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The Terrifying Appeal: Why Southeast Asians Love Horror Movies

The Terrifying Appeal: Why Southeast Asians Love Horror Movies

Southeast Asian audiences have long been known for their love of horror movies, and this trend has only been growing in recent years. As Netflix reports, the streaming service has seen a significant increase in viewership for horror content in Southeast Asia, with many of the most popular titles coming from the region itself.

One of the reasons for this trend is the cultural fascination with the supernatural and the paranormal. Many Southeast Asian countries have deeply rooted beliefs in ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural beings, and these beliefs often find their way into popular culture. As Dr. Lynne D. Roberts explains: "The supernatural is a big part of Southeast Asian culture, and horror movies tap into that fascination."

Another reason why horror movies are so popular in Southeast Asia is the desire for a shared experience. Many people in the region enjoy watching movies with friends and family members, and horror movies can be a particularly effective way to bring people together. As Dr. Ben Murtagh notes: "Horror movies are an experience that people want to share with others. They can be a bonding experience, a way to prove your bravery or just a fun way to spend time with loved ones."

In addition to these cultural and social factors, there are also practical reasons why horror movies are popular in Southeast Asia. As Netflix reports, horror movies tend to be relatively cheap to produce, which makes them attractive to filmmakers and studios. Furthermore, horror movies can be a way for new and emerging filmmakers to break into the industry and showcase their talent.

Finally, horror movies can also be a way for Southeast Asian audiences to explore and critique social issues. As Dr. Murtagh notes: "Horror movies often have a subtext that critiques social issues, such as gender inequality or corruption. By wrapping these issues in a horror movie, filmmakers can get people to think about them in a new way."

Overall, the popularity of horror movies in Southeast Asia can be attributed to a variety of factors, including cultural beliefs, the desire for shared experiences, the practical considerations of filmmaking, and the ability of horror movies to address social issues. As Netflix continues to invest in horror content from the region, it is clear that Southeast Asian audiences will continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of the genre.


"Southeast Asia Horror Content Increases Viewing Hours". Netflix. Retrieved 27 March 2023.

Murtagh, B. (2017). The attraction of horror: Why we love to be terrified. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Roberts, L. D. (2018). Southeast Asian horror cinema. In J. Mathews (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Southeast Asia (pp. 499-511). New York: Routledge.


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