Aom filming her scene for "Haunted Road 2".
Cinema Online recently had the chance to visit the set of China-Malaysia production, "Haunted Road 2". The horror movie, directed by Ryon Lee, was filming at Amber Court, Genting Highlands, a high-rise residential that is purported to be haunted in real life.
Ambience is everything
We got to see Thai actress Sushar Manaying a.k.a. Aom in action as she filmed a scary scene and talked to Chinese actor Leon Li and the director himself about their experiences filming in the eerie place.
Read on below to find out what we learned from this 'spook-tastic' experience.
That red figure – oh, it's a real human being, phew! (...Or is it?)
When you're filming a horror movie, it is crucial to get the environment right. And what better way to bring out the true horror from the depth of your cast and crew's hearts than to do the filming on an allegedly real haunted place.
Welcome to Amber Court. While it has the look and feel of a desolate place, it is not, in fact, an abandoned building. It is occupied by mostly foreign construction site workers, who seemed to work late into the night. Our visit was done during the night and even then there was an endless stream of hard-hatted men going up and down the elevator (there was more than one but only one was functional) and staircase.
The residence is located roughly 15 minutes away from the famous First World Hotel but it sure is worlds apart in terms of its hospitality level. The moment we embarked on the dark, winding road leading to the top of the hill where the apartment is located, a sense of dread blanketed us (no one enjoys a road trip along an unlit, suspicious-looking path to a remote area). The street lights only came into view as we neared the apartment, and with that the looming presence of the towering bleak-looking residential blocks.
The dusty countertop, tattered wallpapers,
foreboding corners and murky aquarium lend a surreal quality to the ambience.
House 1174 – every building has that one house...
The one on the right, a family actually lives in the house next to it.
Amber Court is purported to be teeming with ghosts in real life, and one such dwelling where a spirit is said to reside is house number 1174.
When we arrived at the location, we had to wait at said house – where we were also to do a group interview with the cast and director later on – before we could get to see the filming being done at another house. While waiting we had the chance to roam around. As we ventured into one of the house's two bedrooms (which was oddly brightly lit while the other was left in darkness), we noticed that there was incense burning at one corner of the room. Sensing something not quite right in the air, we quickly snapped some photos before retreating to the living room.
Once we returned to the house (we momentarily left to the filming set at another house – read below), we noticed that the bedroom door was now closed with a "No Entry" signed hanging on it. We eventually found out from the crew that someone committed suicide in the room, hence the reason a restless spirit supposedly dwells there. Actor Leon Li's fear of the house even prompted him to not enter it at all, unless it was full of normal, breathing human.
Clockwise from top right: the darkened bathroom where the incident happened,
the incense, the empty room and the No Entry sign hanging on the door.
See how the cast brings it on set
Aom getting ready to film in a 'haunted' bedroom.
The filming for the movie was done at several locations on the 14th floor of the building. During our visit, a filming was taking place in one of the houses' bedroom. Since there was limited space, the media had to take turns to squeeze into the small room where Aom was filming a scary scene. We stood behind the crew and the moment the director yelled out "Action!", we remained absolutely still as we watched the petite actress take her place at the edge of the bed and start looking distressed as though she was feeling an ominous presence in the room.
After several takes (of the Thai actress being harassed by an 'invisible entity' and repeatedly screaming her head off), the filming took a short break and the media filed out of the room. We didn't get the chance to see any other cast members in action as only Aom was involved in the scenes they were filming at the time.
Aom putting her game face on before the camera rolls.
Director Ryon Lee showing off a photo that accompanies his Mannequin Mystery story.
What's a haunted set without a haunted story to go along with it, right? While talking to director Ryon Lee, he revealed to the media a mysterious occurrence that happened to one of the props, even producing a photo to further heighten the impact of his story (which this writer shall now dub the Mannequin Mystery).
It involves a limbless mannequin and a locked room. He said that the mannequin was placed in storage one fateful night as it wasn't in use. The next morning, a crew member – the first to open the locked room since the mannequin was placed inside – unlocked the door only to find that the mannequin had mysteriously moved from a lying down position away from the door to being in an upright position facing the door. Goosebumps were no doubt aplenty that morning when the tale spread from the frightened crew to the rest of the production team on set.
It was also revealed that the crew members preferred to stay at another nearby, less spooky apartment, located on another hilltop just across from this one. At night, when they looked out of their apartment windows, they allegedly could see unexplainable sightings at Amber Court.
The director and cast telling members of the media about their spooky experiences.
Beware of ghosts
Of course, since this is a filming for a haunted movie, brace yourself for some ghosts wandering around. We don't mean that in the literal, spiritual sense though, don't worry. We only mean seeing a member of the cast made up in spooky makeup and draped in the standard issue ghost-white getup wandering the halls. Or in this case, waiting behind doors to jump at you. Good thing our bunch was made up of pretty resilient 'ghost hunters', so no one fell for her trick. Having failed to scare us, the 'ghost' turned into a model and compliantly posed for some photos instead.
Not so scary once you realise it's just an actress walking around in flip flops waiting for her turn to film.
"Haunted Road 2" is expected to be released in April 2017, just in time for the Qingming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day.
Cinema Online, 02 July 2016