Director Aidilfitri Mohamed Yunos is trying to bring back the feel of 1980s horror films with his latest flick Aku Haus Darah Mu.
“When I was growing up, watching horror films was one of the things that brought my family together. We watched films like The Thing and Nightmare On Elm Street,” he shared. Citing Rahsia and Misteri Rumah Tua – two 1987 horror movies starring Noor Kumalasari – as his inspirations, Aidil says that Aku Haus Darah Mu is of the same ilk.
“The opening scene of the film shows a walkman, which sort of stamps the decade. We also found a 1984 Mercedez Benz to keep with the timeline,” the director shared.
However, it wasn’t finding the props and costumes that proved challenging, Aidil confessed, but ensuring that the choreography of a dance sequence in the film was accurate.
“The dance is integral to the story. The dance moves had to have a ‘not-of-this world’ element reflecting movements of creatures and insects of the night like cockroaches, centipedes and such.”
Working with dancer Suhaili Micheline (of Aurora Dance School), they came up with the movements needed which took cast members Deanna Yusoff and Nad Zainal, as well as eight supporting actors, more than a month to master.
Even during the rehearsals, Aidil and Suhaili would still be tweaking the choreography in response to what the actors could and could not do. “There is a lot of crawling involved, so some moves had to be adjusted according to the actors’ capabilities without compromising the integrity of the script,” he said.
Aku Haus Darah Mu tells of an anthropologist – Lia, played by Nad – who is in search of a rare dance that is hardly practised anymore. Her search takes her, along with two colleagues (Farhanna Qismina and Zoey Rahman), to a village and an It old lodging run by a beautiful and mysterious woman (Deanna).
Lia realises that the dance may have a deeper connection to something supernatural.
The last time actress Deanna was seen on the big screen was in 2015 for the Singapore film 1965. Before agreeing to the role in Aku Haus Darah Mu, the 50-year-old actress wanted to have a look at the script first, as she is particular about the kind of roles she takes on.
“Deanna likes challenging roles; in this one she had to learn dancing and how to chant incantations. When she saw that in the script, she immediately said yes,” stated Aidil.
He added that Nad – who previously tackled the horror/comedy genre in the 2014 film Kami Histeria – was equally intrigued with her role which serves as both the film’s antagonist and protagonist.
“She is totally different in this movie,” said Aidil of 26-year-old Nad. “It was interesting to put these two actresses from different generations together, they brought a fresh perspective to their roles, and I was happy with their interaction on screen.”
Although Aidil is paying tribute to the local 1980s horror genre, he also said Aku Haus Darah Mu is not a typical local horror movie. “As a filmmaker I want to give the audience fresh content, and not something cliched. I hope the audience will view the film positively.”
Aku Haus Darah Mu is showing at cinemas nationwide.