23 comments on ““Kuntilanak” aka “The Chanting”- Indonesian Horror (2006)

  1. Hey, nice review! Just wondering where you bought the DVD from? I normally get the more obscure Asian horror DVDs through eBay sellers but haven’t managed to find this one yet.

    • This one is probably one of my favorite Indonesian films and should be available from an Indonesian DVD seller directly, but if you are in the US itself, then your best bet might be esindo.com out of New York City.

      Prices are good, shipping reasonable for the US… (not certain how foreign shipping stack up for them) and they get quite a few Indonesian horror films in stock. They appear to have all 3 of the Kuntilanak series on hand too…. wish I’d found them before getting mine from waaayyy over in Malaysia. 🙂

  2. Great, thanks! I’m actually in the UK but I’ll try that site you recommended. I’m not all that familiar with Indonesian films but I just had to write an article on ‘Air Terjun Pengantin’ (I write for the UK magazine GoreZone) which is directed by the same guy as Kuntilanak. Look forward to checking a few Indonesian films out!

    • Glad I could be of help! If shipping from esindo looks too severe, you could try Sensasian.com out of Malaysia. Their shipping isn’t terrible and I believe they stock the Malay versions of all three films too. (Although the Indonesian editions are better by far…. better subtitling and more special features.)

      “Air Terjun Pengantin” is on my “to watch” list too…. I’m just waiting for the DVD to pop up somewhere convenient for me.

      If you want some other Indonesian stuff worth a look, I can most definitely recommend Joko Anwar’s two films, “Kala” and “Pintu Terlarang”…. very, very good.

  3. Another thing.. are the English subs on most of these DVDs you’ve reviewed good? I recently bought a copy of the Thai film Rahtree Reborn and the subs were awful.. not just bad but completely incoherent! I ended up watching the film on asian-horror-movies.c*m and the subs were a million times better. Pretty confused as to why there are decent subs for the film out there but not on the DVD!!! So I’m wary of wasting any more money on DVDs of obscure Asian films..

    • It’s nice to see you again! 🙂

      I’d love to see your article… everything I can learn about a film before taking the plunge to actually track it down is so helpful. Even for the baaaad ones…. (I can just never resist watching them anyways….Hehehehe!!)

      Hmmmm? Hate to say it, but if you’ve got a copy of “Rahtree Reborn” with English subtitles it’s probably a bootleg. I’ve kept pretty close watch for a legitimate release to pop up either in Singapore, Malaysia, or HK with no luck so far. More than likely the subs were “auto-translated” from Thai to English using an online translation site like Bablefish. Most time the bootleggers don’t even take the effort to run such subs past an English speaker to see if they even make sense.

      As for the quality of subtitles on legitimate discs… Well that’s a mixed bag really. Japan and Korea consistently have the best and most accurate ones on their releases. HK has come a long way since the 80’s and 90’s…. having excellent ones now for the most part. Thailand used to do a pretty good job…. but recently stopped subtitling anything for the most part. Indonesian subs are varied in quality…. some perfect, some slightly off for usage or grammar and some are timed somewhat badly (Say, not allowing sufficient time for them to be read….) Malay subs…. well, they are generally terrible, with some exceptions… but are usually usable enough for most peoples needs.

      Often times, Fansubs are definitely better. The ones available for the Thai film “Chocolate” come to mind… The official English subs on the Magnet Region 1 release are perfectly accurate… but the Fansubs that were available online actually captured the feel of the dialog and it’s intent much better in my mind.

  4. Well, I’m not sure you’re learn anything from my article since I haven’t seen the film myself! But I will certainly send you a copy of it 🙂

    Do you ever use that Asian horror films website I mentioned? You can watch films in about 2 or 3 parts and the quality is pretty decent. I prefer to collect DVDs but if the subtitles make no sense then the site comes in handy! You can watch Rahtree Reborn there..

    Speaking of Rahtree, my next article in on the fourth film in the series, and I just so happen to work occasionally with the Thai distributor of the film and managed to get a subtitled screener from them. I’ve gotta say.. having watch Rahtree 3.2, I may be done with the series now! It’s pretty much identical to the third one. And whereas I found the comedy in the first one worked quite well, the slapstick stuff in 3 and 4 kind of ruin it for me.
    Incidentally, do you know if there is an English subtitled DVD of part 2 out there?

    I have to admit… I don’t know anything about fan subs.. how do they work?

    • Whew…. sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you…. it’s been a whirlwind of a week for me and I’m still a little dizzy. 🙂

      Hmmmmm? Nope, no subtitled legitimate DVD’s for any of the sequels to “Buppha Rahtree” at all. Been expecting the “grey market” Malay versions to pop up but sadly none so far.

      Ahhh… Fansubs. You can usually find those at most forum sites for Asian cinema…. unfortunately usually connected with DL info for the films too….. which is bad, bad, bad……but the subs themselves, well…. subs are good, good, good. There are however one or two subtitle only sites like Kloofy’s that archive just the subs written by fans or translated from the original language ones, to go with various versions of the film. If subs are something you need, I’d start there first.

  5. Hello! Long time!

    Still not really sure how fan subs work though… can you explain as if to an idiot? (which indeed I can often be)

    I see that esindo now have DVDs of ‘Air Terjun Pengantin’ and ‘Suster Keramas’.
    Reckon they’d have decent subtitles in your opinion? I’ve been scared off Asian DVDs with so-called “English subs” since my experience with ‘Rahtree Reborn’. Man those subs were bad!!!

    • Why hello again Ewan!! Nice to see you drop back by.

      “Fan Subs” are usually found as some sort of text file and can be used with many of the media players (such as the wonderful VideoLan player, my personal fav…) on your computer to display while you watch a DVD. They also can sometimes be added to a Disc by making a backup copy and adding them to the VOB’s….(But that can be a bit technical to explain…. Check out the forum over at VideoHelp.com for specifics if you are interested in going that route…) The Fansubs themselves are usually the work of somebody who can understand both English as well as the language of the film and get translated for use by the rest of us as a sort of hobby…. Others are direct translations of available foreign subtitles from a DVD itself re-done into English. Often, these are the only available way for a non-speaker to enjoy a disc if it never gets a release in their country.

      Hehehe…. I just recently (The beginning of the month or so..) picked up copies of “Air Terjun Pengantin” as well as “Suster Keramas”…. I haven’t watched them yet, but expect a review from me soon…. (Well… as soon as my schedule lets me watch them that is…) I’m expecting the subs to be fairly good…. the official Indonesian discs are usually pretty good for English subbing in my experience with only a few atrocious exceptions. Not to worry… I’ll give you the heads up on that as soon I can.

  6. Hello again Nekoneko, and Happy New Year to you! I hope 2011 has started well for you 🙂

    Many thanks for the helpful info about fansubs. Am yet to try them out, not very computer literate!

    Having finally decided to pick myself up some Indonesian horror flicks, I was dismayed to find that esindo.com doesn’t seem to be working anymore. Unfortunate!

    I was wondering if you bought from them recently, or happen to know if the company is still operating?

    Otherwise, do you have any ideas where else I can go to get my Indonesian horror fix?!?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi again Ewan!

      So far this year hasn’t been too bad… just busy, busy, busy….. but I’m working on some more stuff and hope to have some reviews ready too in the next couple days.

      Esindo seems to be down at the moment…. but that seems to happen to them a couple of times a year. What usually happens is that it takes a week or so for them to get back up and running when it does occur. Not certain if it’s caused by switching web-hosting or what, but it’s an unfortunately common occurrence. They were active just prior to Christmas…. right about the time they finally got “Macabre” in stock….. Till they pop back up, there’s always Sensasian out of Malaysia or even Yesasia (Although their Indonesian selection is fairly non-existant). Outside of them, only Indonesia itself seems to be an option, and I’ve no reliable details on a good e-merchant out of there to try.

  7. Cool, that was just the sort of insider information I was looking for!
    In that case I will bide my time and keep checking to see if the site is back up.

    I seem to remember that a while back I promised to let you have a look at the article I wrote on ‘Air Terjun Pengantin’.
    I know it’s old news by now but can send it over if you still fancy a read? 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Hi again, Ewan!

      Esindo just might be history after all…. Seems they dropped completely off Google’s search results completely (First time that’s ever happened), and rather than having the “page not found/ server too busy” error I’m used to, they’ve now got the ol’ “404” error instead. 😦

      A real shame if they are history, as they were a great lil’ store….. It’ll be hard to replace them.

      I’d love to read your review… send it along to my e-mail at “MLCarstairs@gmail.com”…. it would be nice to see another view of this one.

  8. Hmm, just checked the site again and got the message “Sorry we’ll be back soon……underconstruction “, which seems promising… sort of. Fingers crossed!

    Actually it’s not a review of the film – I get asked to write features that serve as a sort of preview of the film, often without even getting the chance to see it. In fact, I still haven’t seen Air Terjun Pengantin! That one’s on my list should Esindo start functioning again…

    But you never know, you may still find the article a reasonable enough way to spend a spare 10mins 🙂

    • I’ve seen the new “Coming Soon” page… and it appears at least something will be going up at the Esindo web address.

      In other good news, I see that they’ve also reappeared in the Google cache as well. A very good sign indeed….

  9. Hi again! Hope you’re all good 🙂

    So after weeks of keeping my fingers crossed, it looks like nothing is happening with Esindo.com

    Just wondering if you had any other suggestions for retailers? I’m desperate to get my Indonesian horror fix but don’t know where to start!

    I was looking at Sensasian, but I remember that you said they have the Malay versions which aren’t as good in terms of subtitles. I’ve had my share of experience with bad subtitles and am not keen to repeat!

    • Hi again Ewan, nice to hear from you again!

      No… I’m sorry to say it’s looking like Esindo is indeed gone for good…. 😦
      Worse…. my best back up for Indonesian stuff, MovieXclusive out of Singapore has folded up shop too. They were a good source for some Indonesian stuff (Like “Macabre” which they released uncut and English subbed) and they were my place to get anything Thai that stubbornly refused to get released anywhere else with subtitles……

      So…. lately I’ve been reduced to picking up the odd Indonesian disc from sellers on eBay…. always a crapshoot at best….

      There are one or two Indonesian online shops out there that ship internationally, but I’ve not found one trustworthy enough to try out yet. Till then, it’s Malay releases or nothing I guess….. 😦

  10. Bad news all round then!

    Oh well, will just have to keep our fingers crossed that another decent supplier turns up.

    If you come across any, please do let me know!

    • Most definitely!! 😉

      So far I haven’t had any luck at all…. and esindo’s site keeps teasing me with it’s “Currently Under Construction” page.

  11. Hi Neko,

    Got to say you review of Asian horror is very impressive (I’m also a horror freak even tho I’m a girl). I find your site when I search a review about “deserted house” (Korean movie). To be honest I never watch the one from my own country (Indonesia), ’cause after Jelangkung, kuntilanak and some other horror movie, most of horror movies tittle are so lame, makes me don’t want to watch it. Especially when they use actress or actor who’s not good at acting. So the acting will be soooooo typical and lame. Got to say I don’t want wasting my time watching them act. lol
    Sorry if I’m harsh, but that’s what I think about Indonesian horror. It’s hard to find the real good one. And I’m honestly haven’t watch Kuntilanak, and I’m surprise that you rate it 5. Wow! Maybe tomorrow I’ll buy the DVD just to find out 😉
    Please let me know (through mail) if you have a suggestion about a good Asian horror movie. I’m trying to collect all the DVD :))

    • Hehehe…. there are a lot of us girls who are into horror!

      I’m thinking you’d like “Kuntilanak”…. although the sequels were pretty disappointing. I’m imagining that I liked it so much because… for me here in America, at least… it was something new, different, and exotic. Lately the best Asian horror seems to come out of Korea, although Thailand can still really come out with some amazing winners too.

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