KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Director Ho Yuhang wants to do a horror movie next, and maybe some short films.
Ho, whose latest film Mrs K opens in cinemas on September 7, said he is not even a big fan of horror films, but said his friend’s story which inspired his next project fits nicely in the genre.
“I mean I love some horror films like The Shining, The Exorcist... I think they are really great horror films... The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but I don’t actively watch horror films.
“Like if I watch 10 films in a row, maybe one would be a horror film or maybe none,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview, adding however that he hates horror films like The Conjuring and Saw.
“I cannot stand those that’s why I don’t watch many horror films because usually they are very terrible. Usually when I watch horror I would laugh because it’s kind of silly, because you kind of know what they are going to do.”
Ho said he is currently writing the script for the horror film, adding that it will have supernatural and body horror elements but will not use jump scare tactics or ghosts.
“Actually it’s a friend’s family story I met this old friend I hadn’t seen for a while, we started talking and he told me what happened to his father. I said wow, and this seems like a folk legend kind of story, that’s why I really liked it.
“I said can I take it and expand it, so I expanded the story and the scope became bigger... I just feel it fits quite well in the horror genre,” he added.
“I will shoot it here, I think this is something that could only happen here, that’s why I want to shoot it here. It’s a very Malaysian story, so it will have a Malaysian cast.
“I want to find a town to shoot in so it won’t be in KL probably north of here like somewhere in Perak or Kedah,” said Ho, who was born and raised in Petaling Jaya.
Ho said he is writing a role in his horror film project for actor Faizal Hussein who also appeared in Mrs K.
“I think in this horror story he appears a bit later, but it’s like ‘Wow, who is this guy?’ Also something quite different, not like the Mrs K role obviously. Because this horror film is not an action film and it’s also not a hantu (ghost) film because there are too many hantu films already and they all look the same,” he said.
Faizal has appeared in over 40 films including one or two horror films like Gudang Kubur (2015) where he acted as the owner of a haunted factory built above a graveyard, but he said he prefers not to act in such movies due to the working hours where filming is inevitably done overnight from 8pm until sunrise.
Both Faizal and Ho are fans of each other’s work. Their first time working together was in local award-winning film Bunohan (2012), where director Dain Iskandar Said cast Ho in as a cameo character who was violently killed by Faizal’s character.
Interestingly, Dain has a cameo in Mrs K.
Funding and shooting
Ho is still working on the script but once complete, he will have to look for funding.
In the case of Mrs K, Ho said it took two to three years for his producers to find the funding, eventually receiving a budget of between RM5 million to RM6 million from Malaysia’s government-backed Sonneratia Capital and Hong Kong’s Emperor Film Production Company Limited.
Ho’s past feature-length projects were made with budgets ranging from RM500,000 to RM800,000 and funding was sourced abroad; Rain Dogs (2006) was funded by Hong Kong actor Andy Lau’s company and At the End of Daybreak (2009) which had a budget of between RM600,000 to RM700,000 was partly funded by a Korean company.
While Mrs K is Ho’s first action movie and also his first commercial film, he said his past films — seen as arthouse in nature — did not incur losses.
“Actually they are all commercial, I didn’t lose money before because they didn’t cost a lot, so I sold everywhere and made money back,” he said.
With the budget for Mrs K which represents quite a “big jump” compared to his previous projects, Ho said he had a bigger cast and bigger team this time around — including a Hong Kong choreographer — and longer shooting days compared to over 20 days in the past.
He said Mrs K was filmed within budget and within the 45-day schedule, with meticulous planning allowing for the film crew to have sufficient time to overcome problems such as the year-end rainy season in Malaysia.
Making Mrs K does not mean that Ho is done with making arthouse films. He said he wants to shoot a low-budget short film with friends for fun.
“After I shot Mrs K, I thought of not shooting any more movies and just becoming a writer, write a novel or something then I don’t have to deal with people, I deal with publisher only. I want to write, actually I’m always writing something so they may become a collection of short stories we will see,” he said.
He also said that he would not mind producing a film or editing one shot by others.
“I’m not limiting myself [to only doing films]. I used to play music but I don’t anymore, but I would love to produce an album. Don’t have to be only film, I mean film is something I’m quite familiar with,” he said.