series and books available online. We curated a special list of Vietnamese movies on books that you can binge watch and read on Halloween with your family, or by yourself. Grab that popcorn and candies, and enjoy your own Halloween party at the safety and comfort of your home.
Người bất tử (The Immortal): A bloody journey that lasts for centuries
Centered on dark magic, Người bất tử is an extremely well-produced Vietnamese blockbuster horror film from Victor Vu, a celebrated Vietnamese-American film director.
Người bất tử is the twelfth feature film by Victor Vu. It depicts the story of Hung, an immortal man who’s already lived three centuries because of dark magic.
The film starts with An, a single mother who is always haunted by uncanny dreams and every morning she wakes up to find herself in a strange place with many scars and injuries on her body. An decides to find the truth to save her daughter. She goes up the mountain, and finds Hung's diary. She then learns about his bloody journey. As she digs deeper into Hung’s life, An sees the connection between Hung’s dark magic and the dreams that have haunted her.
Bóng ma nhà mệ Hoát: A painful piece of history
Written by Vietnamese journalist Vũ Bằng, Bóng ma nhà mệ Hoát is about the narrator’s painful memories. The fictional story dates back to 1945, when the Japanese military invaded. During this time, war, lust and evil tore the life of a woman, Hoat, and her only daughter.
Vũ Bằng’s unique story-telling is clearly showcased in this book, with all the unexpected details and plot twists that get readers hooked. More than the pain, suffering and tragedy, Bóng ma nhà mệ Hoát is also a depiction of the law of karma — whatever thoughts, deeds or energy you put out, you get back, good or bad. Many Vietnamese believe in this, this is why this literary masterpiece remains timeless even today.
Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn’s Horror Audiobook
Nguyễn Ngọc Ngạn is a Vietnamese-Canadian writer and television personality. His works are embedded deeply in the mind of most Vietnamese people and diasporas as the famous co–host of Paris By Night, a Vietnamese-language musical variety show since the 1980s.
Being generally praised as a talented writer with excellent scripts and charismatic story-telling skills, he is also renowned as a ghost story teller. One extraordinary thing is that his stories are done on audio, giving them a more mysterious, eerie vibe. Nguyễn knows how to narrate his stories, allowing his listeners to use their wild imagination.
Some of his best horror stories include Tiếng quạ réo vong hồn, Ngôi mộ mới đắp, Đêm trong căn nhà hoang, and Bóng ma bên cửa.
Mười: The Legend of a Portrait
Mười is a 2007 Vietnamese-Korean film that considerably awakened Vietnamese people's love for horror films again after years of the genre’s absence on the big screen. Mười depicts the story about Yoon Hee, a Korean female writer who has trouble finishing her story. The novelist decides to come to Vietnam to research about Mười, a local legend about a painting of a girl.
According to stories passed down from generation to generation, Mười is the 10th child in a large family. She's been possessed by an evil spirit ever since she was born.
Unlike most Vietnamese films that end with a good-wins-over-evil plot, Mười has an unhappy ending. The young girl’s soul remains lost and troubled, not able to find the light and the chance to finally rest in peace.