The buzz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 October, 2010, 12:00am

It's almost that time of the year when Hong Kong becomes obsessed by the age-old festival marking the night when the border between our world and the afterlife disappears and the spirits of the dearly departed walk the earth.

No, I'm not talking about the Hungry Ghost Festival, but Halloween - which in Hong Kong appears to have supplanted many traditional Chinese festivals in terms of excitement levels, at least among the younger generation.

And apart from the various celebrations planned to mark Halloween this year - from huge dance parties to themed events at the big theme parks - there's also an obvious undercurrent of the macabre at silver screens and on stages throughout town over the coming weeks.

In the world of film, the Pang Brothers of Danny and Oxide are always guaranteed for a good scare - who could forget the chilling lift scene in The Eye, for example? Now they're back - and this time in 3-D - with Child's Eye, in which a bunch of young Hongkongers confront some paranormal goings-on at a grimy hotel in Bangkok.

Supernatural-obsessed filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has experienced a number of misses since his first big hit with Sixth Sense, in 1999, not least the deplorable Lady in the Water. Now showing at cinemas is Devil - a film based on a story by Shyamalan which has also received mixed reviews. We're intrigued by the premise, though: six people are trapped in a suspended lift, one of whom is the devil.

And similar to the resilience of its zombie stars, the Resident Evil series keeps clinging to life. Resident Evil: Afterlife is the fourth film in the franchise and has scored a miserable 26 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, but could be worth watching just to see Milla Jovovich looking awesome as she lays waste to the undead - this time in 3-D.

Fans of the theatre have a more highbrow way of marking Halloween, however. From November 2-6, Hong Kong Microfest will be staging Doctor Faustus at the Fringe Club. First performed in 1594, the play by English dramatist Christopher Marlowe tells the tale of the original Faustian pact in which a theologian sells his soul to the devil in return for magical powers. It won't all be heavy going, though: the performers will be highlighting the play's lighter elements using puppetry and physical theatre.

And Halloween wouldn't feel the same without the Rocky Horror Show, the 37-year-old comedy-rock show about transvestite Transylvanians and twisted sex. A cast of 40 international actors has been assembled for the shows running from October 27-31 at the Hong Kong Arts Centre's Shouson Theatre - including a special Halloween show at midnight on October 30, which promises to be a riot.

Finally, in the world of music things don't get much darker than death metal, so mainland quartet Suffocated will be arriving in town on November 6 for a gig at Rock School at a very appropriate time. The Beijing headbangers have been plying their dark and heavy trade since 1997, inspiring a whole new breed of mainland death metal bands in the process, and are renowned for staging a brutal live show.

A very Happy Halloween from Going Out.