New Straits Times
Inthe world of Toyol
The stars of HBO’s horror anthology Folklore tell Syahirah Mokhtazar about the Malaysian episode
AWARD-WINNING actor and director Bront Palarae has become synonymous with horror films in the recent years, especially after the much talked-about Indonesian horror flick, Pengabdi Setan, in which he starred as the lead.
Riding on the success of the horror flick, Bront promised himself to steer away from the horror genre, at least for another three to four years. But Bront couldn’t resist a role in HBO’s horror anthology series Folklore after reading the script.
Folklore has six hour-long episodes set in six countries: Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. Each episode is helmed by directors from the respective countries.
The series seeks to showcase the type of horror characteristic of each country and explore societal dysfunctions using themes that resonate across the continent.
Bront stars in the Malaysian episode alongside award-winning actress Nabila Huda. Every episode explores the world of spirits, demons and ghosts unique to each country. Malaysia’s episode is directed by Ho Yuhang and themed Toyol, which refers to a goblin-like creature or a mythical spirit that uses black magic for selfish or petty gains. Summoning a Toyol can extract a terrible cost and should not be trifled with.
Butthe Folklore’s version of Toyol has its own twist and will send chills down your spine and keep you awake thinking about the storyline that’s full of surprises.
“After reading the script, I immediately felt goosebumps. I knew it would be a good story. I would have beaten myself up if I had rejected this offer!” said Bront.
The 40-year-old artiste plays a politician desperate to revive his town’s economy. When he turns to a mysterious woman with shamanistic powers, his troubles are solved, but their eventual romantic involvement soon gives way to her dark and troubling secret.
Bront said it was a challenging role but he had a good time on set, nevertheless.
When asked if he experienced any spooky incident on set, his hilarious reply was: “Nothing scary happened on set, but then I was spooked enough just by looking at my co-star Nabila!”
Nabila shot back in jest that one of the most challenging parts of being on set had been acting alongside Bront. Why? “Because he constantly tried to make me laugh! He’s so funny.”
Nabila’s character is creepy yet seductive. She joked that her character is a reflection of her in real life. “I feel like my character and I are the same person!”
Jokes aside, the actress is thrilled to have landed an opportunity with HBO for the first time.
“To be able to expose my craft beyond the Malaysian film industry was an opportunity I couldn’t resist,” she said. “It’s exciting seeing myself on HBO, as this is a channel for international movies,” she added.
“Plus I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to work with Bront. What I like about the plot is that the ending will leave you asking many questions. The plot twist is mindblowing and will keep you up at night.”
After reading the script, I immediately felt goosebumps. I knew it would be a good story.