While glittery vampires camp it up and cause box office queues, and Japanese-style ghosts flit and flutter across video tapes and down phone lines, spare a thought for Thailand's odd assortment of ghosts and ghouls. For the most part, Thailand's ghosts just can't get any international cinematic respect. Of course, there have been exceptions - Nonzee Nimbutr's 1999 film Nang Nak achieved international success and critical acclaim for his polished retelling of the legend of a Bangkok woman who dies in childbirth after her husband goes to war but so strong is her love that she stays around in spirit form. Since then, break-out films such as Bangkok Haunted, directed by Pisuth Praesaeng-lam and Hong Kong-born Oxide Pang, and the 2004 smash Shutter by Banjong Pisonthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, have tended to be strongly influenced by Japanese movies such as The Ring and The Grudge. But Thailand has one of Asia's richest and weirdest collection of home-grown spooks. There is the Phi Kraseu - a female spirit whose head separates from its body at night and floats through the sky with its entrails dangling beneath it, feasting only on fresh faeces; her male equivalent, the Phi Krahaeng, prefers his excrement dry. There is Phi Am, who sits on your chest and pins you to the bed; Phi Brairt, a hulking ghost with a tiny mouth. And finally, the Phi Pob, a possessing spirit who turns its victims into zombie-like creatures with an insatiable appetite for viscera. Will any of them ever get their day in the sun, or at least their night in the spotlight? The latter is the protagonist of a long-running series of films dubbed Ban Phi Pob (Village of the Gut-Sucking Ghost) which, since 1987, have been splattering Thai cinema screens in equal parts slapstick and innards. The 13th film in the series, Ban Phi Pob: Reformation, has just opened in Bangkok. Will this be the gut-sucking ghost's big break? Respected Bangkok film critic Kong Rithdee doesn't think so: 'The longstanding reputation of the franchise rests solely on its star: a middle-aged female ghoul that chases its victims around a rural setting in chaotic setpieces that are usually more comedic than frightening.' He notes, however, that the Phi Pob 'has confirmed its place in our cultural history. The series has attained a cult-like status and its origin in the folklore of a rural banshee who feasts on bloody intestines shows the persistence of an ancient, regional narrative.' The series has made a star of Natanee Sitthisaman, now in her 60s, who has appeared in almost all of the Phi Pob films as the titular gut-sucker. In the latest film, she rides a flying skateboard and seeks medical help for her grisly obsession. Reformation's director Sophon Nim-anong admits he probably hasn't helmed a new masterpiece of Thai cinematic terror. 'The series is pretty silly,' he admits. 'But I would ask viewers to give the new one a chance. It's a more contemporary twist.'